At It Again

 Here’s our morning rundown before we head Down The Rabbit Hole and there really are no surprises. He’s at it again. Telesur reports that Maduro agrees to talks with the opposition in Mexico…however…there are three conditions.

 The US and EU must lift sanctions.

 All political sectors,upon sitting down, must recognize the validity and legitimacy of the government.

 All sectors must renounce violent plans including assassination and coups.

 The first two conditions are the only reason he’s participating at all. No one actually believes the Chavistas will allow free and fair elections so he would get two wins before sitting down at the table. The only person in the world that would allow that negotiating position is John Kerry who gave up everything to the Iranians and got nothing. The third condition is to foster a tacit admission that “they’re out to get me.”

 In keeping with condition number three, NewsAM reports that Maduro now says there have recently been not one but two plots to assassinate him.

 And in the “from the sublime to the ridiculous” category, Telesur reports that Maduro’s National Assembly has approved a new anti-corruption law. How many is that now? You do have to admire the nerve of these guys though. The most corrupt government in Venezuela’s history says it’s taking a firm stand against corruption!

 MercoPress reports that SEBIN (one part of the three headed monster of Maduro’s secret police) arrested opposition deputy (representative) Freddy Guevara on the usual Chavista charges,terrorism,treason,and disturbing the piece. I was surprised there was no report of weapons and cash found.Usually they find several grenades, a rifle,and what sounds like a lot of cash but it’s bolivares so it’s really just a few bucks. And while this was going on FAES (the second head of the three headed monster) raided the home of opposition leader Juan Guaido. What, no weapons or cash there either?

 The Week had an interesting piece about the message Maduro is sending to everyone in light of the protests in Cuba….don’t mess with me…I’ll arrest anybody … and everybody! He has however shown remarkable restraint with Juan Guaido. Remember, Leopoldo Lopez got 14 years for encouraging peaceful protests.

 The National Interest had a good article on the road to peace in Venezuela going through Havana although I’m not sure it’s news to anyone that follows Venezuela. For any negotiations to be successful the Cubans will have to be involved and their interests protected. (Chavismo could be called Fidelismo)

 Bloomberg reports that after more than one hundred years doing business in Venezuela Citi Bank is finally giving up and leaving the country. The only real surprise is they lasted this long enduring the Chavistas.

 How about a touch of good news for Venezuelans? Reuters says the US Treasury Department will allow LNG exports to Venezuela. Since 90% of Venezuelans cook with gas this should be a relief although why the Venezuelans can’t produce their own is another matter.

 And now back to “Tales From The Crypto” …..

 In their first white paper, the document containing the concept and goals of the project, el Petro was to be backed by their unmatched oil reserves (to get around that nasty credibility issue). Each Petro coin (they initially issued 100 million coins) would be backed by a barrel of oil and the price would be the same as said barrel, originally set at $60. Sounds good right? Sort of their version of when sovereign currencies still had the gold standard. Details to follow….?

 The usual suspects created quite a buzz. Supportive governments and individuals were quick to pose the question “Is this the way of the future?”,just as they had all rushed to claim “21st Century Bolivarian Socialism” as the way of the future and were now desperately reaching for something positive out of the debacle that was Chavismo. It wouldn’t take long for reality to set in although Maduro and his supporters would continue to hype it…to this day.

 Reality comes into play when real people have to invest real money in something. The crypto community had a lot of questions for Chavismo. The first was, what does backed by a barrel of oil mean? The answer will surprise absolutely nobody. Let’s say you had 100,000 Petros and wanted to sell them but there were no buyers. Could you send a tanker to Venezuela and pick up your 100,000 barrels of oil? Well,no. The barrels of oil backing el Petro were designated to come from a couple of blocks in an oilfield that had yet to be developed. It was,in effect, a glorified IOU.

 Well,uhh,OK. Let’s say I was still willing to buy some Petros. What blockchain technology is supporting el Petro? Originally the Petro was to use the Ethereum platform which was well known in the crypro community. It seems someone forgot to tell Ethereum. Then they said they would use the NEM platform. NEM wasn’t at the top of the list like Ethereum but they did exist. Well, NEM didn’t get the memo.As the first of several “official launch” dates approached the Chavistas announced the creation of their own platform that would support el Petro.Funny thing is, when you went to their website for some details about their platform it looked like someone just copied and pasted details of the Dash cryptocurrency platform.Hmmm… If you wanted to actually use the platform you could go to “the manual”to find out how to buy PTR, the symbol for el Petro. The only problem is the manual was only a cover page that said “Manual”. Hmmm….

 What about ratings agencies or organizations? Maybe they can shed some light on this if I’m still undaunted in my quest to own PTR? I mean,after all, the government has announced in their “pre-sale” that they sold $375 million. No wait… they upped that to 3.3 billion. No wait, it’s actually 5 billion. I don’t want to let an opportunity pass me by do I? (ever hear of FOMO… fear of missing out?) It turns out that none of the above claims could be verified as sales…shocker! The top four crypto ratings organizations said it was a scam while the others simply refused to issue a rating. The Washington Post did,however, have something to say. “The Petro might be the most obviously horrible investment ever.” It’s also telling that the Chavistas wouldn’t accept their own currency for purchase of PTR although they would modify that stance after Maduro announced his overhaul of the economy and the introduction of the “Sovereign Bolivar”.

 Despite these inconsistencies Maduro dispatched his minions around the globe to get some buyers for PTR (el Petro). I guess having been rejected on his last couple of jaunts around the world he decided to send emissaries. He offered a 35% discount to anyone that would support the glorious “Bolivarian Revolution”. There were many reports of much more substantial discounts offered but they were unconfirmed, believable (if you know anything about these guys), but unconfirmed. Chavismo hyped the global interest to the max. “The oil minister to present Petro proposal to OPEC.” “Venezuela and Russia discuss Petro for…” “Venezuela and China meet regarding Petro.” And on and on it went. At the end of all this,actual recorded,verifiable sales…ZERO!!

 To further confuse the issue there was a dizzying array of announcements by Maduro, his Crypto Minister, and other government officials :

 “Maduro hints at second crypto offering, Petro Oro, a gold backed cryptocurrency”

 “Maduro launches creation of crypto funded bank for youth initiatives”

 “Petro will be tied to the “Fuerte Bolivar” beginning in August” (weeks before the new currency was launched)

 “Petro will be used as unit of account for salaries,goods,and services”

 Decree 3.196 announced that the backing of the Petro will consist of a barrel of oil or ….wait for it…WHATEVER COMMODITY THE NATION DECIDES

 To be continued….


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