Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced that preliminary sales of Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro have already reached $735 million, Reuters reported.
A grandes problemas, ¡grandes soluciones! Desde el primer minuto el juego arrancó bien, y arrancamos ganando: 4.777 millones de yuanes o 735 millones de dólares es el resultado inicial de las operaciones de intención de compra del Petro. #AlFuturoConElPetro pic.twitter.com/LoaDgj4rr1— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) February 21, 2018
Maduro did not give details about the initial investors and there was no evidence presented for his figure.
On February 20, Venezuela formally launched Petro, becoming the first country with its own oil-backed cryptocurrency.
"Today, a cryptocurrency is being born that can take on Superman," said Maduro, using the comic character to refer to the United States, as he was flanked by mining rigs in a state television address.
The President said that tourism, some gasoline sales and some oil transactions could be made in Petro.
“We have taken a giant step into the 21st Century,” Maduro said in a nationally broadcast show. “We are on the world’s technological vanguard.”
Maduro is hoping the Petro will allow the ailing OPEC member to skirt U.S. sanctions as the bolivar currency plunges to record lows and it struggles with hyperinflation and a collapsing socialist economy.
Venezuelan Cryptocurrency Superintendent Carlos Vargas said earlier this week that the government was expecting to draw investment from Turkey, Qatar, the United States and Europe.