Pre-sales of Venezuela’s El Petro cryptocurrency continue to increase after the initial coin offering (ICO) pre-sale smashed anticipated figures. As Sputnik reports, “87,200 users in total have requested the purchase of el petro, out of which 3,520 were enterprises, while 83,760 were individuals. Some of those numerous requests were from Australia, Germany, Belarus, Brazil, Cuba, Spain as well as the US, France, Saudi Arabia, etc”. In total, there have been over $1 billion in El Petro sales in its first 48 hours of its pre-sale ICO.
While El Petro’s pre-sales have been boosted by the fact that in often volatile cryptocurrency markets, a digital coin backed by the hard commodity of oil is a clear stabilising factor, the excitement surrounding El Petro goes beyond the fact that it has managed to combine the exciting world of cryptocurrencies with the more predicable commodities markets.
Traditionally, investment in the energy industry is typically the terrain of major investment firms or sovereign wealth funds, while individual investors or small conglomerates of investors can rarely get onto the oil ladder in any meaningful way. El Petro looks to change this, by offering a share in Venezuela’s vast oil reserves to individual small and medium sized investors from throughout the world and all at the push of a button.
El Petro is in this sense, not only a mobile investment, but could easily become a form of ordinary exchange that is more pervasive than older cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. In a world where oil is ‘good as gold’, having an oil backed currency could end up being a far more stable means of exchange for ordinary items than existing fiat currencies backed by increasingly unstable central banking systems.
Thus, when Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said,
“El Petro is the future of Venezuela and the world. This cryptocurrency is linked to the future of economy, production and finances in the region”,
Maduro was in fact speaking from a position not only of confidence, but from a position of a literal revolutionary whose progressive Bolivarian politics could ironically influence the global system of financial capitalism, by democratising the commodities market and bringing it directly to ordinary people, as never before.
While the US is trying to do anything it can to retard the progress of El Petro into wider global markets, it will be difficult for the wider world to say no to an easy to use currency that is backed on a solid and tangible commodity. Venezuela has already opened an international cryptocurrency training centre in Caracas that like all education and vocational training in the country, is free for all students.
While many on the ‘right-wing’ of the finance industry have written off Venezuela’s economic prospects due to its socialist government, in reality, by investing into cryptocurrencies, one is actually seeing a progressive hybrid model of individual entrepreneurialism combined with central investment in a nationalised oil industry, whose proceeds are invested back into public projects and national infrastructure.
This win-win model could prove not only history making, but also money making both for Venezuela and those in the wider world who embrace El Petro in the early stages of its availability. The new reality is that a country that many cynics have written off after suffering under US sanctions has found a way to not just resuscitate its economy, but create a new economic model for investors and consumers, all while retaining the essence of its Bolivarian socialist model.