El Petro allegedly raises $735 mln on first day of pre-sale

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"We are in the technological and economic vanguard to overcome the speculation of global currencies that affect the lives of Venezuelans". Vargas said that the government expects to draw investment from investors in Qatar, Turkey, Europe, and the United States.

The petro cryptocurrency is tied to the price of one barrel of Venezuelan oil.

Venezuela's opposition said it will not participate in "fraudulent and illegitimate" presidential elections scheduled to take place on April 22.

Now the real challenge for the financially-struggling country begins - finding more investors willing to put their money in a country plagued by economic and political issues. Switzerland's financial watchdog said on Wednesday it is looking into several Swiss banks' actions amid a $1 billion graft probe involving state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela.

"The Petro will most likely suffer all of the same ills as Venezuelan debt", said David Smilde, a sociology professor at Tulane University, an expert on Venezuela's economic conditions. USA senators have also raised concerns that the cryptocurrency could be used to avoid sanctions. The cost of all 100 million tokens would be slightly over 6 billion Dollars, according to data provided by Nicolas Maduro in recent months, although no new price information was provided.

Despite being previously disclosed in a whitepaper provided by the government, the petro will not be a token on the Ethereum network.

Meanwhile, blockchain experts have also warned that the petro cryptocurrency may not attract investments as significant as expected by the government, which hasn't shared details about who invested in the petro pre-sale.

During the presale, 82.4 million tokens were supposed to be offered.

It's the claim that USA investors are among the Petro buyers that is raising eyebrows. A USA federal indictment this month accused five former Venezuelan officials of soliciting bribes to help vendors win favorable treatment from Petroleos de Venezuela and then stashing the money in banks, including in Switzerland. This was stated by the President of this South American country, Nicolas Maduro, reports Reuters.

When the U.S. Treasury department saw that Maduro was hell bent on issuing the crypto, it sent a strong warning to U.S. investors to steer clear of it. They block US banks and investors from acquiring newly issued Venezuelan debt, effectively preventing the nation from borrowing overseas to bring in new hard currency or refinance existing debt. As the bolívar, the fiat currency of Venezuela, has failed, the government will accept the Petro as payment for things like national taxes and public services. Because of that, it could expose US citizens to legal risks. The national currency - the Bolivar - continues to depreciate rapidly. "The largest and most important companies and blockchain in the world are with Venezuela, we are going to sign agreements".

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