Antigua and Barbuda’s special economic envoy, Calvin Ayre has dismissed Venezuela’s move to set up its own cryptocurrency as that country’s economic situation worsens.
Venezuela has urged Antigua and Barbuda and other OECS nations in the ALBA grouping to adopt its “petro” which it intends to back with its petroleum reserves, reportedly the largest in the world.
Other ALBA members are Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada.
But Ayre, who is an advocate of cryptocurrency, and the twin-island’s adviser on it, believes the South American country should look at what already exists.
“It’s ridiculous. I mean they can’t run their own currency, the old system, and they’re gonna put a new currency up in the new system and it’s gonna work? That’s just ridiculous to me.
In fact, they actually have a solution to their problem, BCH, just adopt it,” Ayre told Observer media recently.
BCH refers to Bitcoin Cash, a spinoff from Bitcoin, one of several types of cryptocurrencies. A cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.
Venezuela announced in early December its intention to launch the national cryptocurrency which would be backed by some five billion barrels of oil.
However, the country’s Constituent National Assembly – an emergency body that differs from the national assembly – declared the cryptocurrency illegal.
President Nicolas Maduro said Venezuela would initially issue 100 million units of the petro with a U.S. $5.9 billion value. The petro is meant to circumvent the financial sanctions the U.S. imposed on Venezuela in August. The sanctions barred banks from any new financial deals with the Venezuelan government or state-run oil giant PDVSA.
When asked what was Antigua and Barbuda’s position on adopting the petro, a number of government officials indicated that they were examining the matter. The country was already leaning toward the adoption of cryptocurrency as evidenced by Ayre’s appointment and pronouncements on the need to take legislative steps.