Venezuelan President Announces Official Launch of Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency “Petro”

This week, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro gave a televised speech to announce the official launch of the “Petro,” which is the first government issued cryptocurrency in the world.

Maduro said that the official public sale will start on November 5th, but that six major exchanges would be listing the Petro this week. However, the Petro is still not listed on CoinMarketCap, CryptoCompare, or any other major exchange.

Maduro also revealed the official website for the Petro has already been launched, as well as mobile wallets for the cryptocurrency, which are already available at Google Play.

Questions About the Petro

The government of Venezuela insists that the Petro will be backed by oil, which if true, could prevent the government from excessively printing money and devaluing the currency, a policy which has caused the current economic crisis in the country.

Petro’s recently released whitepaper specifies that the currency is backed by a portfolio of Oil, Gold and Diamonds. Although, it is important to note that the public has lost significant trust in the Venezuelan government and its central bank as a result of the hyperinflation crisis, and the sloppy roll-out of the Petro.

Initially, Madura promised that the Petro would be ready for full use by August, which included point of sale payments in grocery stores and other local merchants. Now, it seems that the Petro is far from ready for mainstream use in Venezuela.

Madura says that all oil purchases in and out of the country will be paid in Petro, which could be where the most popular use case for this blockchain. Venezuela is one of the world’s top exporters of oil, so if they were able to require foreign buyers to trade with them in Petro, it could turn this crypto into a valuable asset.

However, the Petro is not expected to be welcomed by most Venezuelans, who are already becoming more comfortable with using decentralized alternatives, such as bitcoin, monero, bitcoin cash and dash. Last month, Business Insider reported that dash is especially popular for point of sale transactions in the country.

Dash Core's CEO, Ryan Taylor, told Cointelegraph that areas dealing with economic turmoil can gain the most benefit from crypto. Taylor said:

We’ve found that regions of high inflation rates and industries in which cash handling or credit card chargeback rates are high have been most excited to adopt the technology. For us, we focus on those segments in which cryptocurrency can offer the most benefit, and that’s one of the reasons growth in acceptance is so high.

Ironically enough, Ethereum developer Joey Zhou pointed out that this week that the whitepaper for the Petro seems in fact to be a “blatant Dash clone.”



Crypto Market Update for 9 May 2020: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Chainlink

This article provides an overview of how Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Chainlink (LINK) have been doing over the past 24-hour period, covers recent news that might have affected their prices (or might do so in the future), and looks at interesting tweets about these cryptoassets from prominent members of the crypto community.

To give you a rough idea of how well the crypto markets are doing today, 15 out of the top 20 cryptoassets (by market cap) are currently in the green (against the dollar).

All market data used in this article was taken from CryptoCompare around 13:50 UTC on 9 May 2020.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin is currently trading at $9,693, which means that it is down 2.04% in the past 24-hour period:

BTC-USD 24 Hour Chart on 9 May 2020.png

The past 7-day period has been quite interesting. Bitcoin started this period (on May 2) at $8,826 and currently (as of 12:49 UTC on May 9) is trading at $9,693; in other words, it is up 9.8% against USD.

And if we look at how Bitcoin has performed since the start of 2020, it is up an impressive 34.94% despite the fact that world is still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, Thomas Lee, Co-Founder, Managing Partner and the Head of Research at independent research boutique Fundstrat Global Advisors, said that Bitcoin is the best-performing asset class in 2020:

Bitcoin's current bull run seems to be powered partly by macro-economic factors, partly by speculation due to the upcoming Bitcoin halving (which is expected to occur around 02:39:24 UTC on May 12), and partly by the bullish comments about Bitcoin (as an inflation hedge) in the investment letter ("Market Outlook -- Macro Perspective") sent out earlier this month by Paul Tudor Jones II to clients of the $22 billion macro hedge fund "BVI Global Fund", which is managed by his asset management firm Tudor Investment Corporation.

Bloomberg was the first to report (on May 7) that according to this investment letter, the offering memoranda for the Tudor BVI Global Fund had been updated to disclose that Tudor Investment Corporation "may trade Bitcoin futures" for the fund and that the "initial maximum exposure guideline for purchasing Bitcoin futures" has been set to "a low single digit exposure."

Within a few hours of this news being reported, Bitcoin had surged past the $10,000 level for the first time since February 18. 

The fact that the Bitcoin has gone down slightly since then probably is due to some profit taking ahead of the halving since there are people who believe that the halving might be one of those "buy the rumor, sell the news" type events in the short term.

On-chain market intelligence startup Glassnode said on Thursday (May 7), approximately at the time that Bitcoin was trading around the $9,600 level, that "81% of the current #Bitcoin supply is in a state of profit":

Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is currently trading at $211.80, which means that it is up 0.5% in the past 24-hour period:

ETH-USD 24 Hour Chart on 9 May 2020.png

Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptoasset by market cap, has had a pretty good year so far, with the price up 64.3% (against USD) in the year-to-date period.

The two-day Ethereal Virtual Summit ended yesterday (May 8). One of the main sponsors for this event was ConsenSys, which published a blog post yesterday that offered six takeaways from this event:

  • "The COVID-19 economic shocks are waking people up to the potential of digital assets."
  • "Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 is the most anticipated network development of 2020."
  • "Ethereum 1.0 has big scaling solutions in order."
  • "'Enterprise Ethereum' is just Ethereum with the privacy and compliance add-ons that enterprises need."
  • "Devs are unlocking economic models that get people hooked. Dapp users are running businesses straight out of their Ethereum wallets."
  • "Security is top of mind for DeFi."

Chainlink (LINK)

Chainlink is currently trading at $4.15, which means that it is up 11.68% in the past 24-hour period:

LINK-USD 24 Hour Chart on 9 May 2020.png

In the year-to-date period, Chainlink, the 12th most valuable cryptoasset by market cap, has gone up an incredible 135.80% (against USD).

On May 5, Totle, the blockchain startup that "aggregates decentralized exchanges and synthetic asset providers into a suite of tools that makes it easy to access deep liquidity for DeFi assets at the best price", announced that it was "making its DEX API available to smart contracts via Chainlink."

Here is how this will work:

"Leveraging Chainlink’s external adapter technology, Totle’s aggregated data API will become accessible to Dapps through Chainlink oracles.

"Dapps can query Chainlink nodes to gain deep insights into the DEX space and use it in the execution of smart contracts."

David Bleznak, Founder of Totle, had this to say:

“Chainlink’s role of securely sourcing and delivering data to smart contracts is crucial to the success of the DeFi ecosystem.

"A critical component of Chainlink’s process is being able to leverage high-quality data providers that have robust market coverage and accurate price calculations.

"We’re thrilled to integrate with Chainlink to make our high-quality DEX data readily available to market participants, further expanding the number of use cases possible in DeFi.”

Then, on May 6, MYKEY Lab, the startup behind the self-sovereign identity protocol KEYID and a non-custodial wallet that uses it, announced a collaboration with Chainlink. 

MYKEY said that "Chainlink provides MYKEY with secure and reliable connections to real-world data and legacy infrastructure", which "allows the KEY ID self-sovereign identity protocol to be extended into various real-life scenarios based on the web of trust model, such as retail payments, electronic signatures, and biometrics." 

Also, Chainlink enables MYKEY to "service as a data provider to smart contracts needing Decentralized Identity (DID) data solutions."

Featured Image by "WorldSpectrum" via