This post is also available in: deDeutsch

Venezuela’s venture into cryptocurrencies with the Petro had another development with the PetroApp, which enables the purchase of the Petro with Dash, Bitcoin, and Litecoin.

This new PetroApp appears to enable consumers to make purchases of the Petro with either Dash, Litecoin, or Bitcoin. The website claims to allow users to “manage [their] Petros, Bitcoins, Litecoins and Dash in one place” and that the “PetroApp gives [users] the wallets for each of these cryptocurrencies”. The website also proclaims that users can “[b]uy Petros conveniently from [their] device, with Bitcoins, Litecoins and Dash”, and “[p]ay [for] goods and services in Petros”.

Venezuela launched the Petro in late 2017 in an attempt to help stabilize their economic system and mitigate hyperinflation without having to rely on foreign currency. However, some members of the country’s own National Assembly called the project “fraudulent, illegal and invalid mechanism for the government to continue its shady business and money laundering”. Nevertheless, the Maduro regime pushed adoption forward by denominating some bank accounts in Petros.

Designing an alternative system

The Petro has had limited details released and many of the facts keep changing, such as how many used to believe that the Petro was based on NEM or ETH, but it was later revealed to be “a blatant Dash clone”. However, rather than appealing to cryptocurrencies’ soundness in code as a backing asset, the Petro appeals to being “backed by part of the Venezuelan State’s natural reserves”.

Additionally, there are still many uncertainties about what the Petro is actually worth. The Venezuelan government has supposedly pegged their sovereign bolivar so that “as a ‘unit of account’ the Petro’s value is to be of 9,000 sovereign bolivars”, according to their central bank’s announcement. A previous investigative analysis in March 2019 attempted to discover the price of the Petro.

“This would mean one petro, supposedly backed by an oil barrel, would be worth $14.10. Looking at the exchange rate of Banco de Venezuela, a commercial bank acquired by the government for $1 billion back in 2009, one petro is currently worth roughly 38,200 sovereign bolivars, or about $59.85.”

However, the analysis admits that this price could be off since not only have oil prices and cryptocurrency prices been volatile, but the Venezuelan government uses its own bolivar to USD exchange rate, which varies from the rates used by the rest of the world and the black markets. Nevertheless, the PetroApp is a sign that Venezuelans can actually use the currency since it was previously unclear if there was even a functional Petro wallet.

Dash providing economic relief to Venezuelans

While the Petro lingers in uncertainty, Dash is providing a decentralized, peer-to-peer, alternative and independent money for Venezuelans, today. Dash Venezuela, Dash Text, and others have been campaigning to get more merchants to accept Dash and for more consumers to spend Dash. Thanks to the decentralized Dash network focusing on continuously improving security, usability, affordable transactions, and speedy transactions, there are currently around 2,500 merchants that accept Dash in the country, along with multiple remittance programs. Additionally, Dash Text has been using the attributes of Dash to design a distributed charity program to further directly benefit Venezuelans in need. These features help enable Venezuelans the ability to spend/save Dash and achieve financial stability, independence, and affordability without having to rely on government-backed money.


*Translations of some quotes conducted via Google Translate