Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claimed the pre-sale of the country’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR), has raised $5 billion and recorded over 186,000 certified purchases, according to local news source TeleSUR. The announcement came during a meeting with members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), in Caracas.
During the meeting, Maduro explained that the money raised from the cryptocurrency’s pre-sale will be used to “service everything our country needs.” Per his words, the money is part of a wider “economic solution” the Venezuelan government put together.
Additionally Carlos Vargas, the country’s cryptocurrency superintendent, revealed that over 83,000 individuals from 127 countries attempted to purchase the oil-backed cryptocurrency. Among them, were 3,523 entrepreneurs. As previously covered by CCN, the country had received 171,000 pre-registrations for the token sale, and Maduro claimed it raised $735 million in only a day.
The Petro was created as a way to bypass US sanctions, while Venezuela deals with a steep recession, that’s forced its citizens to rely on cryptocurrencies to survive. While Maduro’s words seem to show the Petro’s pre-sale has been a tremendous success, there’s little to no evidence pointing that out.
A NEM wallet believed to belong to the Venezuelan government has yet to distribute any of the 100 million Petros the country’s president ordered. Nevertheless, Maduro recently stated that the Petro aims to improve the country’s “monetary sovereignty,” while also helping it “make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.”
While the Venezuelan leader claims the Petro is a step forward, various Venezuelan lawmakers seemingly don’t agree. The country’s opposition-run congress has said the Petro’s sale is an “illegal and unconstitutional” instrument to mortgage the country’s oil reserves. The country’s National Assembly denounced it as a fraud and claimed it could be a risky investment.
On the other hand, Chinese credit rating giant Dagong claimed the Petro “may help the global currency system.” To bolster adoption, Maduro has ordered the country’s airlines to accept the Petro and other cryptocurrencies for tickets.
Despite the controversy, Venezuela is set to auction the Petro to private companies via its Dicom foreign exchange platform. Last month, Maduro claimed a Petro Gold – a cryptocurrency backed by precious metals – was going to be launched “next week.”