Venezuela is creating a digital currency to combat a financial blockade by the United States, President Nicolas Maduro announced Sunday.

The Petro will be backed by Venezuela’s oil and gas reserves and its gold and diamond holdings, the president said in his weekly television program.

“This is going to allow us to move toward new forms of international financing for the country’s economic and social development,” the president said.

The government also announced the creation of a “blockchain observatory” — a software platform for buying and selling virtual currency.

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