Cryptocurrency bitcoin is about to get a new rival it seems with Venezuela promising to introduce a cryptocurrency of its own, the Petro, to get around what the government calls the USA's "financial blockade" of the country.
Point of view
It’s Maduro being a clown. This has no credibility.Opposition politician
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says the currency will be backed by the nation's abundant oil, gold and mineral reserves.
"This will allow us to move towards new forms of international financing for the economic and social development of the country. And it will be done with a cryptocurrency issue backed by reserves of Venezuelan riches of gold, oil, gas and diamonds," he said.
This would be a government-backed cryptocurrency, which might reassure investors who have been claiming the form of payment is a swindle doomed to fail, but then this is Venezuela, whose economy is shrinking and whose government is under severe pressure to tackle exploding crime and shortages of essential items in the shops.
Venezuela's existing currency, the Bolivar, has been sinking in recent weeks.