On Tuesday, Venezuela completed the first phase in launching the first ever state-issued and oil-backed cryptocurrency, called the Petro—and it got weird. A Petro token was released in a pre-sale stage using a different technology than was stated in the white paper.
This change was effectively announced without fanfare in a Petro buyer’s manual that the Venezuelan government released on Tuesday. The Petro white paper—an important document that lays out the technical foundations of a cryptocurrency—initially stated that the Petro token would exist on the Ethereum blockchain and be coded as a smart contract, but it was actually released as an asset on NEM.
This opened the door for scammers to try and cash in on the confusion. NEM, short for New Economy Movement, is a blockchain that’s been around since 2015 and is secured by a more egalitarian (compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum) “proof-of-importance” algorithm that selects miners based on how much NEM they have rather than how much capital they own in terms of computers and money to pay for electricity.
This potentially makes it more in line ideologically with Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro, but when NEM’s official Twitter account confirmed that the Petro token is on its blockchain, it also noted that the NEM Foundation does not make political endorsements. “The NEM Foundation is not involved with this project and we’re not in a position to control any open source projects,” NEM Foundation spokesperson Alex Tinsman wrote Motherboard in an email.
“The NEM Foundation has a clear purpose to introduce, educate, and promote the use of the NEM blockchain technology platform on an international scale to all industries and institutions. Really, it doesn’t take much to learn how to use NEM’s tech. Read more from motherboard.vice.com…
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