Business 1 November 2018

Dan Taylor

Venezuela’s Petro goes on sale

The Venezuelan Petro has officially launched this week, after being made available for fiat and crypto purchases for the first time.

According to an announced posted on Twitter earlier this week by the Venezuelan Economy Department, the Petro can be bought directly from the national treasury, or from one of the six authorised crypto exchanges given permission to sell the token.

Verified individuals and organisations will be invited to purchase Petro for fiat or in certain cryptocurrencies, as explained in an infographic accompanying the announcement on Twitter, which suggests fiat support for Euro, Yuan and U.S. Dollar transactions. The coin is also available to be purchased in BTC.

The Petro has had a choppy ride since it was first announced back in 2017, attracting heavy controversy from within Venezuela, as well as condemnation from the international community.

Backed by national oil reserves, the currency is deemed by some in Venezuela to be unconstitutional, as well as being a currency specifically designed for use in evading international sanctions against the country.

Besieged by technical problems, and amid suggestions that the currency might not even exist, the country’s president Nicolas Maduro has been quoted in often contradictory statements on the development of the currency, how it will work in practice, and the timeframes for launch.

Even as recently as this month, Maduro had said the currency would be launching on November 5—after more than 11 months in the planning and development, it now looks as if the project has finished ahead of this latest, revised schedule.

Numerous claims and outlandish promises around the Petro have done little to dampen protests in Venezuela, where opposition politicians view the project as an unconstitutional exploitation of Venezuela’s natural resources.

The ultra-socialist regime has also drawn the ire of the U.S. over the Petro, which will continue to have a negative effect on the already dismal relations between the two countries.

While cash-strapped Maduro is still banking on a Petro payday, the launch has been calamitous. It remains to be seen if the Petro’s fortunes improve now the currency is finally reported to be in circulation.

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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