According to an article published by TIME magazine today, the Petro (the Venezuelan official cryptocurrency) was launched in coordination with Russian advisors close to President Putin. This is an important development because it would unequivocally mean that Russian agents helped Venezuelan officers to circumvent US sanctions.
According to the document, even the conception of the crypto asset would have been suggested by the Russian aides. The anonymous source, who works in a state Russian bank, declared that:
People close to Putin, they told him this is how to avoid the sanctions. This is how the whole thing started.”
The Petro Pre-sale was announced by the Venezuelan government the last month, and it was announced to be a great success. According to president Nicolas Maduro, they raked in more than 700 million dollars from investors all over the world. But it was also criticized because it was interpreted as some as a digital bond; an instrument to circumvent US sanctions. This with the purpose of oxygenating the regime with fresh dollars. Even the National Assembly, the legislative body of Venezuela, ruled the Petro unconstitutional.
The Petro could also be understood as a beta product for a larger Russian cryptocurrency; President Putin has been always supportive of blockchain technology. Earlier this year he expressed the wish for the creation of a cryptoruble; thing that was qualified as “technically impossible” by the finance minister.
Now, with the financial veto that president Trump made yesterday banning all Americans to trade with the Petro, and this being revealed, it seems like the final nail on the Petro’s coffin has been nailed. Still, according to the Petro’s timeline on its webpage, the actual ICO will be going live this month. We will see then the response from investors to the crypto coin.