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Petro Cryptocurrency Blockchain Launched by Venezuela

Venezuela is launching what it says is the world’s first sovereign petro cryptocurrency.

The petro cryptocurrency is designed to bypass U.S. government sanctions against the socialist regime. The petrol cryptocurrency will have an initial value tied to the price of a barrel of Venezuelan crude oil in mid-January, which was $60 per barrel, with a target of 100 million Petrol to be sold.

Maduro – who took office in 2013 and has presided over a worsening socio-economic crisis – said that the petrol cryptocurrency would help the country overcome a financial “blockade,” according to a statement published on the government’s official website.

The petro’s price will depend on the price of a barrel of Venezuelan oil from the previous day, according to the government’s website.

The presale, which was announced last month, launched Tuesday morning, as CoinDesk previously reported. Though more than 100 million petros are expected to be released ultimately, initially, only 82.4 million will be disbursed.

It’s the first digital currency to be issued by a federal government – yet the initiative itself has long attracted criticism, including from lawmakers both inside and outside of the country. It was revealed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in early December.

The “petro” announcement is also notable development given that some residents of Venezuela have turned to bitcoin mining in an effort to make money amid the crisis.Investors  who wish to purchase the Petro can do so through its official website. However, various reports suggest the token sale has been hindered by a JavaScript error. In response to the error, Petro’s official twitter account revealed that the Petro can also be purchased through decentralized exchange EtherDelta, again hinting at it being an ERC-20 token. At press time, there are various Petro buy and sell orders on EtherDelta’s order book, but seemingly no transactions are being made.

Can it survive? Still, it’s early days for the Petro and a state-issued cryptocurrency is truly unlike anything the world has seen before.