Venezuela Begins Public Sale of National Cryptocurrency Petro

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Venezuela Begins Public Sale of National Cryptocurrency Petro  31 Oct 2018 11:50

The Venezuelan government has opened up an exchange desk for the country’s national cryptocurrency at the headquarters of the Superintendency of Cryptoassets. According to the government, investors can now purchase the petro with a number of fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies. Delegates from China have reportedly purchased some with yuan.

Venezuela Starts Selling Petro

Venezuela Begins Public Sale of National Cryptocurrency PetroOn Monday, the Venezuelan government announced that the public can now purchase the country’s national cryptocurrency directly from the Superintendency of Cryptoassets and Related Activities (Sunacrip). Sunacrip is in charge of regulating all crypto-related activities in Venezuela.

The petro was originally backed by only oil. However, its latest whitepaper shows that the digital currency is now also backed by gold, iron, and diamond. The Venezuelan government-backed newspaper Correo del Orinoco wrote:

This Monday the sale of el petro cryptocurrency is successfully launched for all Venezuelans and those who want to make financial transactions digitally through this mechanism.

Venezuela Begins Public Sale of National Cryptocurrency Petro
Tareck El Aissami.

Venezuela’s vice president of the economy, Tareck El Aissami, explained that the petro can currently be acquired with a number of foreign currencies and cryptocurrencies. Accepted fiat currencies include the dollar, yuan, and the euro, he elaborated, adding that accepted cryptocurrencies include BTC, ETH, and XEM.

Buyers can visit the Sunacrip headquarters to purchase the petro with cash. Purchasing with cryptocurrencies can also be done on the petro’s official website, El Aissami noted.

A number of Venezuelan government officials turned up to purchase the petro on Monday. Each was issued a petro certificate at the time of purchase. “Superintendent Joselit Ramírez described the day as a success,” El Aissami tweeted. Ramírez replaced Carlos Vargas as Venezuela’s Superintendent of Cryptoassets in June.

Venezuela Begins Public Sale of National Cryptocurrency Petro
Venezuela’s Minister of Agriculture holding a petro certificate at Sunacrip’s headquarters.

Google Suspends Petro Wallet App

At the time of this writing, the links to download petro wallets for Windows and Linux on the official petro website lead to pages that are “not found” on the website’s server. Only user and install guides are available.

Previously, there was also a petro wallet app on the Google Play store which showed over 5,000 installs and 275 reviews. However, El Aissami explained that “on Oct. 15, Google suspended the wallet,” claiming that the internet giant is checking the wallet’s crypto functionality before reactivating it, Que Pasa publication reported. At the time of this writing, the petro wallet app is no longer listed on the Google Play store.

Venezuela Begins Public Sale of National Cryptocurrency Petro
The petro wallet app page that used to be on Google Play.

Additionally, the Venezuelan government’s own block explorer for the petro currently shows a total of 304 blocks despite the whitepaper describing a blocktime of one block per minute.

More Petro Options Coming Nov. 5

Venezuela Begins Public Sale of National Cryptocurrency Petro
El Aissami showing three petro options.

The public sale of the petro was scheduled for Nov. 5. However, Ramirez explained that the launch was moved forward due to “the fluidity with which events developed and the support of President Nicolás Maduro,” El Universal quoted him.

On Thursday, El Aissami unveiled two more petro options which will be enabled on the Sunacrip website on Nov. 5: Petro Pago (pay) and Petro Ahorro (savings). Noting that he has been meeting with representatives of savings banks to discuss starting petro savings plans, he clarified:

We are in the purchasing stage [of the petro]. Next week will be the savings stage.

Chinese Delegates Bought Petro

Venezuela Begins Public Sale of National Cryptocurrency Petro
A Chinese delegate holding a petro certificate.

Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodríguez has been strengthening ties with China through the Chinese Development Bank as part of the Economic Recovery Program developed by Maduro, according to Correo del Orinoco.

“The delegation from the China Development Research Center attended the initial sale of el petro cryptocurrency and as a sign of confidence several of its members bought the Venezuelan digital currency” with yuan, the publication detailed. Rodríguez tweeted:

Thanks to our brothers from the People’s Republic of China … the first in line to buy petros in yuan.

What do you think of Venezuela’s various petro-related announcements? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, Correo del Orinoco, and the Venezuelan government.

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