Venezuelan passports can only be bought with state-backed crypto

Residents will have to pay using the Petro from next month

The Venezuelan Government has ruled that residents making a passport application must pay fees using the state-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro.

The measures, which come into force on 1st November, were confirmed by the country’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez. New passports will cost two Petros, while passport extensions will cost one Petro. Two Petros is equivalent to 7,200 Bolivars, which is four times the national monthly minimum wage, according to Bloomberg.

“In the case of Venezuelans who are abroad, until the first day of November the cost will be $200 for issuance and $100 for extensions,” Rodriguez said.

The Petro, which is backed by Venezuela’s oil and mineral reserves, was announced by the government in December 2017. It is reportedly a way of circumventing US sanctions and accessing international financing.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said last week that the public sale of the Petro will start on 5th November. The cryptocurrency can be acquired using fiat currencies as well as Bitcoin and Ethereum, he added.

In August, Venezuela replaced the old Bolivar Fuerte currency with the Bolivar Soberano (Sovereign Bolivar), which is linked to the Petro coin value.

The launch of the Petro comes amid a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis in the country, which has led to around 5,000 people leaving Venezuela daily, according to the United Nations.

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