The largest bank in Venezuela, the state-owned Bank of Venezuela, appears to have launched services to facilitate transactions in the country’s state-issued oil-backed virtual currency, the Petro.
According to Decrypt, Bank of Venezuela customers have reported a new module integrated into the management interface of their accounts to facilitate registration for a digital wallet that supports the Petro.
Anecdotal reports cited by the publication describe the wallet as having limited functionality, with users only able to transfer the virtual currency via the Petro’s official wallet, and trade the tokens on authorized local exchanges such s Criptolago and Amberes.
The wallet purportedly features a drop-down menu allowing users to choose what type of cryptocurrency they wish to use, indicating that Bank of Venezuela is seeking to support other virtual currencies in the future.
At the start of July, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered Bank of Venezuela to support the Petro. In a tweet published the following day by the Venezuelan finance minister, Ramón Lobo, it was specified that the bank must open desks to process Petro transactions throughout the country.
Venezuela Struggles to Drive Petro Adoption
Bank of Venezuela’s introduction of services supporting the Petro notably comprises a rare instance in which Maduro’s plans for the Petro appear to be coming to fruition.
During June, Maduro announced that a $924 million bolivar ($150,000) budget had been approved to finance the distribution of one million digital wallets loaded with Petro tokens to Venezuelan students and youth.
Despite the pledged budget, reports have yet to evidence the widespread distribution of Petro tokens to the country’s youth.
Last month, Maduro urged Venezuelans living abroad to use the Petro to remit funds into the country.
Venezuelan P2P BitcoinMarket Posts Record Volume
Despite the Venezuelan government’s efforts to drum up public support for the Petro, data shows record Venezuelan bitcoin (BTC) in recent weeks.
According to Coin.dance, the Venezuelan peer-to-peer BTC market on Localbitcoins has posted record volume for eight of the ten past weeks when measuring in bolivars.
Recently, volume increased by 50%, gaining from $77.46 billion bolivars (roughly $3.62 million) for the week of Aug. 24, to 116.87 billion bolivars (approximately $5.46 million) the following week.
This past week saw nearly $120.84 bolivars worth of BTC change hands on Localbitcoins.