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Nicolas Maduro, the President of Venezuela, is becoming more of a cryptocurrency bull. However, instead of touting Bitcoin or some popular altcoin, he’s doing pretty much all he can to push the agenda of Petro, the country’s state-backed asset.
Late last week, Maduro reportedly mandated that the great Housing Mission, Venezuela’s social housing program, should be bankrolled by Petro, choosing to forgo financing via fiat currencies or even more popular crypto assets.
Petro, the funding medium
The decision to fund the project with Petro was announced by Ildemaro Villarroel, the Minister of Popular Power for Habitat and Housing (the department in charge of the special housing project) on the ministry’s official website.
“We tell President Nicolás Maduro that we continue to follow his instructions, moving forward and giving concrete samples when delivering homes, and the next milestones will be with Petro, and the homes will be more protected by this mechanism,” the announcement read.
The move was especially praised by Joselit Ramirez, the Superintendent for Virtual Currency in Venezuela, who saw the decision as a “bastion of transformation of the entire national economy.” Ramirez revealed that with the Petro funding program, investors would be able to finance public housing construction projects through the stock market.
In choosing to fund a significant housing project with Petro, Maduro is continuing in his mission to make the state-backed asset a widespread phenomenon. It also continues to show that perhaps the Petro, which many already believed was the epitome of a failed attempt to make a national cryptocurrency, shouldn’t be counted out just yet.
A classic revival tale
The Petro definitely looked dead a couple of months ago. The asset wasn’t found on any cryptocurrency exchanges, and thanks to a restriction from the United States over suspicions that it was an instrument in Venezuela’s attempts to evade economic sanctions, pretty much no one was using it.
Petro’s use was also pretty much stifled in Venezuela as well. However, Maduro sprang into action, as he ordered the Banco de Venezuela, Venezuela’s largest banking institution, to begin accepting the asset back in July. Although it took a while for the bank to implement his instructions (and some even thought it would never happen), acceptance was arranged, and the bank now takes Petro.
Last week, news medium Decrypt noted that the bank now has a special section of its online banking platform dedicated to cryptocurrencies. It only takes Petro for now, but even if support for other crypto assets is added, the fact that Petro is included is a big win.
In addition to the bank, Petro has also been getting some love from the private sector as well. In late July, Traki, one of Venezuela’s largest department stores, announced that it would be taking the asset as a payment method. Traki’s acceptance was done on a tapering basis; Petro is still only accepted at the retail chain’s location in Caracas. Hopefully, success with this pilot will pave the way for wider acceptance.