Venezuela Ends Controversial Petro Cryptocurrency: Reports

President Nicolas Maduro launched the Petro (PTR) in Feb. 2018 to support the nation's currency, the bolívar, in the face of an economic crisis exacerbated by U.S. sanctions.

AccessTimeIconJan 15, 2024 at 7:59 a.m. UTC
Updated Jan 26, 2024 at 5:26 p.m. UTC
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Venezuela is ending its Petro cryptocurrency on Monday, more than five years after it was first launched, according to multiple reports citing a message displayed on the Patria Platform, the only website where the Petro was tradeable.

President Nicolas Maduro launched the Petro (PTR) in Feb. 2018 to support the nation's currency, the bolívar, in the face of an economic crisis exacerbated by U.S. sanctions.

The token, backed by the nation’s rich oil reserves, was embroiled in controversy even before the launch. The country’s opposition-controlled congress said it was illegal to borrow against the oil reserves. In 2019, U.S. authorities sanctioned a Russian bank for financing the Petro.

The Venezuelan government made several attempts to link the Petro with services, for example, it was required to obtain passports to fund a social housing initiative and the minimum wage was 50% pegged to it.

Any remaining petros are being converted to bolivars, the ailing local currency, according to one report. The final nail in the coffin for the Petro was a corruption scandal over financial irregularities around using crypto assets for oil operations which led to the resignation of the petroleum minister Tareck El Aissami and a crackdown on bitcoin mining operations, AFP reported.

The Venezuelan government could not be reached for comment.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.




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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is a CoinDesk reporter.


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