Venezuela launches pre-sale of Petro token
The first ever state-issued cryptocurrency is designed to pay for national taxes, fees and public services.
The Bolivarian government of Venezuela has officially launched the pre-sale of its new Petro token.
Venezuelan vice president Tareck El Aissami announced the pre-sale acquisition and commercialization of the Petro token, in strict adherence with “rigorous technological protocols”, in the early hours of the morning.
A press release on the Venezuelan government’s website reports that a dedicated website has been created, which details procurement procedures via a buyer’s manual and anti-money laundering compliance manual.
The pre-sale is expected to run for one month, through 10:59 p.m. March 19, 2018.
According to El Aissami and the government’s release, any natural or legal person, any citizen or company and any national or foreign person can acquire the state-issued Petro token through the pre-sale initiative.
“From now on Venezuela is placed at the disposal of all the rules with which our Venezuelan digital assets are programmed, respecting the best standards of the cryptocurrency community in the world, to generate confidence and security in the national and international market”, El Aissami said.
For pre-sale participants, the creation of a Petro wallet will automatically generate a unique email address to use to send or receive Petro. The digital asset is designed to pay for national taxes, fees and public services.
The creation of the Petro, the world’s first state-issued cryptocurrency, was first revealed in December 2017. The token is reportedly backed by domestic commodities, such as Venezuela’s significant oil reserves.
Late last month, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro revealed that the pre-sale would issue 38.4 million of the total planned supply of 100 million Petro tokens (PTR). Each token was estimated to be worth approximately US$60, reflecting current market prices for oil.
An initial coin offering (ICO) of 44 million tokens was planned for late March, while the token was set to appear on supported digital exchanges from April. The remaining 17.6 million PTR was to be retained by the Venezuelan Superintendency of Currency and Related Activities.
However, Latin American news publication Telesur reports that 82.4 million tokens are available in the pre-sale.
Reuters reports that Venezuela’s opposition-run parliament said the Petro illegally mortgages oil reserves.
“This is not a cryptocurrency, this is a forward sale of Venezuelan oil,” Legislator Jorge Millan said.
“It is tailor-made for corruption.”
United States senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez also rebuked the creation and disbursement of the new digital currency in an open letter addressed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in late January.
“It is imperative that the Treasury Department is equipped with tools and enforcement mechanisms to combat the use of cryptocurrency to evade U.S. sanctions in general, and in this case in particular,” the letter said.
Despite the recent exponential growth of cryptocurrencies, the United States government is in no rush to regulate the burgeoning industry, White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce said in a recent interview.
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has asserted that disruptive technologies, such as blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT), are significant developments that require “rapid adaptation” in the workplace.
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