The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has announced that more than $5 billion has been generated by national cryptocurrency Petro (PTR) during the pre-sale period. Additionally the first national virtual currency in the world has recorded certified purchases numbering more than 186,000. According to Maduro the sale of the virtual currency has resulted in the foreign reserves of Venezuela getting strengthened in the wake of international aggression. Maduro said this while meeting United Socialist Party of Venezuela members in Caracas.
Per the Venezuelan president the virtual currency would assist the country in solving the economic challenges facing the country. The superintendent of Venezuela?s virtual currency, Carlos Vargas, also disclosed that more than 83,000 individuals hailing from 127 countries made attempts to buy the digital asset which is backed by oil. Of these around 3,523 were entrepreneurs. Earlier Maduro had claimed that the ICO had raised approximately $735 million in a single day.
Despite the claims made by the Venezuelan president there is little evidence to back it up. A NEM wallet which is thought to be owned by the government of Venezuela has not distributed some 100 million Petros which were ordered by Maduro.
And while Maduro has been speaking highly with regards to the national virtual currency, opposition leaders in Venezuela have denounced the cryptocurrency arguing that it is an unconstitutional and illegal instrument aimed at mortgaging the oil reserves of the country. The National Assembly of Venezuela branded the digital coin a fraud and warned investors that it was a risky bet.
At the same time two academics at The Brookings Institution, Darrell West and Jack Karsten, have said that the Petro will undermine the concept of virtual currencies while encouraging other countries under international sanctions to attempt a similar move as a way of circumventing these sanctions.
According to the academics one of the ways the Petro undermines virtual currencies is that it is not free-floating as it is pegged to the oil price. Additionally the Petro is centralized unlike other cryptocurrencies and thus its price will be dictated by the whims of the government or the asset that backs it ? oil. This might weaken the integrity associated with the concept of virtual currencies.
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