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Venezuela’s Central Bank Launches Android App to Convert Bolivars to Petro-Pegged Currency

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:34 PM
Francisco Memoria
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:34 PM

The Banco Central de Venezuela, Venezuela’s central bank, has recently launched an Android app to help the country’s residents convert the country’s old fiat currency, the bolivar, to the new Petro-pegged Bolivar Soberano – the Sovereign Bolivar.

The app, first spotted by Bloomberg , is called “Calculadora Soberana” (Sovereign Calculator) and doesn’t do particularly complex math, as it pretty much takes five zeros away from the bolivar to convert it to the crypto-pegged currency, making a 1:100,000 conversion.

At press time it has been downloaded over 10,000 times and has a 4.7 rating on the Google Play store, after being reviewed by 184 people. Its description reveals it also lets users keep up to date with the “latest news and information on currency conversion.”

On Twitter, the central touted the app is a “tool for everyone and all Venezuelans,” and the “best ally people will have to understand and assimilate the monetary re-denomination process.”

As Bloomberg notes the app’s developer, Comunicacion Digital VE, has various other apps on Google’s app store. These all seem to support Venezuela’s socialist regime, as they’re about the country’s leaders, and are apparently designed to favor them.

Earlier this month Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro devalued Venezuela’s fiat currency by 95% and pegged the new Sovereign Bolivar to its oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR). This, after Maduro revealed the Petro was going to become an alternate currency in the country.

The move, according to the BBC, saw Venezuela become a “paralyzed country ” as the economic changes left the country’s residents confused and facing restricted cash withdrawals. Making things worse, authorities already arrested several merchants, accused of charging exorbitant prices while taking advantage of the turmoil.

Adding to Venezuela’s problems, shoppers also need to calculate the prices of goods at black market exchange rates. The sovereign bolivar, according to official exchange rates, is set at 60 per dollar thanks to the Petro, but on the black market the currency is reportedly going for 40% less.

Venezuela’s Petro

As CCN.com covered, the South American nation gave the Petro various use cases before making it an official alternate currency. Earlier this year, it revealed it “may” charge for exports in the oil-backed cryptocurrency, and offered India a 30% discount on crude oil if it were paid in PTR, a discount the country rejected.

In an interview with the country’s Cuatro F magazine in April, the executive secretary of Venezuela’s Blockchain Observatory, Daniel Peña touted the Petro’s impact would be felt within “three to six months.”

Since the country announced the cryptocurrency late last year, it has been embroiled in controversy. The century-old think tank Brookings Institute claimed it undermines legitimate cryptocurrencies, while Venezuela’s National Assembly declared it unconstitutional.

President Donald Trump banned US citizens and residents from investing in the Petro, a move Venezuela at the time claimed was “free publicity.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.