$735 Million Sold in Venezuelan ‘Petro’ Cryptocurrency Pre-sale
Venezuela has reportedly sold $735 milliion in petro cryptocurrency pre-sale.
Venezuela’s government on Tuesday, 21 Feb., launched the world’s first sovereign cryptocurrency, the “petro”, to help its collapsing economy. The country now claims to have sold $735 million of its cryptocurrency during the first day of its pre-sale.
Presale began with one token going for $60. The government is reportedly trying to sell $2.3 billion worth.
The president of Venezeula, Nicolás Maduro, has however not presented any evidence to support the presale figure, nor offered details about the first investors of the currency, according to Reuters. The U.S. Treasury Department had earlier warned that investors who purchase the cryptocurrency “may be exposed to U.S. sanctions risk.
Maduro had suggested that “petro” could be used for transactions within the country, and he praised the cryptocurrency saying; “Today, a cryptocurrency has emerged that can take on superman.”
The petro is backed by Venezuela’s precious natural reserves, such as gold and crude oil. The country has the largest reserves of crude oil in the world.
Some opposition leaders and other government parastatals do not support the launch, citing the sale of petro as an issuance of illegal debt that doesn’t go through the country’s majority-opposition legislature. With many economists arguing that the petro won’t solve Venezuela’s many problems, including food shortages, plummeting oil production and a mass exodus.
While crypto experts noted the currency would probably not attract investors, Venezuelan cryptocurrency superintendent Carlos Vargas said the government was expecting investors from the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
The Venezuelan government is reportedly seeking to launch a digital wallet for the cryptocurrency. This may become available to the public next month.
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