Reports indicate that the Venezuelan government may be shutting down its national cryptocurrency, the petro.
The government of Venezuela could be winding down its petro cryptocurrency after members of Sunacrip, the country’s crypto watchdog, were found to be involved in a corruption scheme.
Reports by Bloomberg Linea indicate that it could be the end of Venezuela’s national oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro. Three persons linked with the country’s crypto regulator said the petro would be liquidated five years after issuance.
Bitcoin.com first shared the news and reported that the decision was made as part of Sunacrip’s restructuring. The decision reportedly also includes liquidating the debts contracted with big petro holders, including department stores that decided to accept petro as a payment method.
The decision to restructure Sunacrip came after its head Joselit Ramirez was arrested in March on corruption charges. Venezuelan president Nicolas Madura removed Ramirez from his position for allegedly participating in a plan to steal from the country’s oil operations.
Soon after news of Ramirez’s alleged involvement in corruption came to light, energy suppliers across the country shut down various crypto-mining operations. Local media reports and tweets from Venezuela’s National Association of Cryptocurrencies indicate that crypto mining facilities were shut down in the states of Carabobo, Bolivar, and Lara. Numerous crypto exchanges were also ordered to cease their activities.
The petro was introduced in 2018 as a way to sidestep sanctions imposed by the Trump and Obama administrations and has largely been viewed as a failure. The introduction of an oil-backed national crypto was met with scepticism from global leaders, and former US president Donald Trump banned US investors from trading in petro.
Introduced amid a financial crisis, Venezuela no longer lists the petro as a currency. When introducing the petro, the Maduro administration permitted several crypto exchanges to operate in the country, introducing Venezuelans to cryptocurrencies as an alternative to their declining currency.
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