Venezuela to launch cryptocurrency to fight Trump sanctions

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says his government will launch a cryptocurrency to fight what he calls a financial "blockade" by the Trump administration against the socialist-run country.

Maduro said Sunday that the new currency will be called the "petro" and will be backed by the OPEC nation's abundant oil, gold and mineral reserves.

In his words, "This will allow us to advance toward new forms of international financing for the economic and social development of our country."

He gave no details in his TV address about what the new currency's value will be, how it will work or when it will be launched.

Venezuela's traditional currency, the strong bolivar, has accelerated its free-fall in recent weeks as U.S. sanctions make it harder to stay current on its foreign debt.

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