The government of Venezuela claims it has held an international blockchain technology and cryptocurrency consultancy seminar in Caracas, with overseas experts attending to give their take on the state-backed Petro cryptocurrency.
State media outlet Telesur and government tweets claimed that experts from China, Russia, Luxembourg, Spain and Mexico were in attendance. The president’s office quotes Lluís Mas Luque, head of the Spanish Blockchain Institute & Technology, which has branches in Barcelona and Madrid, as stating that the Petro “represents a triumph over” conventional financial systems.
Mas Luque and others were taken on a tour of the government’s Petro “headquarters,” with the Spaniard quoted as saying he was “surprised by the scale of the power of the project.”
The Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro tweeted:
Experts from the world see Petro as an innovative project that will open the doors to economic development. I share the impressions of Lluís Mas Luque, General Director of Blockchain and participant in the International Meeting of Criptoactives. […] https://t.co/yBz4Vj6ZeP
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) November 18, 2018
Although much of the world has refused to do business in the Petro – with United States president Donald Trump placing a series of prohibitive sanctions on parties trading in the oil-backed token – Caracas claims it has the backing of political and business leaders in Colombia, Brazil, Japan, China, Palestine, Spain and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines.
The president’s offices claimed other speakers at the event included Sri Lanka-based Crypto Genesis managing partner Nilhan de Mel and Spanish peer-to-peer energy market platform Shasta founder Alex Sicart Ramos.
The event organizers claimed attendees were allowed to buy Petro-themed merchandise using Petro tokens, and even pay for admission at a Petro-accepting ticket office.
The Petro has often been called Venezuela’s latest attempt to circumvent international sanctions which plunged the country into an economic crisis. Aso, the country’s officials have previously announced their intent to use petro to build “villas for the homeless.” Meanwhile, the coin itself has been deemed a scam by various rating sites.
Venezuela’s crypto-drive appears to be continuing apace, with department store Traki, dubbed by some as the Walmart of Venezuela, recently announcing that it will accept payment in a wide range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dash.
The store has around 50 branches around the country, and sells items like groceries, clothing and home appliances.