According to Time Magazine, Venezuela’s oil backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, was a result of a joint collaboration between the Venezuelan and Russian government officials, with Putin’s personal approval.
Citing an unnamed source privy to the half-hidden joint venture details between the two government officials, Time Magazine reports that the venture received the backing of President Putin, who signed off on his government helping Venezuela to launch the globe’s first state-backed cryptocurrency.
The Petro was launched by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in December as a payment instrument that will help the country circumvent international economic sanctions and a blockade which has been instituted by the United States. President Maduro has since opened the Petro to the public after a successful pre-sale of the initial tokens.
The Venezuelan Experiment
The Time Magazine report states that the Russian government has been keen on coming up with measures to undermine the US-led sanctions in their own country, and saw an opportunity to launch an experiment with Venezuela, which is also facing similar predicaments.
One of the proposals to beating the US sanctions was the creation of a digital version of the Ruble, which would mimic the Bitcoin. However, the Russian Central Bank has opposed this idea, saying it could destabilize the Russian fiat currency. So, rather than putting the Ruble at risk, Russia seemingly approached Venezuela to run the experiment.
Venezuela has nothing to lose. For them it’s the only chance,
-Times Magazine quotes the anonymous source.
The job of arranging the details of the experiment was given to two Russian billionaires, Druzhkov and Bogorodskiy, who met with the Venezuelan President in February this year to fine-tune the agreement. Indeed, during the launch of the Petro on 20th February, Bogorodskiy gave a short speech in Russian, congratulating President Maduro for taking a very risky but timely move.
Times Magazine has since established that the two Russians were Maduro’s advisers on the Petro, and have major ties to Russian banks and billionaires who are close to the Kremlin. During the launch of the Petro, President Maduro thanked the two Russians for helping him fight against the US imperialism.
Time Magazine also reveals that the two signed lucrative contracts with the Russian government to help in development of the Petro. The magazine reports.
Denis Druzhkov is the CEO of a company called Zeus Trading, was fined $31,000 and barred from trading for three years by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for fraudulent trading in futures’ contracts while Fedor Bogorodskiy lives in Uruguay and was described by the government as director of a company called Aerotrading,
The Russian and the Venezuelan governments didn’t respond to Time’s Magazine requests for comment on the matter, with the Russian finance minister insisting that no Russian authority was involved in the development of the Petro.
The revelations come hours after the US President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning American citizens and residents from trading in or acquiring the Petro.
Do you think Russia is behind the development of the Petro to undermine the US-led economic sanctions against Venezuela? Share your views in the comments section.