Gabriel Jiménez: Petro – The Crypto Project That Tried to Free Venezuela

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In late 2017, Gabriel Jimenez was approached by the Venezuelan presidency and asked to create a national digital currency, the Petro. Although very much against the regime, Gabriel saw this as a chance to save his country which was on the brink of economic collapse. A new currency that would move freely over an open network, like Bitcoin. And the government would not be able to control it. So he agreed.

Things didn’t go as Gabriel had envisioned. Months later, Gabriel almost paid with his life when he was held at gunpoint by military guards in the President’s palace. He was accused of being a traitor to the government and was forced to hand over the project, which still hasn’t taken off. Last year he fled to the US to avoid being arrested and has since been granted asylum status. He is passionate about cryptocurrency and his country, and is working on a new way to combine the two.

From the safety of the US, Gabriel is finally able to share his side of the story and wants to set the record straight on why he did what he did.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Gabriel’s background growing up in Venezuela
  • Gabriel’s return to Venezuela from the US
  • Venezuela in the pre-Chavez days
  • Living in Venezuela during Chavez’s rule
  • The introduction of crypto to Venezuela
  • The Maduro regime and how things got worse from there
  • When the government turned on Gabriel and his team
  • Knowing the risks of this project
  • The current state of the Petro
  • How things could have gone differently so that Petro could have worked

Episode links:

This episode is hosted by Sebastien Couture & Sunny Aggarwal. Show notes and listening options: epicenter.tv/343

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