Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela took over the national television to announce the official launch of Petro, the national cryptocurrency. Amidst the economic crisis that enhanced with the U.S. sanctions, Maduro government resorted to developing an oil-backed cryptocurrency, in hopes of improving the overall economic scenario.
According, to a brief summary of Maduro’s speech posted on Venezuela’s government website posted Monday, October 1, the token’s public sale will commence from November 5. The President added that the official website for the Petro is already online and the official Petro wallet is also available in Google Play.
Maduro noted that starting from Monday, October 1, Petro will be available on six major crypto exchanges. Though the specifics of the exchanges weren’t disclosed nor was it listed by some of largest traders such as Binance, OKEx, and Huobi at the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap.
Moreover, the Venezuelan president dictated that all the oil purchases in and out the country must now be paid with Petro including the international airlines whose routes lies through local airports, as fuel for aircraft will also be sold for Petro.
In his speech, Maduro reiterated that the stable coin is backed by oil. In addition, a brand new white paper of Petro elaborates that the currency is 50 percent by oil, 20 percent by gold, 20 percent by iron, and 10 percent by diamond assets.
However, Petro has been viewed with suspicion from the onset and this measure to restructure the Petro might be quite late. When interviewed by the AFP news agency, Moises Rendon, an expert Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies elaborated
“It’s too late to save the petro. There’s no confidence and it won’t get any.”
Maduro government has been quite actively promoting the national oil-backed cryptocurrency, and the president did make several notable announcements in the recent time. Initially, Maduro claimed that Petro will start circulating in August. Then came in another announcement that Petro would be used as the unit of account for local salaries, goods, and services. Most recently, Maduro stated that Petro would enter international markets this October.
A report published by Reuters published back in August claimed that the Venezuelan cryptocurrency has no users, no investors and no oil to back it up. On the other hand, American culture magazine Wired called Petro “a stunt” that aimed to cover up the government’s failure to recover the national fiat. Amidst the doubts and questions surrounding the credibility of Petro and the ever-drowning value of the national fiat, Venezuela has been experiencing a rise in Bitcoin trading volumes.