The Petro: US Investors Must Stay Away, but Is the Coin Even Available?

March 20, 2018

The Venezuela digital asset remains highly risky, but finding a way to buy it is close to impossible.

The Petro cryptocurrency may not be open to US-based investors – but not to anyone else either. The overhyped project looks like it is totally unraveled, starting with the fact that the token sale manual has been taken down.

The ICO website also does not allow for an actual purchase, and there is no known Ethereum wallet that takes in the proceeds from the token sale.

Where is the Real Petro?

Additionally, it is highly confusing which digital asset is the Petro. There are several Etherscan addresses with similar names and slightly different tickers, all posing as the Petro. But since it is trivial to create an ERC-20 token, the unfortunate state-backed ICO may be breeding scams as well. There is also a NEM-based “Petro”, again just generated, but never moved from the original address.

The official asset was supposed to have the PTR ticker, but there are versions with the PTO and PETR, as well as PETRO tickers already waiting on the sidelines. To add to the confusion, there is another PTR ticker, this time with several relatively large transactions.

Some believe the Petro is available to Venezuelans and can be purchased with foreign currency. This is itself a paradox, since owning dollars is illegal for locals. But why would the citizens of a failed state spend their valuable stores of hard currency for an unknown digital asset?

What About the Bolivarcoin?

There is already one Venezuelan crypto coin, the Bolivarcoin (BOLI). Currently at $0.03, the BOLI trades on exceptionally thin volumes of 0.41 BTC in 24 hours, hardly a potential savior for the failing Venezuelan economy.

Curiously, the BOLI has the occasional small-volume pump against BTC, but the coin’s activity is limited.

But Why Ban the Petro?

The crypto community has seen the Petro as a laughing stock, after looking beyond the initial hype. However, banning it by an executive order, some believe, sets a dangerous precedent:

The rationale against buying the Petro hinges on not breaking the US embargo on Venezuela. But with the confusion surrounding the real Petro asset, the ban may at least make investors think twice. 

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