Venezuela has offered India a 30-percent discount on crude oil purchases, but only if India agrees to pay in El Petro, the cryptocurrency that Venezuela is touting as the first national digital currency backed by crude oil reserves.
Venezuelan blockchain department experts visited India in March and struck an agreement with Delhi-based Bitcoin trading firm Coinsecure to sell the Venezuelan cryptocurrency El Petro in India.
The cryptocurrency is backed by 5 billion barrels of oil reserves in Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt.
Venezuelan President Maduro is touting the digital coin as a ‘ground-breaking’ first-ever national crypto currency, though many regard the crypto issuance as an attempt to skirt U.S. financial sanctions.
In March, U.S. President Donald Trump banned U.S. purchases, transactions, and dealings of any digital coin or token issued for or by the government of Venezuela.
Venezuela wants to add the Petro as a cryptocurrency on Coinsecure to trade Petro against Bitcoin and the Indian rupee, according to Coinsecure CEO Mohit Kalra.
“They are going to different countries and making offers. The offer that they have given to the Indian government is: you buy Petro and we will give you a 30 per cent discount on oil purchases,” Kalra told Indian Business Standard.
India’s crude imports from Venezuela dropped to around 300,000 bpd between November 2017 and February 2018, down by 20 percent on the year, to the lowest level since 2012, Reuters reported in March, citing data from shipping and industry sources.