Venezuela To Eventually Sell Oil Only In Petro ERC20 Tokens, Starting March 2019

Colin Muller

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has announced that all of its oil exports will eventually be sold only in Petros (PTR), the country’s state-backed Ethereum-powered cryptocurrency. The announcement was made on state television, after a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin last week.

It was subsequently reported by teleSUR (a media outlet backed by several Latin American countries’ governments, including Venezuela’s) that the sale of oil for PTR will begin in March of 2019.

Getting Around Sanctions

The full import of the move, and of the meeting with Putin, was to move away from US dollar-denominated exchange in the hydrocarbon market. “Russia is buying and selling oil and derivatives in [Chinese] yuan [...] We are progressively going to sell all our oil production in Petros,” teleSUR quoted Maduro as saying. Ethereum transactions, of course, cannot be blocked.

The decision to eventually sell only in Petros will be seen as somewhat provocative, because although the United States has applied many sanctions to the Venezuelan economy and key political figures in the past years, it has not done so for oil exports which are by far the most important for the Latin American country. The US has, however, banned US citizens from buying PTR tokens.

In any case, the rhetoric against Venezuela has gone full tilt as of late, with US national security advisor John Bolton (widely understood as one of the principal architects of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003) recently referring to Venezuela as one of the “Troika of Tyranny,” part of a “triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua.”

It is notable in its own right that almost no English-speaking media outlets have picked up the story - indeed more crypto-news outlets have reported on it than traditional ones.

Venezuela also recently set a fixed price of $150 for one PTR token, each of which are purportedly backed by one barrel worth of crude oil - although this is well above the current going price of nearer $60. In the midst of economic hardship in the country, CryptoGlobe recently reported that Localbitcoins transaction volume in the country was “mooning.”

Outside the Circle of Trust

Venezuela joins Iran in launching a nationally-backed cryptocurrency, in an effort to sidestep international (mostly US-based) sanctions. A political rift between the US and EU recently arose, because of the US pressure applied on the SWIFT money transfer platform to exclude sections of the Iranian economy from transacting using the platform. Russia has also been considering a move in this direction of late.

CryptoGlobe reported on the troubles facing the Petro, including the fact that there sems to be no evidence of its use, and claims that its whitepaper was partially plagiarized.

Jimmy Song Questions Buterin's Claims Regarding Ethereum's Progress

Prominent Bitcoin (BTC) developer Jimmy Song recently questioned Vitalik Buterin’s claims that the Ethereum (ETH) project made the “research breakthroughs” required in order to launch the set of upgrades associated with Ethereum 2.0.

Recently, the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on supporting the ongoing development of Ethereum, the world’s largest smart contract-enabled platform for deploying decentralized applications (dApps), revealed its plans regarding how it intends to spend the allocated $30 million to support the ETH ecosystem.

“Can Money Buy Scientific Breakthroughs?”

In response to the Foundation’s report, well-known crypto influencer Tuur Demeester stated via Twitter:

Responding to Demeester’s comments, Buterin explained that adequate research had already been carried out in order to successfully transition from Ethereum’s current proof-of-work (PoW)-based consensus model to proof-of-stake (PoS). The Russian-Canadian programmer also mentioned that the blockchain network’s developers carefully drafted the specifications for the major upcoming Ethereum 2.0 upgrade.

Promising Innovation For Years, Not Delivering

However, blockchain educator Song claimed that Ethereum’s developers had been promising innovation for the past five years. The University of Michigan computer science graduate added that it would be quite challenging to implement, or code, the research and specifications for Ethereum.

In May 2018, renowned economist Dr. Nouriel Roubini, one of the most vocal critics of cryptocurrencies, also argued that Ethereum’s creators had been promising groundbreaking innovations for over five years. Expressing views somewhat similar to Bitcoin developer Song, Roubini said that Ethereum would not be able to scale effectively and that distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based systems would eventually fail.

Roubini, whose comments came during a live debate with Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, also previously accused Buterin of engaging in criminal behavior by “premining” large amounts of ETH.

$500 Million DeFi Ecosystem Built Mostly On Ethereum

However, Buterin clarified that premining was not a crime and that he never held more than 1% of ether’s overall supply at any point. He also revealed his cryptocurrency holdings (at that time) and noted that he no longer holds 1% of the cryptocurrency's circulating supply. Furthermore, he confirmed that at no point did his net worth come close to $1 billion (a claim Roubini made).

Despite the recent criticisms of Ethereum’s ongoing development, there have been a relatively large number of useful dApps launched on the smart contract platform. In fact, nearly the entire half a billion dollar decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem has been created on Ethereum’s technological infrastructure.

Notably, Uniswap, an Ethereum-based peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange protocol, recently processed over $20 million in trades and contracts in the past week. This, only after being launched just six months ago.