VENEZUELA: 2 CRYPTO PRESIDENTS AT WAR
Maduro vs. Guaido
We published two articles last year on the Venezuelan crypto situation. President Nicolas Maduro first mentioned the idea of a Venezuelan cryptocurrency backed by oil at the end of 2017. In January 2018, the first 100 million coins of Petro were ordered. Maduro took over presidency when Hugo Chavez, who was in power since 1999, died in 2013. According to data published in the Guardian, Chavez managed to cut unemployment from 14.5 percent to 7.6 percent, double the GDP, and reduce extreme poverty by almost 60 percent in 10 years. That’s where Maduro had to take over. By the end of 2013, the country’s inflation rate went up from 21 percent (in 2012) to 43.5 percent. And the years following 2013 did not bring any improvement. That’s when Maduro came up with his plan to launch the country’s cryptocurrency.
As Cointelegraph expands on it: „… the oil-rich country was reportedly going to present the Petro to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2019, as a unit of account. Maduro even offered the Petro to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Nonetheless, Moscow, which had always been supportive of Venezuela’s domestic policies both by diplomacy and investments, refused to accept the Petro as a unit of account.”
Maduro remained optimistic but experts were rather pessimistic. Reuter's report states that Petro was not traded on any major crypto exchanges, and there were serious doubts that Petro was actually backed by oil.
By the end of last year, Petro was still not launched on any exchanges, and Venezuela’s allies didn’t accept it, either as a unit of account.
According to the Venezuelan opposition, by 2018, Venezuela had ended up being in the „top 3” countries with the highest inflation in history.
On January 10, the crypto enthusiast Maduro was sworn in for his second term. However, at the same time, Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition, proclaimed himself the Venezuelan president, too. He immediately received U.S. President Trump’s support and many other countries, too, among them Canada, Mexico and almost all Latin American countries and the United Kingdom. While Russia and China accuse Guaido of an attempted coup.
The 35-year-old Guaido is a crypto enthusiast himself, too. Many articles mention his tweet dating back to the dawn of the crypto era, in which he promotes Bitcoin.
So, while the country’s population is divided from the point of view of which president they support, there is only one stable thing at the moment: whoever takes the presidency, Venezuela will be led by a crypto supporting president.