Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Trade and International Investment José Vielma Mora announced on Thursday, Feb. 8, that foreign investors will be accepting payments for their goods in petro, says Latin American government-sponsored news outlet TeleSur.
The petro, an oil-backed state cryptocurrency set to be released in both a pre-sale and an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), was first announced by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in December 2017. The petro’s white paper released Jan. 30 explains that the idea for the petro came from Hugo Chavez, who had envisioned a “strong currency backed by raw materials.”
Mora said that Brazilian businesspeople are prepared to invest $300 mln in Venezuela, beginning with a $100 mln inversion investment.
The minister also listed Poland, Denmark, Honduras, Norway, and Vietnam as foreign countries that would be willing to receive petro in exchange for food and medicine, citing a total amount of $435 mln. According to Mora, Canada has also expressed interest in investing in Venezuela in the sphere of “pharmaceutics for humans and animals.”
The petro is an ERC20 token that has been pre-mined on the Ethereum Blockchain, with each petro is backed by one barrel of oil. Maduro had ordered the issuance of 100 mln in petro on Jan. 14 in preparation for the pre-sale.
The creation of the petro has been viewed skeptically by critics and members of the Venezuelan opposition parliament who consider the petro a fraudulent currency that could help Maduro avoid sanctions.
The petro’s pre-sale will take place from Feb. 20 at -04:00 UTC to Mar. 19 at -04:00 UTC, and there will be 38.4 mln tokens available. Pre-sale tokens “may be exchanged for petro [coins] at any time between the launch date and the closing of the initial offer,” according to the white paper.
The ICO will take place a day after the end of the pre-sale, Mar. 20 at -04:00 GMT, with 44 mln petro available for sale at a reference selling point of $60 - the price of a barrel of oil in Venezuela in the second week of Jan. 2018. The price is subject to market fluctuations, according to the white paper.
The white paper writes that the Venezuelan government will accept petro as payment for national taxes, fees, and public services, and it will be regulated by the Cryptocurrency Superintendency and the National Blockchain Observatory.
By Molly Jane Zuckerman