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Venezuelan President Orders Airlines to Accept Petro, Cryptocurrencies for Tickets

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:05 PM
Francisco Memoria
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:05 PM

Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency keeps making headlines, as the country’s cryptocurrency superintendent, Carlos Vargas, recently announced that airlines in Venezuela can now accept the Petro (PTR) and other cryptocurrencies as a payment method.

The cryptocurrency superintendent announced the move according to instructions from the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro. Via Twitter, he revealed it stating that “airlines are allowed to sell tickets on domestic and international flights in «Petro» and other cryptocurrencies.”

Earlier this month, Maduro ordered several state-owned businesses to transact in Petro when buying and selling products and services. These businesses include PDVSA, a state-owned oil and natural gas company, as well as the Corporacion Venezolana de Guyana (CVG), a decentralized conglomerate whose subsidiaries include precious metal producers.

According to local news source Telesur , since the Petro was launched on February 20, investors and entrepreneurs from 127 different countries have shown interest in the cryptocurrency. As recently covered by CCN.com, this meant over 171,000 individuals and companies registered for the pre-sale.

On Twitter, the government further revealed that 40.8 percent of contributors plan on transacting with the USD, while 6.5 percent would purchase their PTR tokens with EUR. Bitcoin and Ethereum followed, with 33.8 and 18.4 of pre-registrations.

Per Nicolás Maduro, Petro’s token-sale raised $735 million in its first day. Telesur reports that the cryptocurrency has now “generated business over $3 billion.” None of these claims is backed by any evidence.

Following some confusion regarding Petro’s underlying blockchain, observers found that a NEM wallet believed to belong to the Venezuelan government has yet to distribute any of the millions of Petro tokens in the pre-sale.

Petro Gold Announced Last Week

Venezuela’s cryptocurrency was issued as a tool to evade economic sanctions levied against the country by the US. Senators in the US have denounced the cryptocurrency, while Venezuela’s opposition-run congress declared its sale is an “illegal and unconstitutional” instrument to mortgage the country’s oil reserves.

Nevertheless, Maduro has announced a second state-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro Gold, set to be backed by precious metals. As covered by CCN.com, the Petro Gold was announced “next week” on February 22. At the time, the Venezuelan leader stated:

“Next week I‘m going to launch the petro gold, backed by gold, which is even more powerful, that will strengthen the petro.”

Since the launch of Petro’s pre-sale, other countries revealed plans to launch their own cryptocurrencies. These include Iran, which recently backpedaled on bitcoin, and Turkey.

Featured image from Shutterstock.