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.

Altcoin Price Movements Suggest Potential Crypto Market Sentiment Reversion

  • Altcoin analysis from Crypto Cohort suggest that larger digital asset market could be making a recovery.
  • This, as prominent trader Alex Kruger notably believes the bear market has been over for 3 months now - citing fundamentally technical reasons.

The cryptocurrency market appears to be making a recovery as the prices of several altcoins surged by double-digit percentages in the past few weeks. The price of bitcoin, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency, also appears to be in recovery mode as it’s currently trading above the $4,100 mark - according to CryptoCompare data.

According to prominent crypto trader and investor, Alex Kruger, the cryptocurrency bear market “has been over for three months now.” Kruger has also predicted that if bitcoin manages to break past $4,200, then it could potentially “mark the end of the bear trend that started in January 2018.”

Kruger: Bearish Trend Could End If BTC Surpasses $4,200

Kruger further clarified that his statements regarding bitcoin's price was “not a call.” He explained that from strictly a technical standpoint, the price movements that are considered “bearish” (which began in early 2018) should end if BTC surges past $4,200.

Meanwhile, Crypto Cohort, which provides “in-depth cryptocurrency market analysis,” has noted in a blog post, published on March 30, that bitcoin has failed to break key resistance levels of between $4,000 to $4,200. This, despite bitcoin recently recording the highest 24-hour trading volume, of over $30 billion, in the past nine months.

As confirmed in Crypto Cohort’s post, historical data suggests that “there has always been a correlation/cycle between an alt-season,” or when altcoin prices are surging, and the “relatively sideways BTC price action.” This, “as traders are constantly moving their funds” to trade or enter positions in seemingly “promising” altcoins, the post stated.

Altcoins Market Cap Dominance Keeps Rising

Available data also shows that “altcoins market cap dominance” (the top 60 cryptocurrencies by market cap, except for BTC) has been increasing steadily over the past three months as it has gone from around 19.5% to around 22%, Crypto Cohort noted. Acknowledging that the increase in altcoin dominance might appear to be quite moderate, the analysis indicates that “the highest market cap dominance of all-time for altcoins” was only of about 26%.

Moreover, this figure had “hovered between 23 to 26%” towards the end of 2017 and early 2018 - when digital asset prices recorded their all-time highs. Further examining the data for the top 60 cryptos by market cap, Crypto Cohort found that 30.4% of these altcoins had “reached [their] all-time low prices” around Q4 2018 and Q1 2019.

Altcoin Movements Suggest “Possible Reversion In Overall Market Sentiment”

Notably, in this same time period, 58.3% of altcoins “also broke through” and remained above their respective 100 day moving averages (MA).

The crypto market research group’s report also revealed that these altcoins continued to stay above the critical 100 day MA for “more than 21 days.” This, Crypto Cohort believes is “significant” because it has essentially “created higher lows ever since ... indicating a possible reversion in the overall market sentiment.”