Yuri Molchan

Nicolas Maduro Forces Petro’s Rate to Soar Triple, Petro Wallet Still Banned by Google

Venezuelan crypto coin Petro has artificially gotten its price increased on President Maduro’s orders, but the promised native crypto wallet is forbidden by Google
Nicolas Maduro Forces Petro’s Rate to Soar Triple, Petro Wallet Still Banned by Google
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The announcement made by the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has made it clear that as of Friday last week, the local controversial crypto coin Petro has gained almost triple from the previous price of 3,600 sovereign bolivars to 9,000.

Hyperinflation goes on and on

The sudden rise was announced simultaneously with the increase of salaries in the country, which rose 150 percent as a response to the harsh inflation that has been negatively impacting the country’s economy. At one time this year, it reportedly reached nearly 30,000 percent.

Back in late summer, Maduro publicly set the Petro’s rate linked to the country’s major currency sovereign bolivar at the price of 3,600 bolivar per 1 Petro coin.

Local experts quietly object

Economists in Venezuela have shown a negative response to this move. The Petro initially was supposed to be backed by the local oil prices. However, the rise to 9,000 bolivars will make the bolivar lose its value totally, they reckon.

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Experts believe that the Petro does not deserve to be called a crypto coin officially, since its price is set artificially by Maduro’s orders, not by market forces. Besides, they point out that since the Petro cannot be mined, it makes the currency even farther from being crypto, as well as the fact that there is no correlation between demand and supply.

Trouble with the Petro wallet

On top of this situation, Google has shut down the sales of the Petro wallet app by kicking it out of Google Play. Besides, the versions of the app for Windows and Linux have not been made available yet. When one attempts to download them, one only sees a message warning that in the near future the versions of the wallet will be available.

The code for the coin is nowhere to be found either, so there is no chance its functionality can be checked and verified by experts.

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🤷 Opinions Cyril Gilson

NEM, Dash and Petro in Venezuela: Head of NEM Latam Explains

Opinions
“We can confirm that the Venezuelan government is intending to use the NEM Blockchain”:Pedro Gutierrez
NEM, Dash and Petro in Venezuela: Head of NEM Latam Explains
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Is the Venezuelan government using the NEM platform for its oil-pegged Petro cryptocurrency? Head of NEM Latin America Pedro Gutierrez answers the question in a first-hand exclusive interview.

It’s been reported that the controversial Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro was officially released as an asset on NEM’s Blockchain rather than on Ethereum’s Blockchain, with the total supply capped at 100 mln Petro.

Pedro Gutierrez answers and explains why the NEM platform, its competition with Ethereum and specifics of doing business in one of the most promising regions on Earth.

We asked Pedro Gutierrez about NEM’s involvement with the Venezuelan government and the platform’s perspectives in Latin America and globally. As the Latam leader of NEM.IO foundation, Gutierrez sees his major task in s publicizing Blockchain technology and NEM in industry, commerce, education institutions and government in Latin America and Spain.

Cyril Gilson: Is the NEM platform used for the oil-pegged Petro cryptocurrency?

Pedro Gutierrez: We can confirm that the Venezuelan government is intending to use the NEM Blockchain. We can’t comment on how it works as it’s not a project we’re actively involved with. The NEM technology is freely open to any individual or organization that wants to use it. The NEM Foundation abstains from political endorsements.

CG: Have the NEM developers been involved in developing the Petro?

PG: No, our developers are not involved with this project. NEM’s technology is easy to use and to build applications upon while having a near perfect record for being secure. A person reasonably skilled can work on the NEM platform within a day.

It does not take much to learn how to use NEM’s technology. So it is therefore easy to imagine why the Venezuelan government wants to implement using NEM technology.

NEM in Venezuela

CG:  How big is the NEM community in Venezuela?

PG: The NEM community in Venezuela is growing steadily. We have raised significant interest in the academic and business sector. NEM is the best technology to make this happen because our platform is plug n play for business- making it the easiest and safest Blockchain network for enterprises and developers.

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CG:  When the story of NEM started in Venezuela and what are the major achievements?

PG:  NEM started in 2014 and its tech is widely adopted by hundreds of companies all over the world because the platform is so easy to use. A huge portion of global industries such as the financial sector, insurance, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, supply chain management and the entertainment industry sectors need a cost-efficient way to manage and authenticate data in an immutable and secure way. There’s no question that these companies will play a vital role in incorporating Blockchain technology in the next few years.

Venezuela is an attractive region for NEM to expand into. NEM has hubs in Malaysia, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. All of the NEM hubs are key to expanding visibility and opportunities where the NEM team can engage with the public, do training on our platform, and support startups who are interested in Blockchain.

In May, we opened an embassy in Venezuela and this is critical to providing Venezuelans with quality resources and training for developers getting into blockchain. We are hopeful that adding Blockchain services to the list of Venezuela industries can help the economy and people. In addition to this, we hold meetups to help educate the Blockchain community on the benefits of building on NEM’s ecosystem.

CG:  Are other Latam governments considering something similar?

PG: NEM is an open-source platform so any government, individual or company can build on NEM. At this time, I’m not aware of other LATAM governments building on the NEM Blockchain.

CG: What advantages and disadvantages of the Petro do you see?

PG: I don’t have a comment on this. I’m working on other projects, though, that I’m happy to talk about. We have some projects that at the moment we can not announce since we have signed NDAs, but I can tell you that they are in the financial sector, in Mexico and Colombia. We are also working on projects of agricultural traceability, electricity for rural areas among others that we will announce very soon.

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Dash and NEM

CG: Is there a competition between Dash and NEM in Venezuela?

PG: Dash is one of the most innovative and interesting Bitcoin forks, but NEM does not compete with Dash since Dash is a transactional platform and NEM is a platform of Blockchain Services. So we are not in competition with Dash because the two platforms are designed for different purposes. We have a good relationship with the DASH team and are supporters of their community, in several countries of LATAM, we have participated in events together.

What’s next

CG:  What's next for NEM in LATAM?

PG:  Education and training are critical to helping ensure the future of Venezuela to remain competitive and thrive. NEM is supporting LATAM by building Blockchain hubs, offering training to developers at all levels, partnering with companies in all industries, and building a strong community to help keep the NEM ecosystem healthy.

One way that we do this is through the $70 mln NEM Community Fund. The NEM Community Fund promotes the development of the NEM ecosystem by having the NEM community vote on funding NEM startup companies.

It’s an alternative to doing an ICO and something that could be beneficial to many people in LATAM.

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Darryn Pollock

North Korean Mining Exploits Just One Way For Countries to Profit and Grow

North Korea has reportedly been tapping into the power of cryptocurrency mining to help boost its self, but that’s not the only way crypto is coming to the rescue
North Korean Mining Exploits Just One Way For Countries to Profit and Grow
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While it was probably the worst kept secret, it has emerged through a South Korean report that its neighbor from the North has been mining cryptocurrency. It is also unsurprising as the decentralized and amoral nature of cryptocurrency means that it is available to all to use how they please.

It has also seen the likes of Iran and Venezuela develop their own cryptocurrencies in order to bypass sanctions installed on them by world leaders, the US. Some will be very skeptical and against the likes of these so-called rogue nations getting a foot up by cryptocurrencies, but it is true libertarianism in action.

The global make up has been built and fashioned around a strong Western Core with the likes of NATO and the UN dictating the way in which things should be done, however, cryptocurrencies do not adhere to the societal norms and cannot be controlled or used for one agenda or the next.

It opens up a huge philosophical debate, but before right and wrong can be answered for, it must also be remembered that these cryptocurrencies are also helping the poor and downtrodden when their so-called sovereign governments have let them down, such as in Zimbabwe and again in Venezuela.

Mining more money

The emerging crypto ecosystem that is sweeping globally, while remaining anonymous has created a perfect market for a country like North Korea to create money out of nothing more than electricity.

The cryptocurrency mining space has evolved from individuals with GPUs to major mining pools and companies, such as Bitmain. But, North Korea has proven that on a state level, there is an opportunity for governments to also profit- especially seeing as they run the electricity.

This creation of cryptocurrencies means that the North Koreans have an asset that is in demand that they can sell while remaining anonymous. This leaves any sort of sanctions or halts on the markets out in the cold and allows the country to be semi-self-sufficient.

The uses of its earnings may be up for debate, and the morality questioned. But much like Bitcoin cannot be blamed for drug buying, neither can it be blamed for aiding North Korea to accumulate wealth.

Breaking the western hegemony

It has also been reported and discussed how Iran and Venezuela are using their own cryptocurrencies to bypass sanctions implemented by the US. Again, there may be questions of morality and righteousness in this, but those same questions can be posed of the US and their rights to cripple access to the global economy.

There has been long political debates and philosophizing about the way in which the global system has been constructed by the West and how it hampers the growth of other nations that do not follow those norms. Cryptocurrencies at least give a tool that governments can use, that are uncontrollable, to help prop themselves up.

A chance for good

Again, the moral debate could rage forever, but what can not be debated is the other side of things cryptocurrencies can open up in dire situations. Cryptocurrencies always had the moniker of being a tool of the people, and in places where the people have been let down by traditional economies and policies, a burgeoning cryptocurrency market usually springs up.

In Zimbabwe, people have been forced to adopt the US Dollar as their currency has degraded to nothing, but even getting hold of the US Dollar is difficult and puts the country in the pocket of the West again.

However, the African nation, with the help of coins like Dash, are building a functioning digital economy which is helping the people to survive.

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🤷 Opinions Joseph Young

Why National Cryptocurrencies Like Venezuelan Petro are Doomed to Fail

Opinions
The intended obfuscation of its token sale and the entire structure of Petro by the Venezuelan government demonstrate a poor future for the cryptocurrency
Why National Cryptocurrencies Like Venezuelan Petro are Doomed to Fail
Contents

This month, the Venezuelan government led by President Nicolás Maduro unravelled the Venezuelan Petro, a state-issued cryptocurrency backed by the country’s oil reserves. The launch of the Venezuelan Petro was met with a fair volume of criticism.

On February 25, Ari Paul, the chief information officer of BlockTower Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund founded by a former Goldman Sachs vice president, stated that a small portion of the global cryptocurrency market is still not aware of the fundamental and structural difference between government-issued cryptocurrencies like the Venezuelan Petro, and public blockchain networks like bitcoin and Ethereum.

Crypto fiat vs. public crypto

“Venezuela, Iran, Russia, and China are the countries that indicated they're planning on launching crypto fiat soon. I fear the rise of a narrative not of crypto being used by drug dealers, but by totalitarians. You and I know crypto fiat [is not equivalent to] public crypto, but not everyone gets that,” said Paul.

“Sure, US dollar hegemony will collapse within the decade I think. But crypto fiat is an Orwellian nightmare in the hands of any state, especially the more totalitarian ones.”

Cryptocurrencies based on public blockchain networks like bitcoin and Ethereum are secure, decentralized, and robust due to their computing power, open-source development communities, and centralized entities. None of the leading public blockchain networks in the market have a single point of failure, which hackers can target to bring down the distributed network and attack the cryptocurrency.

Last week, multi-signature blockchain security company BitGo lead engineer Jameson Lopp noted that while centralized financial systems provided by banks and financial institutions closed down during the holidays, bitcoin processed more than $1 billion on a single day, and over $7 billion worth of bitcoin was traded.

The Bitcoin network has been functional for

99.992194468%

0f the time since its inception on Jan 3 2009 02:54:25 GMT

Manipulating cryptocurrencies

If a centralized entity has full control over a cryptocurrency, it has the authority and the capability of altering its monetary supply, manipulating its transaction flow, and revoking payments settled on a ledger, unless the blockchain network is made public and operated by a transparent community of developers.

For instance, in the cryptocurrency market, there exists many blockchain projects developed and managed by companies, like Ripple, Zcash, Cardano, and EOS that are valued at many billions of dollars. But, the development of these projects are transparently shared on code repositories like GitHub, and anyone can contribute to their codebases. A commercial company can lead the development of the blockchain project, but it has no control over its activities, like transaction settlement and monetary supply.

With the Venezuelan Petro, many issues regarding the monetary supply and a single point of failure could emerge. One major issue is, auditing the ratio of the Venezuelan Petro to the actual oil reserves of the country, to ensure that the government is not inflating the supply of Petro by falsely demonstrating the reserves of the country’s oil.

Uncertainty

The Venezuelan Petro’s initial coin offering (ICO) or token sale raised more than $1 billion in a short period of time. But, Matt Levine of Bloomberg emphasized that the Venezuelan Petro’s success is not expected to help the country deal with its massive debt. More importantly, there still exists confusion on the legitimacy of the country’s oil reserves and in what way Petro is pegged to the reserves.

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela guarantees that it will accept Petro’s as a form of payment of national taxes, fees, contributions and public services, taking as a reference the price of the barrel of the Venezuelan basket of the previous day with a percentage discount of Dv,” read the original whitepaper of Petro, which failed to even mention that Petro represents ownership of the country’s oil reserves.

The intended obfuscation of its token sale and the entire structure of Petro by the Venezuelan government demonstrate a poor future for the cryptocurrency, especially considering that investors still do not know if the Venezuelan Petro is an ERC 20 token on Ethereum or a blockchain of its own.

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Darryn Pollock

Can State-Backed Cryptocurrencies Work, Are They the Answer?

Some regulators are going as far as to make their own cryptocurrencies, is this a viable option?
Can State-Backed Cryptocurrencies Work, Are They the Answer?
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When Russia firstly banned access to cryptocurrency exchanges and then announced that they would be launching a state-backed cryptocurrency called the Crypto Rubel, most were very suspicious and dubious.

But the trend is growing. Venezuela is ahead in the race of these state-backed coins, having launched a pre-sale of the Petro, an oil-pegged cryptocurrency launched by the government.

Now, even the Turkish government is mulling over perhaps building their own state-backed cryptocurrency as a way to maintain regulation and control over the burgeoning Blockchain and crypto space.

However, is this not an oxymoronic term, a state-backed’ and therefore centralized, cryptocurrency. One of the biggest appeals of cryptocurrencies is that they are decentralized and absent from control, but perhaps to fit in, this needs to change?

The issue with decentralization and centralization

Decentralization, when Bitcoin was still being discussed on cryptography forums with hushed anarchistic and liberal tones, was the shining light of possibility for the cryptocurrency. Financial freedom and the power to cut loose from the monopoly that had been built by central banks and governments.

It is also one of the major factors as to why those same banks and governments have feared Bitcoin, knowing that it has the potential to be a true competitor. However, it must be stated, that there is still a long way to go for Bitcoin or any other coin, to make banks and fiat currency obsolete.

However, cryptocurrencies have emerged from the shadows somewhat in recent times, gaining a huge amount of momentum and mainstream appeal. This has lead to regulators being forced to act and to do their job.

Some regulators are going with a hard-line approach, such as China with its blanket bans, others are curious but want it to fit into current legislation, which is problematic as a decentralized platform is hard to control. But overall, most regulators and nations want to encourage cryptocurrencies and especially Blockchain.

State-backed

In light of this keenness to see Blockchain thrive it is understandable why governments believe that a state-backed coin can be the answer. They are happy to see Blockchain thrive, and as such, cryptocurrencies, and also believe that they can regulate to their standards if they are the ones in charge of the new cryptocurrency.

However, it is good in theory but possibly won’t work. Already, the Petro is getting a lot of pushback and criticism, and now, the Russian Crypto Rubel is being touted as a potential non-starter.

The creation of a centralized coin, like the CryptoRuble, seems impossible, as cryptocurrencies are based on decentralized ledgers, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told President Putin, according to Russian media.  

Hard to get buy in

Regardless of the need for a balance between the crypto community, which is after decentralization, and the regulators, who need control, the idea of a state-backed coin, a centralized one, is a little too weighted to the regulators.

What is more needed is a positive regulatory body that maintains decentralization, but also holds cryptocurrencies under the legislative blanket of the country

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