Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is trying to set up a cryptocurrency-friendly environment in the country. While the majority of the world, as well as the Venezuelan National Assembly, opposes the national cryptocurrency, the Petro, Maduro is paying no attention to this resistance. In the newest crypto venture, he has launched “Plan Chamba Juvenil Digital (Youth Digital Work Plan)”, a cryptocurrency mining program for young citizens.
Registrations begin for “university students, the unemployed, single mothers and the homeless” on April 15th, 2018. More than one million students are expected to enter this initiative, which will decrease unemployment rates among fresh graduates. Maduro called on applicants in a recent tweet, “Attention, young people!…Today Chamba Juvenil Digital emerges to allow youths to form cryptocurrency farms that can mine world currencies. Because Venezuela does not give up!”
Pedro Infante, the Youth and Sports Minister, said that 24 mining farms, with the aid of 96 billion Bolivars approved by the government, will be constructed especially for students in the new program. Last month, the government opened a cryptocurrency school in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. The Granja Laboratorio Petro School teaches cryptocurrency trading as well as mining to young students. There are also mining farms in the school, and Maduro has stated that more will find their way into universities too.
Supporting programs for cryptocurrency and blockchain-based projects is beneficial in the long run, however, Maduro’s support for this topic is highly controversial. The Petro has been declared illegal by the country’s legislators, and The Washington Post has called it “one of the worst investments ever”. The criticism is based on two simple reasons: one, the Petro is not a cryptocurrency. You can’t mine it, or buy it using Bolivars, and you can only use it to pay taxes. Secondly, it isn’t backed by oil, as stated by Deputy Francisco Sucre, “Oil fields are national goods and cannot be given as collateral.”
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