ARTICLE: “A Complete Guide to Petro – Venezuela’s Cryptocurrency Driven Attempt to Attain An Edge”

Achievement unlocked: Hackernoon published a second article by yours truly. This time is not a first-person chronicle, but a journalistic report on the Petro, Venezuela’s cryptocurrency. It contains five interviews, quotes from articles from all over the world and zero personal opinions, except for the conjectures and educated guesses near the end. It consists of near six thousand words – sidebars included – thus making it my most ambitious work in the English language so far.

Without further ado, let’s go to the quotes:

It goes without saying: you should read the whole thing. This is just an appetizer.

It starts with a mea culpa/ excuses on why I couldn’t get the government’s part of the story:

I tried to contact both SUNACRIP (Superintendencia Nacional de Criptoactivos) and the superintendent Joselit Ramírez via social media for months to no avail. They promote social media as their main channel of communication, so I insisted. Nothing. I tried calling 0800-SUNACRIP and the responder refused to put me through to the department of communications, he interrogated me about my intentions and finally said I had to come in person or write an e-mail. I asked if someone with answering power was going to meet me there, he declined to respond. I wrote the e-mail, the address wasn’t available on the website so maybe someone would answer my polite questions. Nothing. I couldn’t get the official point of view.

Later on, I analyze and point out the main differences between the two whitepapers published by the Venezuelan government:

On the original Petro whitepaper, released in January 2018, they announce: “The Pre-sale will start on February 20, 2018, and will consist of the creation and sale of an ERC20 token on the blockchain Ethereum platform. This process will promote and guarantee demand for Petro’s Initial offering, which will be carried out later.” And then they promise that the amount of Petro created for said Initial Offering will be fixed, and “The Venezuelan State will not be able to make new emissions Petro.

The revised whitepaper, released on October 2018, doesn’t mention tokens, declares that it’ll have “its own BlockChain” and the promise of a fixed amount is fuzzier: “The Petro will have as many emissions as there is place in relation to the fixed reserves as the main backup, in a ten years lapse. Each emission will have a finite quantity to issue, therefore, Petro is finite”. On the first one, the coin is backed by 5,342 million barrels from a specific oil field, on the second one, it’s supported by a basket constituted by oil, gold, iron, and diamond. There are substantial and fundamental differences between the documents. 

On the second section I tell you all why you should be paying attention to this particular case:

A few weeks after he said that to us, President Maduro ordered the country’s biggest bank – Banco de Venezuela – to “open Petro transaction desks”, which Lanz himself reported for CryptoCoinsNews. He did manage to interview ASONACRIPT’s president José Angel Alvarez, who about this said: “It is a bold and correct decision to move forward towards a hybrid economy where the fiduciary currency of a country competes face to face with cryptocurrency.” But will this “ordering” translate into mass adoption? It certainly is a strategy only a centralized-state-backed cryptocurrency can adopt, and unique case worth studying. 

And after that I add some burning questions to the fire:

The Superintendencia Nacional de Criptomonedas or SUNACRIP recently inaugurated its headquarters, from there Maduro declared: “The Petro is legalized as a unit of account and as Venezuelan currency, and starting today, the sale of movable and immovable property in Petro should be permitted and promoted. The sale of airline tickets will also be in Petro, as well as hotel services, airport charges, and fuel for international aviation.” Will these actions be enough to jumpstart the cryptocurrency and encourage its use? Will this accomplish the desired effect? 

And near the end, I totally call this just-announced Bitcoin reserve the government has:

But maybe we’re all being short-sighted, the Petro might be part of a bigger plan. An unknown Medium user may have identified something along those lines: (the) “Petro does not come alone and it is not the only unprecedented thing Venezuela is doing. At the event for the pre-sale launch, Maduro described what sounds like a large scale operation aimed to collect (and mine) as much bitcoins as possible: the government will accept bitcoins and ethereum for taxes and public services and is trying to expand the adoption of crypto in the national economy while regulating the mining process by creating a register of miners ” Both the Patria.org.ve and the Petro.gob.ve websites accept Bitcoin and Litecoin, the first one for remittances that arrive in Fiat currency and the other transforms them into Petro. Are we missing an overarching plan already in place?

If all of those tidbits didn’t get you hungry for the main dish, there’s nothing I can do for you. To each its own. To everyone else, this is the most comprehensive piece on the subject to date, help us spread it: “A Complete Guide to Petro – Venezuela’s Cryptocurrency Driven Attempt to Attain An Edge“. Thank you in advance.

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