Beginning this week, citizens of Venezuela looking to receive a new passport or renew their old one will have to pay the fees for them using the country's fledgling cryptocurrency called the Petro. On Friday, Delcy Rodriguez — who is the vice president of Venezuela — announced the new policy at a press conference. Even though Petro will not officially launch until November, the policy will become effective on Monday. A new passport will cost 2 Petros while the renewal of a passport will cost a single Petro. The two Petro fee is currently the equivalent of 7,200 local bolivars, which is around 4 times what the average Venezuelan earns in a month. The Petro fee, though, only applies to passports issued in the country itself. Venezuelans living outside the country will have to pay $200 for new passports and $100 for renewals. Venezuela has been developing a state-run digital currency as a means of propping up their collapsing economy, in which inflation has become rampant. The cryptocurrency will reportedly be backed by the country's vast mineral and oil reserves, but it has been controversial ever since President Nicolas Maduro announced that it would launch back in February. Some have even accused the currency of being a direct copy of the popular alternative cryptocurrency Dash, which at the moment has a market value of more than $1.5 billion. The new passport fee policy was not the only thing Vice President Rodriguez announced at the press conference. He also announced the establishment of a police force that will be specifically tasked to control the flow of immigration out of the country. According to the United Nations, about 5,000 people leave the country every single day. The new police force and the high cost of passports may make it very difficult for average Venezuelans to continue leaving the country. Many major airlines have already cut off service to and from the country. This includes United Airlines, Lufthansa, Avianca, Latam Airlines and Aeromexico.
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