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Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro to shut down

The Venezuelan government will reportedly shut down Petro (PTR), its state-issued, oil-backed crypto, which was subject to controversy and did not see mass adoption by citizens in the country. 

According to reports, crypto wallets on the Patria website, the trading platform for Venezuela’s Petro, will cease operations on Monday, Jan. 15, with the remaining Petro converted to bolivar, the country’s fiat currency. 

Petro’s demise comes nearly six years after its official launch in 2018. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said at the time that the crypto will help to circumvent harsh sanctions by the US government and also help the country’s collapsing economy.

However, the state-issued cryptocurrency which was an ambitious project, failed to see widespread adoption among citizens, with the country’s legislators labeling the token as unconstitutional in 2018 before its official launch. 

Despite criticism from within and outside Venezuela, Maduro’s administration continued to forge ahead with Petro, stating that passport fees would be paid in PTR. In 2020, the President stressed that the token will play a critical role in Venezuela’s economic recovery. 

While Petro may not have enjoyed mass adoption, Venezuelans embraced other cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. 

Opposition leader Leopoldo López reportedly endorsed crypto, saying it helped Venezuela’s citizens preserve their savings from the continuous devaluation of the bolivar.


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