Venezuela’s national cryptocurrency, Petro, was officially launched on Monday, October 1. The coin had been announced earlier this year, and an initial coin offering (ICO) raised about $5 billion, making it the most successful ICO so far. Petro is backed by the country’s oil, gold, and mineral reserves. Despite that, several red flags have been discussed during the recent months.
The cryptocurrency is now live, with local officials saying that the coin would neutralize the threats from money mafias and black markets. Petro is the culminating part of the country’s Economic Recovery, Growth, and Prosperity Program. The new coin might bring hope to residents, especially after the national fiat currency collapsed from about 10 Bolivars per US dollar to about 250,000.
President Nicolas Maduro said during a televised speech:
“The Petro, unlike other digital currencies, doesn't need to be mined because it already has a value, it is shielded with Venezuelan oil and mining wealth.”
He said that everyone could buy Petro with Bitcoin, Ethereum, US dollars, euro or other currencies. Also, from November 5, Petro will be available for sale in exchange for Bolivar under that National Development Plan. Thus, Venezuelans will be able to by Petro with Bolivars and hold bonds in the new digital currency.
Maduro said that the Petro could be traded on six major international crypto exchanges, the representatives of which were present at the launch event. Also, the coin will be accepted nationwide.
“All Venezuelans will have access to the Petro and through it to make international purchases,” he added.
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told media that the new digital currency might reduce the influence of money mafias, which are to blame for the crash of the Venezuelan Bolivar.
The citizens will be able to exchange their Bolivars to Petro based on a rate of 3,600 Bolivars per coin.