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Late last week, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered a hike in the value of the country’s state-sponsored cryptocurrency ‘el petro.’

In an announcement on Thursday, President Nicolas Maduro ordered that the price of one petro be increased from 3,600 sovereign bolivars to 9,000. This move came with a 150 percent wage hike, the sixth such hike of the year as the Venezuelan economy continues its disastrous negative spiral.

“The arrival of Christmas is very exciting, so this corrective measure comes as a gift for large working families,” Maduro said.

There is growing suspicion, however, that the world’s first state-sponsored cryptocurrency still does not exist.

Venezuelan economist Leonardo Buniak explained[1], “When the president decrees that a petro is worth 9,000 Bs.s, what he is saying is that the petro is not a cryptocurrency but a debt title that is predetermined, [which] cannot be mined. It is impossible to think that it is a cryptocurrency when its value is not given by the interaction between supply and demand.”

El Petro: The Crypto that Never Was

The petro, which was officially rebooted at the beginning of last month, struggled at the starting line[2] once again, with underwhelming interest, a broken wallet, and very interaction with the blockchain.

And now, a month later, nothing has really changed.

The wallet is still broken, meaning the only way to actually ‘purchase’ the crypto is to go to the headquarters of Sunacrip, the operator of the blockchain, to purchase a physical certificate that will supposedly entitle owners ‘real’ petro when the wallet issues are sorted.

Related: Bitmain Faces $5 Million Lawsuit[3]

Even if users were able to send and receive petro, however, there are currently no significant exchanges...

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