Completing a project to build 3 million homes for its suffering population is the next big initiative Venezuela wants to finance with its digital currency, the petro. The socialist government in Caracas says there is enough money and materials to fulfill the main objective of the “Great Housing Mission.”
Minister Urges Construction Companies to Accept Petro
The Venezuelan Ministry of Housing is now joining forces with other government institutions to revive a state-sponsored program focused on the building of new apartment blocks for the masses. The leftist administration of President Maduro hopes to boost Gran Misión Vivienda Venezuela (GMVV) using the oil-backed national cryptocurrency, the petro.
During the first government meeting in 2019, the housing minister Ildemaro Villarroel invited both state-run and private companies to support the ambitious plan, the Prensa Latina news agency reported. The official emphasized that using the sovereign digital coin to fund the construction projects will also help consolidate the economic independence of the South American country.
Villarroel insisted that GMVV has both the necessary budget and the construction materials needed to reach its target – the completion of 3 million housing units by the end of this year. The new homes will be distributed among Venezuelans from different walks of life with priority given to professionals, young people and senior citizens.
The minister added that over 2.5 million new homes have already been delivered and another 1 million have been renovated as part of the “Great Housing Mission Venezuela.” The program has also allocated over 1 million plots of urban land.
Mission Far From Accomplished
Faced with pressing economic challenges, hyperinflation and foreign sanctions, the Venezuelan government has put great hopes on the success of its cryptocurrency. Authorities in Caracas launched the public sale of the petro in October last year, but all buyers have been able to get so far are so-called “petro certificates,” not any digital coins.
At the same time, Nicolas Maduro’s administration has made a number of loud announcements about the petro. The digital currency was adopted as official unit of account along with the country’s redenominated fiat, the bolivar. Wages and pensions have been calculated in the state-issued cryptocurrency. The Venezuelan president promised special economic zones to stimulate its circulation and assured Venezuelans they’ll be able to purchase homes and property with the petro.
Venezuelan officials have been trying to convince partnering countries and organizations to accept the crypto for international trade deals. The Russian Federation, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and the members of the regional “Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America” (ALBA) have been offered the petro, so far with little success.
The large-scale housing projects may also soon grind to a halt. According to а recent report, Russian and Chinese construction businesses have already pulled out of the country. Caracas owes over $110 million to the Belarusian state-owned Belzarubezhstroy, one of the few foreign companies still building in Venezuela. Minsk, however, has been reluctant to accept the repayment of the debt in petro.
Do you think Venezuela will be able to finance housing projects with its digital currency? Tell us in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Belzarubezhstroy.
Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency 2019 Predictions – Vol. XX
We continue our series of predictions from the industry’s thought leaders on what may happen in the coming year.
By almost any measure, 2018 was a challenging year for the blockchain/cryptocurrency industries. Beyond the usual issues facing young businesses in hiring, marketing, technology and financing, companies were engaged in a crisis of confidence with investors, as the crypto markets lost 80 percent of their overall value from the beginning of the year.
Add to that the magic fountain of funding caused by the curtailing of initial coin offerings, increased government scrutiny and outright bans of certain activities, and the bitter battles between technology developers that caused market gyrations, and it’s amazing that any company survived such severe headwinds.
But heading into 2019, the survivors of this industry wide winter are showing faith in the underlying technology of blockchain and the continuing promise of cryptocurrency. They point out that institutional investors are still on the sidelines, and many retail backers are still not in the game in any huge way.
Add that to the continued interest of big businesses and the spirit of innovation shown by blockchain and crypto pioneers, and the story looks a lot brighter than mere numbers would suggest.
Block Tribune asked thought leaders in the industry for their takes on what may happen in the coming year. Now through the end of the month, we’ll spotlight their thoughts on what may happen in what all hope will be a happy and prosperous 2019.
Said Ouissal, Founder & CEO, Zededa:
Which sectors – energy, e-commerce, gambling – do you think will have the biggest impact in the blockchain industry in 2019? (Feel free to choose any other sectors)
Blockchain actually holds a lot of promise for many aspects of Internet of Things (IoT) that don’t necessarily pertain to cryptocurrencies. The concept of distributing trust to a peer-to-peer network is essential in the world of IoT and Edge Computing. ZEDEDA’s vision is to create an edge economy that allows apps to run anywhere. This means moving applications that run in data centers, where there is a single owner of all the infrastructure that provides the app developer with its entire virtual environment, to places where infrastructure is not owned by a single party. This will be an extremely diverse environment- comprised of different hardware, different networks, etc. – that first needs a platform to abstract out the complexity and allows the apps to ask for “services” that it can trust; analogous to how one spins up an environment in AWS (but in that case trust is inherent to “I trust AWS”). That makes the edge a “cloud native” edge.
How does blockchain fit into this edge economy? Two aspects – data provenance as well as value exchange.
In the area of data provenance, the platform running the cloud native edge should inherently look to be able to track immutably who is creating the data, when it was created, and as the owner of that data what the owner’s rights are with regards to manipulating the data. A data provenance service would allow an app developer to add devices to the network and have every piece of data tracked, enabling that data to be accessed by others, but not without express permission of the originator. This service can be provided to that app by a platform via smart contracts and blockchain. For example, today there are farm equipment companies offering IoT services and apps to improve farming using the data collected, as well as data from other users in the area – hyper-local. But today, without blockchain, the only way the app provider can use the data in this way is to have the farmer sign a EULA (end user licensing agreement) that says “whatever you generate on this service belongs to me…” and the customer loses ownership of the data. If the app was built on a platform using the blockchain with smart contracts, every piece of data generated on my farm becomes identifiable and if I choose to leave the service, my data comes with me and/or can easily be deleted.
Value exchange is actually very compelling for IoT. We can take a Public Safety application in a Smart City as an example. If I have a facial recognition app in my Police Force and there is a dangerous criminal on the loose. The city will have cameras they own, cameras owned by utilities and cameras owned by private companies. The owners can all have platform-enabled cameras using the blockchain network. As use of the cameras for the Public Safety app has value, I can “pay” all the camera owners to allow use of the cameras, to run the facial recognition app temporarily, to help catch the criminal. Once the job is done, cameras are released and everyone is compensated for the use of their assets instantly. Smart Cities are a good example because typically the problem with investing public money for this type of infrastructure has terrible ROI as the asset sits unused the vast majority of the time. This would allow very efficient use of funds as the city can develop applications and pay only for the “cloud native” resources required rather than deploying their own assets (sound familiar?).
This is the vision of the edge economy – a diverse hardware environment, with a diverse set of asset owners, application developers that want access to the data and an efficient platform for all of them to meet peer-to-peer. It’s an ideal environment for blockchain services.
Riggs Eckelberry, CEO of OriginClear and chairman of WaterChain:
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Where do you see Bitcoin heading in 2019 and why?
ANSWER: Bitcoin is a world brand, so it has excellent long-term prospects. 2019 will be the year of consolidation, as mainstream trading platforms (Robinhood, Ameritrade) enable BTC trading.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Have recent crypto plunges affected your outlook and/or plans for 2019?
ANSWER: We are already way ahead of this wave, since we have been actively positioning ourselves to be part of the next generation of securities-compliant issuances in 2019.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What role will stablecoins have in the market in 2019?
ANSWER: We always needed Stablecoins, but they are only now becoming more reliable. They are absolutely essential to an orderly market and will help stabilize things with the main exchange currencies. Having said that, expect a shakeout. How many stable coins can there be?
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Which sectors – energy, e-commerce, gambling – do you think will have the biggest impact in the blockchain industry in 2019?
ANSWER: We are very bullish on commodities. Alex Lightman has the cobalt coin and favors CFTC (commodities) regulation. This is interesting. Also, blockchain applied to large asset classes in which a static registry (think real estate) is valuable. Fast-moving applications like e-commerce and gambling are really cryptocurrency plays that happen to use blockchain. Over time, we think that cryptocurrency is more consequent than blockchain itself.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What event would you like to see happen in 2019?
ANSWER: Let’s properly launch the securities-compliant cryptocurrency marketplace so that investors are finally protected.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Is the ICO dead as an effective fundraiser? Why or why not?
ANSWER: ICOs specifically are part of history. But in general, a coin or token issuance can be a legitimate way to get funded. But we don’t know how we would be getting WaterChain funded if it weren’t for its connection to a publicly traded stock, OCLN.
Since our last markets update, cryptocurrency markets consolidated within a tight range and have been less volatile over the last few days. The market capitalization of the entire cryptocurrency economy has gained about $5.7 billion and a few of the top coins have seen some price jumps this week.
Crypto Markets Consolidate, But Some Coins See Gains
As the first week of 2019 comes to an end, digital currency prices this Sunday are far less volatile than the last two months of 2018. At the time of publication the entire cryptocurrency market valuation of all 2000+ digital coins is roughly $131.7 billion. Since the holidays and the first annual “Proof-of-Keys” day has passed global trade volume has steadily increased. There’s about $15.8 billion worth of cryptocurrency global trade volume today across popular exchanges and ripple, litecoin, and stellar are this weekend’s top performers. Currently, the digital asset bitcoin core (BTC) is trading for $3,869 and market prices are up 0.03% over the last 24 hours. BTC captures around $4.9 billion of the world’s crypto-trades and has a market valuation of around $67.5 billion.
The second highest valued market capitalization this Sunday is held by ethereum (ETH) which is down 2.6% today. However, over the last seven days, ETH has gained 10.3% and one ETH is trading for $153. Ripple (XRP) is up a hair today with 0.36% gained over the last 24 hours but the week shows a loss of around 2.8%. One XRP is swapping for $0.35 and holds about $424 million of the world’s digital asset trade volume. The token eos (EOS) is still holding the fifth largest capitalization, but litecoin (LTC) is not too far behind. One EOS is trading for $2.76 and markets have risen 3.8% this week. EOS markets are up today 0.79% and markets are also capturing $761 million in trades. As mentioned above LTC has spiked considerably jumping 7.8% today and 19% over the last seven days. LTC has managed to commandeer the sixth largest market valuation this week.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Market Action
Bitcoin cash (BCH) markets had it much better last week and prices have consolidated into a pretty tight range. At the moment one BCH is trading for $160 per coin and markets are down 1.4% over the last 24 hours and down 1.2% for the week. The top cryptocurrency exchanges swapping the most bitcoin cash today includes Lbank, Hitbtc, Binance, Huobi, and Coinbase. Currency pair statistics show tether (USDT) captures 48.3% of the global trades with BCH. This is followed by BTC (18.5%), ETH (16.9%), USD (8.9%), EUR (3%), JPY (2%), and KRW (1.3%). The EUR has spiked a great deal which is traditionally a sign of bullish movements ahead. BCH holds the eighth largest trade volume today below zcash (ZEC) and just above tron (TRX) markets.
BCH/USD Technical Indicators
Looking at the daily and 4 hour charts on Bitstamp shows some tight Bollinger Bands and signs of deep consolidation. At the moment on the 4 hour chart, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is meandering in the middle between oversold and overbought regions at -47.8. Stochastic and the MACd show similar readings and it seems as though traders are uncertain of which direction the next wave will take them.
The two Simple Moving Averages (SMA) are still showing a decent gap between the short term 100 SMA and the long-term 200 SMA. The 100 SMA is well above the 200 SMA indicating the path toward the least resistance is still the upside. Order books on some of the most popular exchanges show BCH bulls need to surpass the $170 range in order to gain some better momentum. On the backside, there is plenty of foundational support between the current vantage point and the $140 region.
The Verdict: While Some Analysts See Positive Signs, Others Are Not so Optimistic
It is safe to say that most traders are waiting on the sidelines for some more confirmations of a bearish-to-bullish trend change, or another big drop in crypto prices. Some people believe they have noticed a positive trend change among crypto asset prices and the validation of some bullish divergence over the last few weeks. Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at Etoro gave his thoughts on the current cryptocurrency market trends on Jan. 3. “Gains across most of the popular crypto assets have been rather mild lately,” Greenspan emphasized. “While it’s good to see bitcoin holding steady, we’re actually starting to see a side of the market that is more typical during a bull run.”
However, digital currency market analyst Willy Woo explained on Jan. 5 that the bears still may be holding the reigns. “The initial volume spike false signaled a faster detox and an earlier end to the bear market, but in fact, it was a volatility side effect — That move from $6k to $3k created immense trade volume, but it was in no way a signal that accumulation volume had begun,” Woo told his Twitter followers.
The analyst continued by stating:
That volume has since subsided. Leaving the NVT chart on the high side of its oscillation around the main move downwards — The key thing here, in my interpretation, is it’s on the high side of its band, so I think an up move is limited, bears will win the longer term trade.
Where do you see the price of BCH, BTC and other coins heading from here? Let us know in the comments below.
Disclaimer: Price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”
Images via Shutterstock, Trading View, Coinlib.io, Bitstamp, and Satoshi Pulse.
Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.
Bitcoin Exchange rates
|1 BTC =||4149.41000 USD|
|1 BTC =||3648.05000 EUR|
|1 BTC =||80.0600000 LTC|
|1 BTC =||26.0900000 ETH|
|1 BTC =||3192.87000 GBP|
|1 BTC =||5747.55000 AUD|
|1 BTC =||5394.00000 CAD|