Venezuelans are dumping the government-issued Petro, a crypto coin backed by a barrel of Oil, for half its value ($30) at peer-to-peer exchanges like LocalBitcoins.
The situation has worsened over the past few weeks as the government has scrambled to tame the USD/Bolivars rate but shutting down avenues for liquidation. At the time of writing, 50k Bolivars equals to $1 while 1 Petro (PRT) is pegged at $60.
The Maduro-led government asserts that each coin is more than a medium of value but a crypto asset, like Bitcoin, in an economy stricken by economic turmoil and world’s leading hyperinflation.
Venezuela Petro at a 50% discount at LocalBitcoins
According to sources in Venezuela, the government airdropped 0.5 Petro to government workers and pensioners claiming that their effort reached 6 million people. As a crypto asset, the objective of the government was to probably avail a shield for its citizens.
However, it soon emerged that people used the same airdropped Petro to buy ordinary stuff through Point-of-Sale and government-supported Petro Wallets.
Both avenues were shut, paving the way for people to liquidate at peer-to-peer exchanges.
At LocalBitcoins, the value of each Petro was consequently priced at $30, 50% of what the government had set:
“You can go to “authorized by the government” exchanges, some of the offer the way of exchanging them, as it is free market and more people want to sell that people wanting to purchase, the price has dropped to 1 PRT around $30 (50%), of course a socialist government doesn’t like this, they say its price MUST be 60 USD. Some people are using LocalBitcoins to list Petros, but at the real market price of $30.”
Petro-Powered Casino in Caracas
Last week, the government approved the Humboldt Hotel to run a Petro powered Casino in Caracas, the country’s Capital.
Even so, the government didn’t specify which cryptocurrencies will be used to buy the Petro for use in this casino.
It is likely that Bitcoin, Dash, Litecoin, and other cryptocurrencies officially supported by the Petro Wallet will be allowed.
Maduro introduced the Petro, backed with the country’s reserve of oil and minerals, as an alternative to Bolivars, and skirt sanctions.