Venezuela Says Pre-Sale of Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Now Available

Venezuela Says Pre-Sale of Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Has Raised $735 Million

Venezuela has announced that the pre-sale of its oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, has attracted $735 million on the first day. The government has also published a buyer’s manual and confirmed that buyers can use “hard currencies and cryptocurrencies, but not bolivars.”

Also read: Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

Petro Pre-Sale Starts

The private pre-sale of Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, was scheduled for February 20 at 8:30 am (Venezuela time 04:00 UTC), according to the petro’s whitepaper. However, at midnight local time on February 20, the government announced that the petro pre-sale had started and published a buyer’s manual as well as an anti-money laundering (AML) compliance manual.

Venezuela Says Pre-Sale of Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Now Available
Petro’s pre-sale launch event.

A total of 82.4 million petro tokens are offered for the pre-sale phase, the whitepaper details. The country’s vice president, Tareck El Aissami, confirmed from Miraflores Palace on Monday, “The petro cryptocurrency tokens can be purchased by Venezuelan nationals as well as other foreign nationals.”

The Superintendent of Cryptocurrencies, Carlos Vargas, was quoted by Telesur TV:

The presale and initial offer will be made in hard currencies and cryptocurrencies, but not bolivars…Our responsibility is to put (the petro) in the best hands and then a secondary market will appear.

According to the Minister for University Education, Science and Technology, Hugbel Roa, the traffic to the petro website “quintupled with the global announcement of the pre-sale of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency,” shortly after midnight local time.

Venezuela Says Pre-Sale of Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Now Available
Hugbel Roa’s traffic chart for the petro’s website.

While there are reports of technical glitches in the buying process of the petro such as a Javascript error which prevents users from completing their purchases, Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro claimed:

Venezuela had received $735 million in the first day of a pre-sale of the country’s “petro.”

Instructions to Buy the Petro

Venezuela Says Pre-Sale of Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Now Available
Maduro announcing petro’s pre-sale.

“The only thing needed for the petro is to open a digital petro wallet,” according to the petro’s website. “Once opened, your wallet will generate an email address that you can share with anyone who wants to transfer PTR to your wallet. You will be able to receive and deposit your PTRs in this email address.”

The buyer’s manual details a step-by-step process of how to register and gain access to a petro wallet, which requires prospective buyers to download a zipped, self-deleting installation file. “The data package for the creation of the digital wallet is configured to self-destruct once the installation is complete,” the instructions warn.

Alongside the steps to register and install the petro wallet, the manual goes over protecting users’ private keys but stopped short of asking users to generate a public key, which would be needed for any kind of cryptocurrency deposit. More curiously, however, was the vague announcement regarding the use of the NEM blockchain:

The Blockchain launched by the Venezuelan State has robust security mechanisms since its programming elements are related to a technological platform called: NEM blockchain.

The cryptocurrency NEM, which uses centralized servers running closed-source code, has recently been in the news frequently following the hack of one of the largest Japanese crypto exchanges, Coincheck, which lost 58 billion yen (~USD$539 million) worth of the cryptocurrency.

Do you (still) want to buy the petro? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Venezuelan government.


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