For the first time ever, a country has issued a national digital currency. This is called the petro and it has held its initial coin offering (ICO) in Venezuela over the past number of weeks, with the country’s President Nicolas Maduro saying that they have raised about $5 billion through this offering.
If these figures are true, the petro, which is backed by the country’s oil reserves, would by far be the most successful ICO that has ever been seen.
It was at a meeting involving the United Socialist Party of Venezuela that President Maduro made this admission about the amount of funds they raised.
What is the background to this petro digital currency?
Venezuela is a country that has experienced a large amount of turmoil in recent years and they have been crippled economically as a result of hyperinflation. There have also been sanctions placed upon them by a number of nations, including the United States which has made things even worse in the country.
They saw the issuance of a national digital currency that is backed by an asset such as oil as being an effective way in which they can circumvent sanctions, as well as help combat inflation.
There has been a lot of opposition from within the country to this idea, with the main opposition party saying that this token will only aid in further instances of corruption.
During the course of the token sale, there were said to have been over 186,000 certified purchase offers coming from 127 different nations. This was made up of 83,000 individuals and 3,523 entrepreneurs. Maduro had said last month that in the first 24 hours alone of the pre-sale that they had raised $735 million.
What has the reaction been so far to this ICO?
The opposition party in Venezuela is expressing doubts as to the claims from Maduro about the amount of funds raised, saying there is no evidence to support these claims. They continue to call it a scam and level criticism against it.
There are some reports saying that those who bought the coin have not yet received it, with no movement being seen from the address that holds these NEM tokens.
Maduro is banking on this ICO going well and revitalising the economy in Venezuela that has been struggling massively in recent times. It will be interesting to watch how this turns out and whether or not these claims from Maduro are true.