Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has mandated that the country’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, must be used to fund the ‘Great Housing Mission Venezuela’ social housing program.
Ildemaro Villarroel, the minister of popular power for habitat and housing – the department overseeing the housing project – confirmed that the program will be funded using the Petro. In an announcement posted on the department’s website, the minister described the financing mechanism as offering greater guarantees that the scheme’s outcomes will be achieved:
“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.”
Joselit Ramirez, Venezuela’s superintendent of virtual currency, praised the department’s confirmation that it will adhere to the Petro Incentive plan, describing the department as “a bastion of transformation of the entire national economy.”
Ramirez stated that the program will allow private investors to finance the construction of public housing through the stock market, with 4,000 houses planned for construction.
The announcement comes 15 months after the Venezuelan government’s desire to finance public housing using the Petro was first reported.
The financing initiative for the housing program is the Venezuelan government’s latest attempt to cultivate Petro adoption via executive mandate.
Earlier this month, the Bank of Venezuela launched an online portal to facilitate Petro wallet registrations. The announcement follows a presidential order from July that demanded that the country’s central bank provide support for the Petro.
Last month, Venezuela’s cryptocurrency superintendent took national radio to implore Venezuelan nationals to remit funds back into the country using the state-backed cryptocurrency remittance platform, Patria Remesa en Criptoactivos:
“It’s the simplest, easiest, and safest way to send money, and it’s the only way to avoid depreciation of income.”
During June of this year, the government announced that approval of a $924 million bolivar ($150,000) budget to fund the issuance of one million digital wallets loaded with Petro tokens to the country’s youth.
In December 2018, Venezuelan pensioners’ government payouts were automatically converted into Petros. The payouts had first been made using fiat, however, were withdrawn and converted to Petros, and then distributed again.
Two months prior, Maduro’s administration mandated that passport fees would be exclusively paid in the form of Petros.
At the end of August 2018, Maduro ordered banks throughout Venezuela to accept to oil-backed virtual currency as a unit of account.
During May 2018, the president announced the launch a Petro-funded crypto bank to support youth projects.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.