Venezuela’s Assemblea Nacional [National Assembly] recently declared it believes the country’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR) is unconstitutional. Through a public statement, the lawmakers denounced the cryptocurrency as a fraud, and a threat to those who invest in it.
In the public statement, the lawmakers criticized the cryptocurrency’s token sale in general, which reportedly already raised $735 million. To the country’s National Assembly, the Petro is merely a symptom of the country’s ongoing political crisis.
The lawmakers criticized the government’s “forced demand” for the cryptocurrency, as it was planning on forcing business and retirement accounts to accept the cryptocurrency. Rafael Guzmán, president of the body’s finance committee, claimed the Petro is way for the government to embezzle funds.
Per Guzmán, the oil-backed cryptocurrency isn’t the solution the country needs, as it won’t provide Venezuelans with food and medicine. Instead, Guzmán argued (roughly translated):
“This deepens the crisis that we are living in. The PTR is another [example] of corruption, and we will come out of this crisis with measures that we have announced from this Parliament.”
Another lawmaker, Francisco Sucre, pointed out that national assets can’t be used as collateral, implying the oil-backed cryptocurrency can’t be backed by Venezuela’s oil reserves. To him, the reported $735 million raised through Petro’s token sale should be used to support Venezuela’s ecosystem.
Sucre added that the country’s situation is “becoming more jeopardized” as no one knows the origins of those investing in the Petro, and no one can guarantee the cryptocurrency’s value. Another lawmaker, Carlos Propseri, even claimed the Petro isn’t the country’s first digital currency.
As Prosperi pointed out, the country has used a digital currency dubbed Sucre, which has been promoted as a currency that was set to evolve into a hard regional currency, similar to the Euro. Prosperi argued:
“The PTR began with a war of lies when Maduro said it was the first virtual currency, mentioned at the time of highlighting the monetary reconversion and the entry into force of the Bolívar Fuerte, and they said that from there the strength of our currency would emerge, On the contrary, it has lost value daily, and the Sucre was presented as a currency that would exceed the dollar.”
As covered by CCN, the Petro was introduced as a tool for Venezuela to bypass US sanctions. Since the beginning of its token sale, Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro ordered state-owned companies and the country’s airlines to accept the cryptocurrency.
Chinese credit rating giant Dagong has claimed the Petro “may help the global currency system.” Venezuela’s opposition-run congress, on the other hand, claimed its sale is an “illegal and unconstitutional” instrument to mortgage the country’s oil reserves.
On February 22, Maduro claimed he was going to launch the Petro Gold, a cryptocurrency backed by precious metals, “next week.”