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Matt Levine

The Blockchain Won't Save Venezuela

The petro is just a way to hide new international debt behind crypto mumbo-jumbo.
There's not even a promise of oil.

There's not even a promise of oil.

Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg

This post originally appeared in Money Stuff.

I don't know why Venezuela's "petro" cryptocurrency annoys me so much. It is partly that the promise of cryptocurrency was supposed to be trustless decentralization: You trust the thing because of objective certainties embedded in its open-source code, not because some authority tells you to. Meanwhile the petro is just the opposite. For one thing, you can't trust the code; in fact Venezuela's government can't even get its story straight on what sort of code it is: