CARACAS, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Friday that the presale of the country's cryptocurrency "Petro", which will finish on March 20, has already raised over 5 billion U.S. dollars.
"I was looking at the numbers of the Petro and there are thousands of offers. We have in our hands over 5 billion U.S. dollars, offered in the presale of the Petro in barely a week," he said.
Upon offering assurances that the price of Venezuelan oil, the main backer of the cryptocurrency, is "stable", Maduro said that "this will allow us to stabilize international purchases, and to grow and strengthen international reserves."
"The Petro is part of the path of economic solutions from here to the future," said Maduro, adding that he felt "very happy, very hopeful, very optimistic."
In late February, Venezuela launched the presale of its own cryptocurrency, a type of digital or virtual currency, backed by its crude oil reserves, as a new financing option against financial sanctions imposed by Washington, which forbid U.S. businesses from lending to the Venezuelan government or the state-run oil and gas company PDVSA.
On Thursday, Venezuela's executive vice president, Tareck El Aissami, announced that the cryptocurrency would be supplied to national producers through official currency exchanges.
"A special discount" would be offered during a negotiation phase to national and international firms who participate in the first presale of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency.