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The disappointing performance of the Venezuelan bolivar has pushed the country into desperation, leaving it ravaged by rampant poverty and food shortages. 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced his intentions to create a cryptocurrency —the Petro — in an attempt to yank the country out of its dire straits while also using the digital monies to circumvent sanctions.

Despite heavy opposition to the project, Maduro continued to push ahead and at one point cozied up to other nations to make his plan a reality.

Now, the government is announcing a pre-sale that makes the Petro look more like a token than a cryptocurrency in its own right.

“The presale and initial offer will be made in hard currencies and in cryptocurrencies. It is not going to be done in bolivars at this stage. Our responsibility is to put [the petro] in the best hands and then a secondary market will appear,” said Carlos Vargas, the so-called cryptocurrency superintendent for the government. 

According to Maduro’s comments on the matter, the Petro will initially have 100 million tokens worth around $6 billion.

Interestingly enough, Venezuela doesn’t seem to have a policy against other cryptocurrencies, according to Vargas.

Despite the fact that people have had problems with authorities in the past, Vargas insisted that they were not doing anything illegal.

He also added that those who have been arrested or suffered seizures will have their cases dismissed after meetings with the country’s supreme court. 

Earlier this month, the Venezuelan parliament declared that Maduro’s entire operation is illegal, calling it a “forward sale of Venezuelan oil.” 

Despite this statement, Maduro went ahead and attempted to convince a group of countries called the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Alba) to adopt the Petro and carry the project onward.