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posted by takyon on Thursday December 07 2017, @05:43AM   Printer-friendly
from the petros-per-gallon dept.

Enter the 'petro': Venezuela to launch oil-backed cryptocurrency

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro looked to the world of digital currency to circumvent U.S.-led financial sanctions, announcing on Sunday the launch of the "petro" backed by oil reserves to shore up a collapsed economy. The leftist leader offered few specifics about the currency launch or how the struggling OPEC member would pull off such a feat, but he declared to cheers that "the 21st century has arrived!"

"Venezuela will create a cryptocurrency," backed by oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves, Maduro said in his regular Sunday televised broadcast, a five-hour showcase of Christmas songs and dancing. The petro, he said, would help Venezuela "advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade."

Opposition leaders derided the announcement, which they said needed congressional approval, and some cast doubt on whether the digital currency would ever see the light of day in the midst of turmoil. The real currency, the bolivar, is in freefall, and the country is sorely lacking in basic needs like food and medicine.


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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Mykl on Thursday December 07 2017, @06:21AM (11 children)

    by Mykl (1112) on Thursday December 07 2017, @06:21AM (#606672)

    Bitcoin is backed by exactly nothing (which is why I was always leery of it and missed out on the gold rush). Why exactly would the petro need to be backed against real-world assets?

    For that matter, why don't Venezuelans just start using BitCoin / DogeCoin / Ethereum etc as-is? No need to create your own.

    Actually, now that I think about it, that removes the possibility that Maduro can corrupt it and profit personally. Never mind - carry on.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday December 07 2017, @07:26AM (6 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07 2017, @07:26AM (#606693) Journal

    For that matter, why don't Venezuelans just start using BitCoin / DogeCoin / Ethereum etc as-is?

    I suspect part of the problem, at least from the tax collector's point of view is that a lot of Venezuelans are already using these currencies.

    • (Score: 1) by petecox on Thursday December 07 2017, @07:47AM

      by petecox (3228) on Thursday December 07 2017, @07:47AM (#606704)

      Yep, that would be the strategy when their real currency is worthless. Just as Argentines under the Kirchners stashed their US dollars in Uruguayan banks.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by FatPhil on Thursday December 07 2017, @09:15AM (4 children)

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday December 07 2017, @09:15AM (#606725) Homepage
      Yeah, but there are 1334 to chose from, I'm sure they can find one that's not in wide use: https://coinmarketcap.com/all/views/all/
      --
      Life is a precious commodity. A wise investor would get rid of it when it has the highest value.
      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07 2017, @02:12PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07 2017, @02:12PM (#606790)

        Yeah, but there are 1334 to chose from

        I see, we need another three.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday December 07 2017, @05:46PM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07 2017, @05:46PM (#606892) Journal
          1334? RIDICULOUS! We need to develop one universal currency that covers everyone's use cases.
          • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday December 07 2017, @09:22PM (1 child)

            by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07 2017, @09:22PM (#606998) Journal

            I get you didn't calculate 1334 + 3?

            (And yes, I did get the xkcd reference)

            --
            The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday December 07 2017, @11:28PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07 2017, @11:28PM (#607044) Journal
              A woosh was involved, yes.
  • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Thursday December 07 2017, @11:48AM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07 2017, @11:48AM (#606768) Homepage Journal

    why don't Venezuelans just start using BitCoin

    Oh, they are, they are.

    Meanwhile, the Venesuelan government is desperate. Having destroyed the country's economy through sheer incompetence, they are flat broke. They can't afford to buy BitCoin. By starting their own cryptocurrency, they hope to sucker people into handing them money. Bet that they will first mine most of the coins and then toss it onto the market.

    Also: just who will control the software? Even supposing they can get bunches of random people interested in this, those people will need download wallet software. Would you trust Venezuela's present government to write honest software?

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07 2017, @09:07PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07 2017, @09:07PM (#606989)

    "Bitcoin is backed by exactly nothing"

    That is not strictly true. Bitcoin is backed by cryptographic entropy. While that is not something that people typically consider a commodity, it is, to the best of our understanding, a "thing". While that "thing" is not tradable directly, the watts burned in order to unveil it from the universe certainly are.

    Which is to say that, while Venezuala is frankly batshit in it's statement, if they were to build a datacenter with a shit ton of CPU's and burn the oil to power them, then sorta, they would be telling the truth. Of course they probably aren't aware of that.

    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Friday December 08 2017, @06:01AM (1 child)

      by anubi (2828) on Friday December 08 2017, @06:01AM (#607108) Journal

      Isn't this like investing in "fine" art or "antiques"?

      ( Yes, I used the quotes because a lot of what I see valued so enormously seems to have value only in the sense that the person who made the thing of value is now dead... meaning that this thing is the only one of its kind in existence.... which somehow translates into it having some sort of absurd value. While similar items have no value. Antiques Roadshow never ceases to amaze me as to what has value and what does not. )

      I believe the only value of cryptocurrency is its opaqueness to governments power to tax or monitor commerce. Hence it would be of great use in conducting of financial affairs sans government involvements.

      I wonder how long governments are going to tolerate this, knowing this is a method of unreported wealth transfers out of their tax man's reach, as well as means of funding insurrections.

      Of course there is more than this method of money laundering right under our noses.... ever seen the range of the prices of "rare" books? I faced this dilemma once when looking for some old books of tables of thermodynamic properties of various compounds. Some were in the thousands of dollars. Some were a few dollars. All the stuff is computerized now, such tables now generated by formulas. But I wanted a nice bound book of tables for general armchair mullovers.

      It struck me as to how easy it would be to have "legitimate" money transfer by having someone buy my way overpriced book, provided I offered for sale the only copy of some obscure book.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08 2017, @01:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08 2017, @01:42PM (#607172)

        So you say, like art, Bitcoin will get more valuable after Satoshi Nakamoto is dead? Well, that would certainly explain why he hides his identity. ;-)