Venezuela’s oil-backed Petro cryptocurrency will cease to exist starting Monday, as per press reports. After roughly six years of struggling to garner meaningful traction amid mistrust, technical barriers, and a bombshell corruption scandal, the Venezuelan government has pulled the plug on the state-run, oil-backed crypto.
Petro Coin: A Failed Crypto Experiment
The South American nation of Venezuela has put an end to the Petro — the cryptocurrency that the Nicolas Maduro administration launched in February 2018, as the nation’s financial system withered under the weight of U.S.-led economic sanctions.
“The petro (PTR) is officially dead,” CryptoLand Venezuela, a private crypto trading platform, declared in a post last week.
All crypto wallet addresses held on the Venezuelan Patria Platform, which is the only website where the petro was tradeable, have been shut down today (January 15), as per a message displayed on the platform’s site, and all remaining petros are being converted to bolivars, Venezuela’s embattled local currency.
The token, ostensibly tied to the price of Venezuelan vast oil reserves, was strongly opposed by the country’s congress. Moreover, the U.S. Department of the Treasury in March 2019 sanctioned a Moscow-based bank for financing Petro.
The Final Blow
Petro became fully functional in 2020 but did not see global acceptance despite efforts by the government to encourage its use by the 10 member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America. Additionally, the country’s leading bank, Banco de Venezuela, did not accept the petro until a presidential order forcing it to do so was issued.
The shutdown of crypto mining facilities across Venezuela by the nation’s energy supplier last March as part of a reorganization of the National Superintendency of Crypto Assets amidst a corruption probe involving the country’s oil company PDVSA and the country’s crypto department was the final nail in the coffin for Petro. Petro’s supervisor, Joselit Ramirez Camacho, was then ousted from his position for allegedly being involved in a scheme to steal from Venezuela’s oil operations.