The government of Venezuela is encouraging its citizens to buy property using the controversial Petro cryptocurrency – and giving them a discount to boot according to local news outlets.
Ildemaro Villarroel, the minister for Habitat and Housing, told Venezuelan news outlet Presensa Latina that there was real estate currently available under the nation’s Great Housing Mission scheme, and for purchasers paying in Petro, there is a 10% discount on offer.
Since its launch, the Petro has been promoted primarily by Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro. He has claimed that the national cryptocurrency is backed by the country’s vast oil reserves and that Venezuela will be able to use the digital asset to freely engage in trade relations with other nations.
However, there are only 15 local construction companies conducting transactions using the state-backed digital currency. Commenting on the nation’s housing and real estate program, Villarroel said that the government was working with private companies to provide low cost housing and the initiative would also promote the use of Petro for acquiring property.
Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission’s goal is to build 3 million housing units by the end of this year. Introduced in 2011 by the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, the housing program is designed to help residents that were affected by the severe flooding which took place during 2010-2011, and those who are having difficultly affording property due to crippling hyperinflation.
In a Reuters special report in August 2018, it said “the new cryptocurrency is nowhere to be found.” The jury is out on whether the situation has changed five months on.