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Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin certainly have the potential of creating a much more balanced economy which is not controlled by major financial institutions or governments. Yet, there are also powerful financial players – ironically, also governments – that attempt to exploit cryptocurrencies to cover for their own catastrophic economic mismanagement.
Such is the case with Venezuela’s new government-issued cryptocurrency, Petro, which recently became available for purchasing by the authoritarian administration of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro.
— Vicepresidencia de Economía (@ViceEconomia) October 29, 2018
Venezuela’s economy, which is heavily relied on the superabundance of oil reserves, has been in a state of utter financial chaos in the last few years – perhaps primarily due to outrageous (mis)conduct of the Venezuelan government – which has left too many citizens disgracefully impoverished. Additionally, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on Venezuela because of anti-democratic acts that Maduro’s government has taken before, during and after the controversial 2018 presidential election. Petro, therefore, is a means to circumvent those sanctions by reducing the dependability on the U.S. dollar.
However, no cryptocurrency can change the fact that Venezuela’s economy was being poorly managed – to say the least – and it still does.
Anyway, Petro is now available for acquisition on the official cryptocurrency website, where interested parties can buy it with Bitcoin or Litecoin. On the site, the government boasts that “Petro is the first cryptocurrency ever backed by a State,” but that doesn’t really mean it’s a good thing; the entire rise of decentralized digital currencies – especially Bitcoin, the largest one – was due to mass public disillusion with the contemporary economic and political systems after 2007-2008 financial crisis. If Petro is just another currency that is being controlled and manipulated by another government – and a failing one, mind you – what makes it so appealing and special?