Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro yesterday said some 30 million barrels of oil sitting in storage tanks would serve as backing for the OPEC nation’s state-run cryptocurrency, the petro, which has been sanctioned by the United States.

The statement came as part of a renewed push by Maduro’s socialist government to promote use of the petro in recent weeks, as inflation continues to erode Venezuelans’ meager salaries and Washington’s sweeping sanctions complicate Caracas’ ability to engage in overseas financial transactions.

According to Reuters, Maduro was quoted as saying, “I will deliver these 30 million of barrels as a liquid, physical, material backing for the petro”.

He added that “The inventories of crude and products in storage tanks are available for immediate commercialization, to sustain and back the operations of the sovereign Venezuelan crypto-asset, the petro.”

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