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Venezuela is launching a youth bank to be funded by the state’s controversial petro cryptocurrency.
Announced Thursday by the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, The president of Venezuela, revealed plans of introducing a digital currency bank for youth and students that will begin its operations with 20 million petros according to Latin American government-sponsored news outlet TeleSur.
Speaking during a youth ceremony in the state of Aragua on Thursday, Maduro said that close to $1.2 billion-worth of the cryptocurrency would be given to the new institution to get it up and running, and that the bank would support “productive initiatives.”
During his speech, Maduro also said that every university should have a mining farm to produce cryptocurrencies in order to strengthen the economy of Venezuela.
Launched in February 2018, the petro is a national oil-backed cryptocurrency developed by the government of Venezuela under the direct orders of the president. The move has been widely condemned as away to avoid U.S.-led sanctions against the Latin American country.
Even the country’s own opposition-led congress has condemned the petro, saying before its launch that it was “illegal” and merely borrowing against the country’s assets.
The Petro pre-sale, which was held from Feb. 20 to March 19 and reportedly raised $3.8 bln from 127 participating countries. The initiative has brought up questions internationally over the national cryptocurrency’s role in the global economy, particularly in regards to the Western economic sanctions currently in place against Venezuela.
The president announced that one million young people are now part of the Chamba Juvenil Plan and half a million more is expected be added in the coming months through the Carnet de la Patria, a mechanism that allows the population to receive directly the benefits offered by the government.