Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has announced that the government has plans to initiate a bank for students and young people in his country.
According to news source Telesur, the president of the economically-beleaguered Latin American country was speaking at a mass youth ceremony at Aragua this week, promising to put 20 million Petros into the new banking project.
The Petro is the nation’s controversial oil-backed cryptocurrency, the first of two according to Maduro. It is condemned by the Venezuelan Congress and the subject of continual debate as the country continues to struggle with an inflation rate of 2,400% in 2017. The crumbling economy is now causing a humanitarian crisis with 600,000 Venezuelans fleeing to neighbouring Columbia alone.
The move has been widely condemned as a way to avoid US-led sanctions against the country. Similar accusations have been aimed at Russian president Vladimir Putin, after his recent statement that he would like to move Russia towards adopting a “cryptoruble”.
According to local news source Noticas24, Maduro’s new plan is to promote the mining of cryptocurrency by high school children, with each school having its own mining operation, using school IT departments’ computers to mine cryptocurrencies.
This move, along with the USD 1.2 billion startup for his planned student bank, is designed to raise funds for young people currently enlisted on the state-issued ‘Chamba Juvenil Plan’, an initiative to combat youth unemployment. Its goal is 100% youth unemployment in Venezuela. Currently, over a million young people are part of the Chamba Juvenil Plan, and the government expects that half a million more will be added in the coming months.
During his speech, Maduro said that the plan will also be extended to universities which should each have its own crypto mining farm to support and strengthen the economy of Venezuela.
The country still awaits the launch of the petro gold, a national cryptocurrency backed by precious metals, announced back in February 2018.