Venezuela raises $735 million in pre-sale ‘petro’ token in a day

(Last Updated On: February 21, 2018)


Infobase with Agency report


Venezuela Tuesday sold $735 million in 24 hours of a pre-sale of the country’s “Petro” cryptocurrency, and President Nicolas Maduro is thrilled about that success, which he aims as a tool to pull his country out of an economic sanction.


“Today, a cryptocurrency is being born that can take on Superman,” said Maduro in a state tv.


He refers to the United States as the superman, a popular comic character.


Venezuela has been battling with U.S. sanctions imposed on it in 2017 as the bolivar currency plunges to record lows and it struggles with hyperinflation.


Blockchain experts are pessimistic about petro token, saying it might not attract significant investment after all.


Corroborating blockchain experts is the opinion expressed by the country’s opposition leaders that the sale constitutes an illegal debt issuance that circumvents Venezuela’s majority-opposition legislature, and the U.S. Treasury Department has warned it may violate the 2017 sanctions.


But Maduro is unperturbed by the sanction, though he’s yet to give details about the initial investors and there was no evidence presented for his figure.


But Venezuelan Cryptocurrency Superintendent Carlos Vargas last week said the government was expecting to attract investors from Turkey, Qatar, the United States and Europe.


The president is optimistic that tourism, some gasoline sales and some oil transactions could be made in petro.


The official website for the petro on Tuesday published a complete guide on how to set up a virtual wallet to hold the cryptocurrency.


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The value of the entire petro issuance of 100 million tokens would be just over $6 billion, according to details given by Maduro in recent months, though no new price information was provided on Tuesday.


The tokens will each be valued at and backed by a barrel of Venezuelan crude oil, Maduro said.


Advisers working for the government have in the past recommended that 38.4 percent of the petros should be sold in a private auction at a discount of 60 percent.

The petro is expected to go public March, 2018.

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