Апреля 24, 2018

Venezuela launches its own cryptocurrency, the "Petro"

21 Февраля 2018, 07:54 | Ruben Stone

Why Commodity Coins Are Gaining Popularity

US Treasury Warns Investors Venezuela's Petro Could Violate Sanctions

Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress said the cryptocurrency was illegal because the country's legislature has to approve any government borrowing.

Venezuela Set To Launch The Petro, Its New Cryptocurrency Venezuela has a severe economic crisis.

While it might make sense for a cash-strapped country to try and bring in new funding via such a token sale, the petro has been controversial from the get-go. The government is trying to sell $2.3 billion worth.

The Petro will be backed by oil found in one of the country's large natural reserves, making it very different from the major cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, because it is backed by a real world commodity. It's the world's first sovereign cryptocurrency, built on the Ethereum blockchain and intended in part to save the country from wild inflation. "Although it is allegedly backed by the price of Venezuela's oil reserves, there is no reason why a rational investor should put money into it".

Some investors say it's innovative nonetheless, and could draw investment from Middle East, Europe and Asia.

At the same time, as NPR's Samantha Raphelson reports, it is estimated that Venezuela "is suffering from an 85 percent shortage of medicine".

Matthew Newton, Analyst at eToro, said: "The Venezuelan government is looking to take advantage of one of the key features of cryptocurrencies - decentralisation".

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President Donald Trump. Sanctions levied previous year by Washington block US banks and investors from acquiring newly issued Venezuelan debt, effectively preventing the struggling nation from borrowing overseas to bring in new hard currency or refinance existing debt.

Venezuela's Socialist President Nicolas Maduro remains defiant despite domestic unrest, a flagging economy and global, particularly western, pressure.

To fuel demand for the Petro, it will be accepted as payment for local taxes.

But the US Treasury Department has warned potential investors that buying the petro may be in violation of sanctions that stop US banks from buying debt from Venezuela. The process of maintaining pressure on Maduro continued and the U.S.A had early this year imposed sanctions against ten Venezuelan officials, including a member of the recently elected Constituent Assembly, several electoral officials, and a diplomat.

So naturally, we don't recommend investing in the petro, or any future government-backed cryptocurrency. But speculation abounds regarding both the validity of the Petro as a digital currency, and its ability to help the Venezuelan economy, and people.

Furthermore, should President Maduro lose the election in April, "then petros would probably be made illegitimate", he added.

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