Business 4 April 2018Gerald Fenech
Russia eyes Venezuela’s Petro token for ‘international transactions’
Venezuela’s much vaunted cryptocurrency, Petro, has (finally) found a supporter—Russia.
On Wednesday, reports surfaced that Russia might be taking up the coin in the not too distant future for “international transactions.” According to sources, a meeting between high level delegations from the Venezuelan and Russian governments discussed the state-backed cryptocurrency alongside topics such as bilateral military cooperation, railroad projects in Venezuela, and food production. It also appears that the Venezuelan government brought the topic to the table to increase its leverage in the discussions.
Russia is reportedly taking a keen interest in Venezuelan affairs mostly due to the fact that the country is extremely rich in natural resources but has a broken economy. There are also strategic alliances between the two countries which include the Petromonagas project that is taking place between the Russian energy giant Rosneft and Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. The Venezuelan government is actively pushing the Petro as a good opportunity to strengthen the strategic alliance between both countries.
The news comes on the heels of a Times report that Russian government officials and businessmen helped the Venezuelan government in launching the Petro token, in a bid to circumvent U.S. sanctions that are currently in place against the Eastern European country.
The Petro has already had a chequered history of late. It was launched in March but had allegedly already raised $735 million in a pre-sale. The cryptocurrency will be used in four specifically designated economic zones that will handle the sale of goods and services, according to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The launch of a national cryptocurrency, however, hasn’t quenched the thirst of many Venezuelans for legacy Bitcoin (BTC). According to reports, the demand for BTC in the Latin American country continued to grow in March, which saw a new record set of over 1 trillion bolivares worth of BTC traded.
Venezuela is currently suffering from huge inflation so the population is currently looking for new ways of storing its valuable savings. The country is allegedly gearing up to launch another cryptocurrency, this time backed by gold and other precious metals. Critics, however, have panned these state-issued currencies that actually defeat the purpose of what a decentralized cryptocurrency is all about.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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