Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has recently made a series of announcements on national television concerning the government-backed cryptocurrency called the Petro. According to his speech, which is briefly posted on Venezuela’s government website, the Petro is currently open for purchasing with an official wallet available for download on Google Play Store. The public sale is set to be launched next month, on November 5, 2018.
According to Maduro, the state-backed cryptocurrency is currently available on six international exchanges. However, the president did not mention on which ones exactly. Petros can be purchased using any popular cryptoassets, such as Bitcoins or Ethereums, as well as traditional fiat currencies, Nicolas Maduro announced:
“If you have bitcoins you can buy Petros, if you have Ethereum you can buy Petros, if you have dollars or euros you can buy Petros. And from November 5, the Petro … will go on sale to the Venezuelan public in sovereign bolivars.”
The president has also mentioned that from now on the oil from Venezuela will be sold in Petro. As it is planned, 51 percent of the money supply for the Petro will be held by Venezuela’s Crypto Asset Treasury, while the other 49 percent will be available for the public.
Venezuelans will be able to exchange petros for sovereign bolivares starting from the currency’s official release on November 5. Petros will also be legal tender to pay for taxes, public utility bills, and remittances. Moreover, Maduro has urged citizens to use petrol for buying real estate, as selling it in dollars is illegal in the country.
For further spread of the cryptocurrency, hotels within Venezuela were obliged to accept petros, and even international airlines were forced to buy fuel and other airport services using petros as well.
The premise for Venezuelan government to take such a step into the world of cryptocurrencies goes back to late 2017, when the economic crisis in the country reached its highest peak. When financial sanctions were imposed on Venezuela by the U.S. government and national bolivar collapsed, Nicolas Maduro began to look into the world of cryptocurrencies and virtual digital currencies as a solution to this.
That was how the Petro appeared. During almost a year, a cloud of promises surrounded the national cryptocurrency in order to make the public believe in its transparensy and reliability. At the end of August 2018, Maduro officially ordered banks to adopt the Petro as a unit of account and use this cryptocurrency in all financial reports.
But, despite all the pushings and promotions, the government-launched cryptocurrency continues to be rather controversial. The majority of people from cryptocommunity sees the Petro as nothing but a simple scam, as there is still no real evidence to prove the opposite.
The official launch of the Petro comes at a time when the economic crisis in Venezuela is worsening despite the government devaluing the country’s fiat currency, the Bolivar, in a bid to tame inflation. This has resulted in the citizens turning to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which results in the trading volumes of the Bitcoin/Bolivar pair reaching record highs.