The Venezuelan government is entering the cryptocurrency space, and the country claims it has already made a splash with its digital currency, called the petro. The government claimed that the pre-sale of the petro drew in $735 million in investments on the first day.
The government also issued a buyer's manual and indicated that investors are able to purchase petros using both "hard currencies and cryptocurrencies, but not bolivars, according to Bitcoin.com.
Pre-Sale Began February 20
The petro pre-sale was scheduled to begin at 4:00 a.m. UTC on February 20 and was set to take place as a private sale, according to the cryptocurrency whitepaper. However, several hours before the official start time, the Venezuelan government announced that the pre-sale had already started, releasing a buyer's manual at the same time, along with an anti-money laundering compliance document.
During the pre-sale, 82.4 million petro tokens will be made available to investors around the world. According to Venezuela's vice president, Tareck El Aissami, "the petro cryptocurrency tokens can be purchased by Venezuelan nationals as well as other foreign nationals."
At the same time, though, the country's Superintendent of Cryptocurrencies, Carlos Vargas, suggested that sales would not be made in bolivars, as the government's responsibility was "to put [the petro] in the best hands" in order to facilitate the creation of a secondary market.
$735 Million In Spite of Glitches?
According to the petro cryptocurrency website, "the only thing needed for the petro is to open a digital petro wallet. Once opened, your wallet will generate an email address that you can share with anyone who wants to transfer PTR to your wallet."
Although the buyer's manual lists ways in which the Venezuelan government aims to protect petro investors against hacking and theft, analysts outside of the country are suspicious, particularly in light of recent high-profile hacks in Japan. (See also: Coincheck May Have Suffered The Worst Hack In Cryptocurrency History.)
Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns cryptocurrencies.