Venezuela Mandates Passport Fees Must Be Paid in Controversial Cryptocurrency Petro
Venezuelans can only use the state-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, to pay for passport fees starting next week, the country’s vice president Delcy Rodriguez said in a press conference Friday, Oct. 5.
Ahead of Petro’s official “launch” in November, Rodriguez confirmed that as of Monday, Oct. 8, fees for all passport applications will only be payable in Petro, and will cost an increased amount: 2 petros for a new passport and 1 petro for an extension.
The average monthly minimum wage in Venezuela, Bloomberg reports, is four times less than the cost of the raised passport fee.
“In the case of Venezuelans who are abroad, until the first day of November the cost will be $200 for issuance and $100 for extensions,” Rodriguez stated, according to leading Latin American newspaper El Universal.
Venezuela has sought to combat the side-effects of rampant inflation and a failing economy by embracing the use of cryptocurrency to circumvent capital controls.
As Cointelegraph reported, Petro, President Nicolas Maduro’s purported solution to the country’s economic crisis, has consistently courted controversy, with accusations last week claiming its developers copied the whitepaper of altcoin Dash.
Along with the passport fees shake-up, Rodriguez also announced the formation of a dedicated migration police force, ostensibly designed “to preserve citizen security and migratory control.”
Bloomberg notes that around 5,000 citizens flee Venezuela each day.