Venezuela’s Controversial Petro Cryptocurrency Is Now Officially on Sale

John Vibes
  • After many delays, the Venezuelan government's controversial fiat cryptocurrency, the Petro, is finally on sale.
  • However, the currency may struggle to find market share among so many trusted and decentralized alternatives.

After many delays, the struggling Venezuelan government has finally begun selling its fiat cryptocurrency, the Petro. Last month, Venezuelan officials issued a statement announcing that the currency was listed on some of the world's largest exchanges, but the listing was nowhere to be found, and the government was silent about the project until the new round of announcements this week.

According to Venezuela’s vice president of the economy, Tareck El Aissami, the Petro can now be purchased directly from the Superintendency of Cryptoassets and Related Activities (Sunacrip). However, the launch is already off to a rocky start, as the official wallets have been removed from the Google app store, and are no longer available through the Petro website. So far, most of the support for the Petro has come from local politicians, some of whom were photographed purchasing Petro at Sunacrip’s headquarters.

After the purchases, the politicians were given certificates of ownership and answered questions for reporters.

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Petro Backing

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 generated the current economic crisis in the country.

Petro’s recently released whitepaper specifies that the currency is backed by a portfolio of gold oil and diamond. 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. Moreover, many Venezuelan citizens have already become comfortable using more trusted and decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin Cash (BCH), and dash (DASH).

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

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro claims 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 if it is rejected by the citizens. 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 has the potential to turn the crypto into a valuable asset; For now however, it seems that this is a risk not many seem willing to take.

Binance’s Proposed Blockchain Will Support Smart Contracts and BNB Staking

On Friday (April 7), crypto exchange Binance announced that it will soon have an EVM-compatible "parallel blockchain" to the current Binance Chain; this new blockchain, which is called "Binance Smart Chain" will support smart contracts and Binance Coin (BNB) staking.

Binance already has a blockchain called "Binance Chain" that was launched last April. The community of developers who are building on Binance Chain is called the Binance Chain Development Community (BCDC).

Binance Chain's native decentralized exchange (DEX), which is known as Binance DEX, has been deservedly popular due to the speed of its matching magine. 

However, since Binance Chain was launched, third-party developers have been asking Binance to add support for smart contracts. Binance was reluctant to add this support because it did not want to potentially slow down Binance Chain.

Well, earlier today, Binance announced that the BCDC has proposed the idea of building a new "high performance" blockchain called Binance Smart Chain that will run in parallel to the existing Binance Chain, but will also support smart contracts via support for the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

The idea of this "dual-chain architecture" is that users/developers will build their decentralized apps (DApps) and digital assets on Binance Smart Chain, while being able to use Binance DEX, which is powered by Binance Chain, for trading of assets on both chains.

According to Binance, these are main advantages of Binance Smart Chain:

  • by being EVM-compatible, it will support "all of the existing Ethereum tooling along with faster and cheaper transactions";
  • its interoperability with Binance Chain means that it will support "cross-chain communication and scaling of high-performance dApps that require fast and smooth user experience"; and
  • its on-chain governance (Proof of Staked Authority) is based on 21 validators, which means that it is sufficiently decentralized.

As for when Binance Smart Chain is going to be available, Binance Co-Founcer and CEO Changpeng Zhao (aka "CZ") hopes that it will be out "soonish":

 

Featured Image Courtesy of Binance