Venezuela's new cryptocurrency does not seem to exist
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claims that sales of petro, the alleged national cryptocurrency supported by the oil reserve launched in February, have already raised $ 3.3 billion and that the coin is used to pay imports. But a Reuters investigation found no evidence to support such claims – or that the petro is also a functional cryptocurrency.
Coming empty: Reuters spent four months talking to experts on cryptocurrencies and oilfield valuation, visiting oil reserve sites in Venezuela and analyzing blockchain transactions. He discovered that petro is not sold on any bag and no shop accepts it. Records on the NEM blockchain, which was supposed to host the token, indicate that it was not released.
Still working? Hugbel Roa, a government minister involved in the project, confirmed to Reuters that "no one was able to use the petro … and no resources were received". He said that Venezuela is still developing its blockchain technology, and that instead of buying tokens, petro buyers have reserved future ones. It could be true, but it does not correspond to Maduro's claim that he has already been used to pay for things. And he makes his recent announcement that the salaries, pensions and the exchange rate for the Venezuelan bolivar are now anchored to the petro all the more confusing.
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- Spencer Platt | Getty Images