Allegations that Venezuela’s Petro cryptocurrency is all hot air hasn’t stopped President Nicolas Maduro from announcing a special exchange period for the Petro, and that he’ll be presenting it to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) next year as a unit of account for Venezuelan oil.
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) November 7, 2018
Petro ‘Savings Plan’
On Tuesday, Maduro announced via a government release that those who purchase Petro certificates during the exchange period of Nov. 6 to Dec. 31, will be able to exchange the cryptocurrency for any other crypto or “any other convertible currency in the world.”
These certificates are part of a new “savings plan” organized by Maduro and the Venezuelan government to push the cryptocurrency’s adoption. Part of the country’s “Comprehensive National Cryptoasset Plan,” it will reportedly make 4 million Petro available for purchase. Certificates are acquired through an investment in the Bolivar, Venezuela’s fiat currency, according to local media outlet Telesur.
Maduro also announced his intention to present the Petro to the OPEC as an official unit of account for Venezuelan oil this week. According to the Minister of Petroleum Manuel Quevedo, the presentation will happen “during the first half of 2019.”
Is The Petro a ‘Scam?’
Banks have also been ordered to adopt the Petro, and court cases have even recently been settled with fines imposed in the cryptocurrency, all in a multi-front effort to push adoption of the state-backed crypto coin, itself purportedly backed by Venezuela’s oil and other natural resources. Despite the state’s enthusiasm, though, the coin has been controversial since its inception.
Emigrating Venezuelans must pay passport fees in Petro, making a grueling process even more difficult. The app for downloading the coin has reportedly vanished twice from the Android platform. According to the Economist:
“Over the weekend the app made for acquiring the digital token disappeared from the Android platform. The petro is not sold on any major cryptocurrency exchanges. No shops accept it. A major crypto-rating site ranks it as a ‘scam’.”
The White House has also barred U.S. businesses from accepting Petro as currency, echoing sentiments that the coin has no real value.
Nonetheless, Quevedo said that Venezuela was encouraging airlines and shipping companies to register with the state’s crypto website as of Friday, as the country’s oil market business will soon be conducted entirely in the Petro. Quevedo stated,
“The gasoline for planes, ships, we will be selling it in Petros. It is the currency of Venezuela.”