Venezuela’s answer to the Christmas Grinch, aka President Maduro, has decided tis the season to forcibly convert the nation’s pensions to the Petro, the cryptocurrency that no one seems to believe exists, says Coindesk.  

In a report, published by the Caracas Chronicles, a popular blog that has so far survived el Presidente’s recession-lead free press purge, it alleges the government has recently been taking the bolivars paid to its elderly residents and automatically swapping them for petros.

In a cruel twist, says the Chronicles, the government first sent the payments in fiat, realised it had made an error, withdrew the cash and replaced them with the equivalent value of petros. What Venezuela’s pensioners are supposed to do with a currency that isn’t accepted anywhere has had to be re-launched three times in just under a year, has no international backing, and again, does not really exist is anyone’s guess.  

The icing on the cake? The Petro was supposed to help solve the Bolivar’s hyperinflation problem. But, according to observers, its value has halved in just a few weeks. Great! 


Kraken builds a war chest

Kraken, the crypto exchange that recently provided safe haven to another beleaguered stablecoin, Tether, is raising cash. Jesse Powell, the firm’s CEO told CoinDesk that the company is looking to tap a select few investors for at least $100,000 each, with the ultimate goal of giving Kraken a valuation of around $4 billion. (A modest sum compared to, say, competitor Coinbase’s $8 billion valuation.)

Is Kraken in trouble? It says far from it. “We’re profitable and sitting on significant reserves so fundraising is not a necessity, however, further aligning interests with our top clients while building a war chest for acquisitions in the bear market presents a win-win opportunity,” said Powell.

Kraken has already snapped up four companies prior to the raise—Coinsetter, CaVirtEx, CleverCoin, and Cryptowatch (the first three are exchanges; Cryptowatch is a live bitcoin price chart company.) Powell hinted that Kraken was eying other purchases. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Crypto wallet baked into Opera browser

Opera, the browser that’s done more than most to help out the crypto community, has built a wallet into the Android version of its web-surfer.


The wallet, which can look after tokens built on Ethereum (with more currencies to follow, the company says), is designed to make doing things like managing your identity and sending tokens a bit more user friendly, thanks to improved UX and an altogether more intuitive feel.

“Our hope is that this step will accelerate the transition of cryptocurrencies from speculation and investment to being used for actual payments and transactions in our users’ daily lives,” Opera executive VP Krystian Kolondra said. We hope so too, Mr Kolondra.

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