Did Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro just conjure up a cutting-edge solution for the nation’s economic woes or create another distraction amid a tanking economy? The day after Maduro said his government would launch a national crypto-currency called the Petro to break through the U.S. “financial blockade,” experts, including some of the government’s own advisers, were debating whether it will actually work. John Villar, a Caracas-based crypto-currency entrepreneur who has served as an informal adviser to the government, said the Petro has the potential to solve several of the nation’s problems. Not only will it allow the socialist administration to skirt economic sanctions — allowing money to flow around the U.S. dominated financial system — but, paradoxically, it could also help weed out corruption. Never miss a local story. Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. SUBSCRIBE NOW While crypto-currencies do provide anonymity, the underlying blockchain technology also maintains a complete ledger of transactions, providing a degree of transparency that has eluded government finances, Villar said. Read More: Venezuela runs more than 500 companies, most of them are broke “This could make transactions traceable and auditable,” said Villar, who was in Bogotá attending the Latin American Bitcoin and Blockchain Conference. “This would be a way to fight corruption.” On Sunday, Maduro said the Petro would be backed by the country’s oil, gas and diamond reserves. But people close to the project said the details are still being debated. “This is very much a work in progress,” said Gabriel Jiménez, the CEO of The Social US, a Venezuelan tech incubator that specializes in crypto-currency applications and which also is advising the government on the project. “There is nothing that has been 100 percent settled upon.” While backing the digital currency with hard assets might give it the sheen of legitimacy, Villar said doing so will make the Petro prone to graft. In recent weeks, for example, the government has arrested more than 60 executives from state-run oil companies, some of them for lying about production figures. A digital currency whose