Not content with being on course to launch the first state-backed cryptocurrency, President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela is broadening his crypto ambitions. Yesterday he called for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members to jointly develop a platform for the trading of various oil-backed cryptocurrencies.

“I will officially send all the OPEC producers a proposal”, he said, “I will officially propose to the OPEC and non-OPEC countries that we adopt a joint cryptocurrency mechanism backed by oil.”

Maduro has recently met with OPEC chair Mohammed Barkindo where he apparently pitched resource-backed cryptocurrencies and explained “the goodness of the petro”. For Maduro cryptocurrencies are “the world of the future”.

Whether or not other OPEC members become involved, Maduro’s crypto plans do seem to be garnering international interest. According to TeleSur, which is part-funded by the Venezuelan government, there is already international interest in the petro. The Ministry of Foreign Trade reported that businesses worldwide had “expressed interest in exporting goods to Venezuela like food and medicine for a total amount of US$435 million, while receiving payment with Venezuela’s new crypto-currency”.

Involving OPEC is the latest attempt by Maduro to take his cryptocurrency ideas international. Recently he suggested to the ALBA group that the Petro could function as “an integration currency of our peoples”.

However, according to the US Treasury, holding petros would “expose U.S. persons to legal risk” as in their view the petro “would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government”.

Though the Petro has constantly changed since its initial announcement, it now appears that the pre sale will occur in February, with the ICO in March.

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