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.



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.

Once Called 'Bitcoin 2.0', Mimblewimble-based Privacy Coin GRIN Falls Into Obscurity

Colin Muller

Publically launched a year and a half ago, Grin Coin (GRIN) was lauded for its potential to bring ironclad privacy crypto transactions at scale. It was the first release of a cryptocurrency built on the Mimblewimble blockchain protocol, whose mysterious origins and brilliant design had some calling Grin ‘Bitcoin 2.0’.

Since then, interest in the privacy coin seems to have waned across every metric.

Starting with its publically traded price, GRIN has (not unlike most altcoins) completely collapsed in the past year or so. But notably, it has not been one of the altcoins to recover a significant amount of lost ground like many did in late 2019/early 2020.

cause for optimism?GRIN chart by TradingView

If we look at a weekly GRIN/USD(T) chart below, however, we might note one glimmer of light: the constantly falling price may have found a floor at around $0.50, as a very large bullish divergence can be seen on the RSI underpinning almost all of Grin’s price history.

Hashrate on Grin’s network has also utterly (ostensibly) collapsed in 2020, now putting out as much as 1/20th of its all-time-high level of 5.77 mega-graphs-per-second – although there is more to the story in this regard.

A jagged chartsource:

The steep drop off may be explained by the scheduled changes in mining algorithm, which has occurred every six months since Grin went live in an effort to slowly phase-in ASIC miners and give GPU miners a chance to mine their fair shares before industrial mining dominates.

Finally, we might take a look at Grin’s Github activity. Indeed, we see a steady decline in the number of Github commits in the last year.

a slow decline, but not deadsource: Github

Despite all this downtrending, however, Grin is still alive as a project. A look at the public-only funding of Grin shows that the team still have well over a million dollars in USD-equivalent crypto in their coffers, which will doubtless be used to continue funding the project.

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