Venezuela is capturing worldwide attention over its controversial new state-sponsored cryptocurrency, the Petro.
President Nicolas Maduro claims the national digital currency is backed by a barrel of oil at a ratio of 1:1. He announced in March that “all citizens and companies will be able to purchase petros on a specialized website with yuans, rubles, Turkish liras and euros, as well as with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and NEM.”
US President Donald Trump has banned American citizens from buying or trading the Petro.
However, the Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association (RACIB) recently decorated the Petro with the Satoshi Nakamoto Prize for its “outstanding contribution to the development of the blockchain industry.”
Use cases for the Petro are sweeping, with government authorization to create Petro wallets for all kinds of transactions. According to Maduro, “Venezuela will be able to use the Petro to charge for oil, gas, steel, aluminum, petrochemical products, cocoa, among other goods exported by the South American nation,” reports Telesur. “Likewise, the Central Bank of Venezuela was authorized by decree to collect in Petros for the export of gold from small mining and handcrafted items.”
Carlos Vargas, the government cryptocurrency superintendent, has stated that “in a short future, Venezuelans can buy in the bakery with the Petro.”
The RACIB award follows a Time Magazine report alleging that “Russia secretly helped Venezuela launch a cryptocurrency to evade U.S. sanctions.”
Socialist President Maduro faces intense opposition from the Venezuelan Congress, which has called the Petro unconstitutional and claims it is an illegal attempt to leverage the country’s oil reserves in an effort to raise $6 billion for the cash-strapped government. The pre-sale, which began on February 20, has already allegedly raised $735 million.
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