In the last few years, the Venezuelan government has been very aggressive in the promotion of the Petro, their national digital currency. It is the only accepted currency for acquiring a Venezuelan passport, was given as a bonus to public workers at the end of 2019 and was airdropped to approximately 6 million people around the same time. This has been in a bid to combat the growing inflation and economic problems as well as combat the economic sanctions that have been placed upon them by the United States of America. While many countries are embracing central bank-issued tokens for innovation, Venezuela seems to be in a more dire situation.
Now, it has been reported that Venezuelans are turning to the online platform LocalBitcoins, to sell off their Petro tokens at a rate that is half of what the government’s provided value is.
According to reports, the government airdropped Petro tokens to about 6 million people late last year and this was to allow them to purchase goods using the official mobile app. However, the app was shut down after crowds rushed to the few places that accepted the Petro and this further worsened the situation. In a bid to earn some form of currency, people have now been turned into platforms such as LocalBitcoins to sell off their Petro. The Petro is designated as $60 per token in value by the Venezuelan government but on LocalBitcoins, its market value is less than half of that.
According to a buyer who operates on LocalBitcoins, the official price of the Petro is significantly higher than what is being offered on the platform. On top of this, there is a lot of pressure on sellers after the AirDrop and as such, he is unable to complete a full cycle of buying and selling of Petro which puts Venezuelans in a tight corner.
“The majority want to sell it because of an airdrop, where 8 million people want Bolivars because the Bolivar makes it easier to purchase things,” he said.