Despite all the doubts and controversies surrounding the project, El Petro, the Venezuelan cryptocurrency, has recently received the Satoshi Nakamoto Prize from the Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association (RACIB) for its ‘outstanding contribution to the development of the blockchain industry’, according to the official community.
The awards ceremony was held in Russia and was attended by Venezuelan ambassador Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa. In addition to “El Petro”, the awards ceremony that took place at the World Trade Center during the BLOCKCHAIN-2018 international congress held by Racib had another twelve winners in different categories. Racib is an organization active in the Russian blockchain industry and has several members from traditional and Fintech sectors, including governments.
The award reinforces suspicions about the involvement of Russian officials with Venezuela’s project. According to Telesur, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce of the Russian Federation Oleg Nikolaevich Ryazantsev was in Venezuela in April to discuss cooperation with the Latin American nation in several areas, including the adoption of Petro as a form of payment among nations. The proposal was presented by Wilmar Castro, vice president for the Venezuelan economic area.
Recently, a much-publicized Time report claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin directly greenlit Russia to help the Venezuelan crypto project. According to the publication, Denis Druzhkov and Fyodor Bogorodsky were the intermediates of the initiative. Mr. Druzhokov is CEO of Zeus Trading. Mr. Bogorodsky has been described as the director of the company Aerotrading, whose website consists of a single home page, without any further relevant information about the company. He was convicted in the US for fraud in future contracts and nowadays lives in Uruguay. Both companies were announced by President Maduro as members of the project. The Russian government has denied any suggestion of its involvement in the Petro.
The Venezuelan Congress has already declared that the currency is illegal and unconstitutional, and the country’s National Assembly has also recently denounced cryptocurrency as a fraud and a threat to potential investors. On the other hand, the Chinese agency Dagong said it is legitimate.
US President Donald Trump has shown himself to be opposed to Maduro’s cryptocurrency and recently signed a constitutional order banning the Petro in the United States. In addition, according to a survey conducted by the Criptomoedas Fácil along with the CCN, President Nicolas Maduro may have announced false numbers on the total investment collected during Petro’s ICO. Despite all this, President Maduro has persevered with the project and even plans to release a new token, the Petro Gold. It would be backed by the nation’s gold reserves, considered the second largest gold reserve in the world, with the potential to extract seven thousand tons.