Where Is Petro – Venezuela’s Sovereign Cryptocurrency?

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petro, new virtual currency of venezuela. Source: shutterstock.com

Cryptocurrency is the answer to some problems in the world, but it isn’t necessarily a savior for an economy plagued by hyperinflation and bad policies. The Nicolas Maduro led Venezuelan government has failed on several fronts to save the country from extreme hardships. Instead of focusing on the ground realities of their people, the Venezuelan government chose to focus on a pipe dream — a sovereign cryptocurrency backed by the nation’s untapped oil reserves. Case in point: after over six months of its launch, the Petro coin is nowhere to be found.

The Curious Case of Atapirire

Atapirire is a small remote town in the center of the country that holds five billion barrels of petroleum reserves, per government records. This oil stockpile is the underlying asset for Petro, which was launched in February this year. An investigation by Reuters found that Maduro’s crisis recovery plan is a smokescreen at best. Residents of the town complain of frequent blackouts and lack of cellular services. The region has no infrastructure to extract oil, and the citizens are poor.

The country will have to spend billions of dollars and work relentlessly on the Atapirire oil project for years to tap into the oil it claims to have. Maduro, on the other hand, claims to have raised billions of dollars from the Petro initial coin offering even after US President Donald Trump’s clear message that US citizens will not buy Petro.

Where Is the Petro?

Upon further investigation, Reuters found no sign of Petro on any major cryptocurrency exchange. The news outlet claims to have talked to a dozen of cryptocurrency and oil-field valuation experts and to have traveled to Atapirire to find that neither exchanges nor merchant outlets accept Petro as of now. Some buyers were identified on online crypto forums, but their identities could not be verified. One of them also complained of being “scammed” by the currency. Another buyer suggested that “awful press” and US sanctions have hurt Petro’s debut.

The government officials also don’t seem to have any specific data on Petro trade. Cabinet minister Hugbel Roa said that Petro’s technology is still under development and “nobody has been able to make use of the petro … nor have any resources been received.

The nature, function, and location of the Superintendence of Cryptoassets, the agency overseeing Petro, is still shrouded in mystery. The agency is supposedly located in the premises of the Finance Ministry, but there is no “physical presence” of such an entity there.

At a time when a country’s fate resides in the acceptance and trade of a digital currency, Petro’s absence from prominent exchanges and merchant outlets only points toward its dubiousness.

Where Is Petro – Venezuela’s Sovereign Cryptocurrency? was originally found on [blokt] – Blockchain, Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

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