Introducing ‘petro’ – A new oil-backed cryptocurrency being launched by Venezuela

In a daring attempt to boost Venezuela’s economy, the country’s president Nicolas Maduro has announced the introduction of a new cryptocurrency which will be backed-up by Venezuela’s oil reserves.

The currency, which is imaginatively called ‘petro’, was announced by the left-leaning leader on Sunday with an emphatic statement of “the 21st century has arrived.”

Critics may point to the lack of specifics in regard to how this cryptocurrency will function, but nonetheless, President Maduro was adamant that it will be a success during this televised statement.

During the broadcast, he added that “Venezuela will create a cryptocurrency” which will be backed by their natural reserves of oil, gas, gold and diamonds.

The president also referred to the US-led sanctions currently in place and how petro will help his country “make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.”

The announcement wasn’t met with universal acclaim however, with political opposition stating that such an act will have to overcome copious amounts of red tape before it becomes official.

oil gas
The “petro,” a cryptocurrency backed by oil, gas, gold, and diamond reserves.

This move further indicates that the sanctions towards Maduro’s government that were put in place by Pres. Trump’s administration earlier this year are hurting Venezuela’s economy. Those moves from the USA include sanctions on officials from the country, PDVSA executives and Venezuela’s debt issuance.

The bolivar, which is the current currency in the country, is at a weak point and the country is struggling to move money through international banks.

Optimism regarding President Maduro’s move has been muted, for many reasons, including his poor economic record.

The bolivar has been on a constant slide as of late, with government controls and the over printing of currency leading to a depreciation rate against the dollar of almost 60 per cent during the last month.

Poverty stricken natives aren’t overly positive about this announcement either, as many think that Maduro’s decisions are creating a complete economic bust.

Economist and opposition lawmaker Angel Alvarado told Reuters that his opinion of the president does not amount to much, adding: “It’s Maduro being a clown. This has no credibility.”

Fellow opposition lawmaker Jose Guerra added to the dissenting voices, telling Reuters that he can’t envisage any future for the cryptocurrency.

However, President Maduro has stated that he is trying his utmost to fight for his country in a monetary “war”.

The recent surge in other digital currency’s value (especially Bitcoin) have without a doubt influenced Maduro’s decision to make this move. Relations between Venezuela and the USA will most likely to continue to be tense, as Maduro looks for alternatives to boost his country’s economy.

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ARK CryptoCurrency unveils new Testnet with mobile and desktop clients.

Ark CryptoCurrency unveils their public Testnet along with both mobile and desktop clients – setting another first in the industry, after already releasing the ARK code to github, all while their TEC (Token Exchange Campaign) is still running.

The ARK Crew, the development team behind the ARK Ecosystem, has announced the release of their first publically available test network. The ARK testnet will be an alpha release featuring custom, open source mobile and desktop clients, as well as many updates to the core voting mechanism and network technology behind their dpos algorithm.

Read more: http://www.pressat.co.uk/releases/ark-cryptocurrency-unveils-new-testnet-with-mobile-and-desktop-clients-1b3460a6389966f59731aed27c51185c/

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DEA Agents in Silk Road Case Face Fraud Charges

Two former federal agents are expected to be arrested on Monday on charges of stealing money while working undercover on an investigation into Silk Road, the once-thriving black market website for drug dealing, a document shows.

The former agents are Carl Mark Force IV, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun Bridges, who worked for the Secret Service.

Mr. Force is being charged with wire fraud, theft of government property and money laundering, and Mr. Bridges is being charged with wire fraud and money laundering, according to an affidavit filed in the United States District Court in San Francisco.

The charges stem from their roles in an undercover operation that led to charges in the Silk Road investigation and the shutting down of the website.

Mr. Force, while investigating Silk Road, “stole and converted to his own personal use a sizeable amount of bitcoins,” the digital currency that was used by buyers and sellers on the website, which he obtained in his undercover capacity, the government said.

“Rather than turning those bitcoin over to the government, Force deposited them into his own personal accounts,” the government said.

At the time charges were announced against Ross W. Ulbricht, the man behind the site, in October 2013 and the website was shut down, the authorities called Silk Road “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet.”

Several thousand drug dealers and other vendors used the site from January 2011 through October 2013 to sell hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs and other illicit goods to more than 100,000 buyers, according to a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Manhattan.

The website generated more than $213 million in revenue during that period, and Mr. Ulbricht, operating under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, took millions of dollars in commissions, the authorities charged.

Much of Silk Road’s allure to buyers and sellers was its anonymity: The website operated on a hidden part of the Internet, out of the glare of law enforcement, and deals were transacted in Bitcoins, a digital currency that can be as hard to trace as cash.

Mr. Ulbricht’s defense lawyer, Joshua L. Dratel, argued during the trial that his client was not Dread Pirate Roberts, a character drawn from the book and movie

“The Princess Bride.” Mr. Dratel conceded that Silk Road had been his client’s idea, but he Mr. Ulbricht had turned the website over to others before being lured back as a “fall guy” to be arrested.

Mr. Ulbricht was convicted on Feb. 4 of multiple counts; four of the charges, including distributing narcotics on the Internet and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, carry potential life sentences. The judge, Katherine B. Forrest, is scheduled to sentence Mr. Ulbricht on May 15.

At the trial, the government also accused Mr. Ulbricht of commissioning the murders of five people whom he saw as threats to his enterprise. Although the prosecutors say they found no evidence that anyone was harmed, they cited the murders-for-hire as evidence that Mr. Ulbricht was willing to use violence to protect his lucrative operation.

Source WSJ

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Bitcoin could be worth more than half a million dollars each

We spoke to Sime Bakic from Bitkonan, one of the rising Bitcoin startups tipped for success in 2014.

Although BitKonan is EU based, CEO, Sime Bakic, from the very beginning wanted to have product which will attract a client base from all over the world. That was main reason why BitKonan is USD and not EUR trading platform. However, since than some European countries made biggest progress in terms of regulation of crypto currencies and potential of EU clients is growing rapidly everyday. Of course, people from BitKonan, flexible as they are, decided to react quickly and to introduce SEPA transfers for their European clients and for us that was reason to organize an interview with BitKonan CEO, Mr Sime Bakic in their Croatian headquaters.

What prompted you to enter the world of Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a revolution. Bitcoin verification technology is two steps ahead of his time, and can be mapped to all segments of the business or those who need a certificate of authenticity. 
In this case it is Bitcoin, and tomorrow it may be something else. 
In any case, I see great potential for widespread use and I just couldn’t let such great things happen without me. So I gather a team of top experts from different fields (finance, programming, organisation) and we very seriously started the implementation of the project.

How did you come up with the idea to make BitKonan market?

Bitcoin markets are still very poorly developed and have not yet reached the level of a full range of functions which Bitcoin with its potential deserves. So we decided to use our experience and knowledge and to offer to the Bitcoin community a market that meets the demands of a professional trader who seeks swift execution, advanced functions (stop limit) and visibility. On BitKonan is also very easy to place an order (the key combination buy, sell) and this makes it accessible to any ordinary trader as well.

Bitcoin is very often linked to crime, what do you think about this general perception in public?

I think that’s nonsense. Everything can be linked to the crime.  Criminals use all currencies including Bitcoin. Bitcoin is not anonymous, as some may think, because all Bitcoin transactions are public and visible in the transaction chain.

What do you think about the future of Bitcoin?


Anything is possible. I think the Bitcoin protocol is a revolutionary technology that has a great future, although still belongs to an extremely risky investment. If enter in widespread use, Bitcoin could worth more than half a million dollars each. In the long term I think Litecoin could profile itself as a currency for the broad mass because of the rapid transaction processing and to become a serious alternative to Bitcoin. If we apply 2nd law of thermodynamics, the long-term value of Bitcoin and Litecion will be leveled out. Looking from this point of view it seems that Litecoin is currently better investment for long term investors and speculators. Now it seems impossible, but remember that only a year ago Bitcoin was worth a few dollars, and today about the 650 dollars, same thing could happen with Litecoin.
In any case Bitcoin protocol will leave a deep mark in history … you can bet on it!
We can be happy that we live in a time when Bitcoin occurred and that we are part of it.

What do you think about other crypto currencies? 
We are thinking to introduce shitcoin on the market…. Laugh.
No, I think the market will take what it needs, and that will probably be the LTC and BTC.
All alternative crypto currencies are copies of Bitcoin and Litecoin, so I do not see reason why they should enter in the widespread use.
However, I consider them positive to test various concepts and if some currency brings something ingeniously new and pass the test of the market it can easily take a leading role.

What are your plans for the future of BitKonan market? 


As you mentioned earlier, we are currently working on the implementation of new funding options. 
Except of basic Bitcoin, Litecoin trading options, we think about the introduction of more complex financial instruments, but for something like that we have to wait market to mature.

Of course if the negotiations with venture capital investors start to be more dynamic we can expect it soon… in any case it will be a challenging endeavor, which will require more engagement and resources.
To summarize, our aim is to offer a wide range of services, so that BitKonan take the lead role of Bitcoin industry.

 

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