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.

Nasdaq Introduces XRPLX Index, a Real-Time Reference Rate for XRP

On Wednesday (May 1), Nasdaq will start sending real-time XRP "index level information" on its Global Index Data Service (GIDS).

According to Nasdaq, the new index, which is called XRP Liquid Index (XRPLX), is "designed to provide a real-time spot or reference rate for the price of 1 XRP, quoted in USD, and based on the most liquid ends of their markets." 

XRPLX was developed by New Zealand-headquartered blockchain-focused data and research company Brave New Coin (BNC), and according to BNC's blog post, it "will allow users to track the price of the XRP token... with far greater transparency than before."

BNC says that it created the XRPLX " to meet the marketplace requirement for a single, reliable and fair USD price for XRP — based on live real-world trading activity," and that this index is "designed to report a market price at which liquidity could enter or exit an XRP position." Other facts that BNC wants you to know about are:

  • "The XRPLX captures a comprehensive, global sample of liquidity on the highest volume and quality exchanges"
  • "Ideal for settlements and accurate spot pricing, the XRPLX API includes 30 second Intraday pricing, End-of-Day OHLCV and Time & Volume-Weighted-Averages."
  • "The XRPLX sources data from only the most liquid exchanges by volume and order-book depth. Given that exchanges are third-party organizations operating in a volatile and competitive marketplace, BNC reviews its constituent mix and index methodology every quarter to ensure the quality of its indices. Current constituent exchanges for the XRPLX include Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Poloniex and Kraken with Coinbase to be added in the next review."
  • "The 'LX' family of BNC indices has had its methodology independently audited against key IOSCO (International Organisation of Securities Commissions) principles..."
  • "BNC’s Liquid Index (LX) indices are accurate and transparent. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data sources, and factoring in the stability and quality of constituency, as well as volume, book depth, tick size and other factors from qualified market participants, the indices calculate a fair global value for the price of Bitcoin, Ethereum and now XRP, expressed in USD, every 30 seconds."

Nasdaq, which "first partnered with Brave New Coin in February when it added BNC’s Bitcoin and Ethereum Liquidity Indexes (BLX and ELX)", says that "data recipients will receive real-time index information from the proprietary GIDS data feed" every 5 minutes, but this might be incorrect since it sends out Bitcoin Liquid Index (BLX) and Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX) every 30 seconds.