Venezuela Dumps Petro (PTR) on Pensioners in December Payout

The Venezuelan government has embarked on converting old-age pensions into Petros even if people did not ask for it.

Venezuela has reportedly begun to swap payments of old-age pensions, converting them from bolivars into the national oil-backed cryptocurrency, Petro (PTR). According to popular politics and economics blog Caracas Chronicles, the government just took the pensioners’ monthly payments in December and automatically converted them into Petros without the consent of the recipients.

On December 7, Venezuela’s elderly residents got messages notifying them that their money was automatically withdrawn from their web fiat wallets and changed into the cryptocurrency, the publication said.

Back in August, President Nicolas Maduro declared his intention to use the cryptocurrency in the national pension system. However, the government-issued Petro is highly controversial.  It was officially re-launched three times and is still widely considered as “non-existent” given its non-functioning wallets, ambiguous white paper, and dubious investments. As such, it is unclear how the coin can be used.

Nevertheless, the authorities are sticking to plans for using Petros in the national salary systems. Moreover, they made people use the cryptocurrency to pay for passports in October. The latest move represents another attempt by the government to force the digital money on the nation.

On a positive note, it is still possible for pensioners to convert the Petros back into bolivars and transfer the balance to a bank account. However, the process is extremely complicated, and the instructions are buried deep into the website menu options, making the task too difficult for most senior citizens.

The current pension system requires payouts to be made via a state scheme called “Carnet de la Patria” (Motherland card). The cards are linked to web wallets available through the government’s website.

Previously, people used to receive notifications about credited monthly payments and then transfer their money from online wallets to regular bank accounts. The Patria portal has now introduced a new “Savings Plan” option, pushing people to convert their fiat money into Petros and keep it within the governmental Patria system.

The latest developments demonstrate yet again the iron grip of an authoritarian state power whose actions have triggered a devastating economic and currency crisis. This month’s automatic swap indicated the government’s ambition to gain total control over the finances of Venezuelan citizens.

Reading now