Venezuela Claims To Have Pre-Sold $735 Million of Petro Cryptocurrency

by
Kevin Helms

Venezuela has authorized six cryptocurrency exchanges to start selling its national cryptocurrency, the petro, according to the government’s website. The petro, which recently became a Venezuelan national currency, can now be purchased at the six exchanges, local media report.

The Venezuelan government has authorized six websites it claims are cryptocurrency exchanges to market and sell the petro, the country’s new national currency.

Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency is hardly used, and the government has made no move to tap into its oil reserves as promised, a report from Reuters found last week.

The petro can’t be found on any major bitcoin exchange, including Coinbase or Bitfinex, and it isn’t accepted by retailers.

Reuters found few buyers through online forums.

Transactions of petro are kept anonymous, but their frequency and volume look low when matched up with the government’s claims.

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro said that by the end of its initial coin offering on March 20th, petro sales raked in $5 billion, and the funds are paying for imported goods. But a cabinet minister involved in the project told Reuters that the coin’s technology was still in development, and nobody has been able to use the petro.

The Venezuelan government is entering the cryptocurrency space, and the country claims it has already made a splash with its digital currency, called the petro. The government claimed that the pre-sale of the petro drew in $735 million in investments on the first day.

The government also issued a buyer’s manual and indicated that investors are able to purchase petros using both “hard currencies and cryptocurrencies, but not bolivars, according to Bitcoin.com.

The petro pre-sale was scheduled to begin at 4:00 a.m. UTC on February 20 and was set to take place as a private sale, according to the cryptocurrency whitepaper.

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Venezuela’s President Maduro has said the nation will sidestep the U.S.

ATAPIRIRE, Venezuela (Reuters) – To hear Venezuela’s leftist President Nicolas Maduro tell it, this remote hamlet of 1,300 souls is perched on the cutting edge of an innovation in cryptocurrency.

Located in an isolated savanna in the center of the country, Atapirire is the only town in an area the government says is brimming with 5 billion barrels of petroleum. Venezuela has pledged those reserves as backing for a digital currency dubbed the “petro,” which Maduro launched in February. This month he vowed it would be the cornerstone of a recovery plan for the crisis-stricken nation.

But Atapirire residents say they have seen no efforts by the government to tap those reserves. And they have little confidence that their struggling village has a front-row seat to a revolution in finance.

“There is no sign of that petro here,” said homemaker Igdalia Diaz.

Venezuela is leading the crypto peer-to-peer BTC trade market, despite government efforts to drive adoption of its oil-backed cryptocurrency, Petro.

Venezuelan P2P trade continues to flourish despite government efforts to drive adoption of the country’s controversial oil-backed cryptocurrency

For the entirety of cryptocurrency’s short history, Venezuela has been seen to be among the most striking example of the need for the utility. The South American country has hosted escalating political tension for years, as skyrocketing hyperinflation, electricity blackouts and shortages of vital food and medicine intensified popular discontent.

Venezuelan peer-to-peer (P2P) markets have long been a leader in terms of volume, in part owing to widespread geo-blocking that targets Venezuelan citizens on the part of cryptocurrency exchanges.

The Venezuelan government has been working on an oil-backed state cryptocurrency named Petro. This new project will allow the Venezuelan government to sell their oil in exchange for their Petro cryptocurrency and bypass the sanctions imposed by the US at the same time.

The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro said that the goal of the project is embracing new forms of payment through cryptocurrencies and at the same time, reducing the reliance on the US dollar.

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