Venezuela is a country on the northern coast of South America. It is officially named the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, named after its national hero Simon Bolivar. Venezuela is composed of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea.  

Map of Venezuela | Source: Britannica

The official currency of Venezuela is the Venezuelan bolivar. The bolivar is also named after Simon Bolivar. It was introduced after the 1879 monetary reform, replacing the venezolano. It was one of the most stable currencies until 1983 due to its reliance on the gold standard and was pegged to the US dollar.  

Venezuela 50 Bolivares | 1880 | P-S167 | Source: Banknote World Educational

However, a fall in oil prices and reduced exports devastated the country’s currency. At the end of 1983, the central bank nearly emptied itself of foreign reserves and the country attained a huge debt. The president devalued the currency by 100%. Since then, the currency continued to experience prolonged periods of high inflation.  

Representation of the Venezuelan Oil Industry | Source: AS

Modern Bolivar Banknotes

In 2008, the bolivar was revalued and replaced by the bolivar fuerte at a rate of 1 fuerte to 1,000 bolivares. The first series of bolivar fuerte notes were in denominations of 2 bolivares, 5 bolivares, 10 bolivares, 20 bolivares, 50 bolivares, 100 bolivares, and 500 bolivares. However, Venezuela entered another period of abnormally high inflation in 2012. Five years later, the central bank released fuerte notes in larger denominations as an attempt to alleviate hyperinflation.  

Venezuelan Fuerte & Soberano Series Of Banknotes | Source: Banknote World

Because the exchange rate was too overpriced, the central bank revalued and replaced the bolivar fuerte to bolivar soberano at a rate of 1 soberano to 100,000 fuerte.  

Along with the soberano, Venezuela’s government also proposed an oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro. Pre-sale of the petro drew in $735 million on the first day.  

Venezuela 10,000-20,000-50,000 Soberano | Source: Banknote World

In 2020, President Mauro announced that all international airlines that fly from Caracas must pay for jet fuel in petro. He also said that all state document services must be paid for in petro.  

Venezuela 200K 500K 1 Million Bolivares Soberanos Series of Banknotes | Source: Banknote World

In 2021, the bolivar was further revalued at a rate of 1: 1,000,000. Though Venezuela has not stopped using the bolivar, the currency has become worthless due to hyperinflation. Citizens use US dollars, euros, cryptocurrencies, and bartering to obtain goods and services.  

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