-Analysis-

After running into some trouble at the end of last week, the virtual currency bitcoin has hit a new high and is now approaching the $12,000-mark, just days after passing $10,000 for the first time. Countless experts are warning that this bubble, like the dotcom bubble before it, will inevitably burst. But until it does, it’s fair to guess that the virtual currency will continue to break new records as peer pressure spreads among investors. Some believe it might even reach $40,000 by the end of next year.

Of course, these figures are bound to give some people some crazy ideas. Enter Nicolas Maduro. The president of Venezuela announced on Sunday the imminent launch of the “petro,” a cryptocurrency intended to help the cash-strapped country “advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.”

The move looks like another coin tossed into a wishing well already full of absurd and failed initiatives.

International sanctions against Venezuela have made it difficult for the country to move money through international banks, and Maduro is gambling that the petro, backed by Venezuela’s large oil and gas reserves — as well as its gold and diamonds — will make it possible to circumvent these sanctions. But the move looks like another coin tossed into a wishing well already full of absurd and failed initiatives, such as Maduro’s idea to encourage the population to breed rabbits to combat hunger.

The Venezuelan president’s latest announcement has left his opponents nonplussed, with one economist calling him a “clown” and the petro a project with “no credibility.”

Unfortunately for the Venezuelan president, he might be too late in this fast-moving market of cryptocurrencies. The latest craze these days is virtual cats. Speculators have reportedly spent a total of over $2 million buying virtual kittens on a brand-new blockchain-based game called CryptoKitties. Beyond the 100 unique original kittens the game first introduced, users can breed their own “genetically unique” kittens and sell them. Let’s just hope this won’t give Maduro any other crazy ideas.


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