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Venezuela says launch of 'petro' cryptocurrency raised $735 million

22 February 2018

Venezuela's oil reserves include nearly five billion barrels of oil.

Without the participation of the Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD as it's known by its Spanish abbreviation, President Nicolas Maduro is set to sweep the election despite global outcry over his decision to hold a snap vote. Venezuelan crypto exchanges that wish to trade PTR have to be licensed by the government.

The Venezuelan Democratic Unity Roundtable opposition groups coalition refused on Wednesday to take part in the forthcoming presidential election in the country, scheduled for April 22.

This cryptocurrency is backed by a federal government.

Opposition leaders say the state-backed cryptocurrency is an illegal debt issuance, while blockchain experts expect it will attract little investment due to concerns about Venezuela's solvency and lack of transparency in its finances. The sanctions sent the already crippled Venezuelan economy spiralling even further - inflation soared, food shortages worsened and the value of the bolivar to the U.S. dollar plunged. So, we need to wait and see if Petro can indeed become an economic life jacket for Venezuela.

In a letter to the treasury secretary, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez wrote: "We have serious doubts about whether Venezuela has the capacity to launch a cryptocurrency..."

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Maduro received a brief demonstration on the sophisticated computer technology needed to support the digital currency, and he heard from a Russian executive of a company that will run the platform. The petro goes public next month, Reuters reported.

In the first year, the Venezuelan government will release 100 million petros, according to the AP report. Observers have noted that kind of raise could net the cash-strapped, and debt-plagued country almost $5 billion, which would make its ICO the largest ICO ever. Apart from the political changes, the nation is also suffering from collapse of public health system as well as public services apart from painful scarcities of food as well as medicine.

It's the claim that US investors are among the Petro buyers that is raising eyebrows. Its president Nicolas Maduro launched the digital currency in early December despite warnings issued by different regulators around the world. Because of that, it could expose US citizens to legal risks.

And Venezuela's inflation rises faster in a day than it does in stable countries in a year, he said, adding that dreaming up a new currency alone isn't the answer. Strangling Venezuela's ability to sell its produce in the worldwide markets would work to the advantage of the oil cartel (another entity in disarray today) and potentially help collect another $5 or so for each barrel sold from other sources.


"(It) is another attempt to prop up the Maduro regime, while further looting the resources of the Venezuelan people."

Venezuela says launch of 'petro' cryptocurrency raised $735 million