From the moment Venezuela announced its own state-backed digital currency, the petro has remained one of crypto’s biggest riddles, wrapped in a mystery, inside a socialist enigma. And while the government’s new website swears “the petro is a reality,” recent events have done little to change the perception that it isn’t.
Last week, President Nicolás Maduro’s government announced—for at least the third time—that the petro cryptocurrency would be open for business. For nearly a year, Maduro has positioned the petro as a means to escape both economic inflation and U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies, such as Dash, have continued to gain popularity among Venezuelans in search of relief from the ever-devaluing bolivar.
But despite the parade of government officials holding “proof of purchase” certificates before state-media cameras, the petro wallet disappeared from the Google app store over the weekend, leading skeptical observers to wonder—once again—just how real the petro actually is.
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