On May 5, Venezuela’s government announced that its controversial oil-backed cryptocurrency, El Petro, would go offline for maintenance until May 10.

However, observers have since identified that the official Petro block explorer now lists May 5, 2020, as the date that its genesis block was mined. 

Other block explorers record Oct.13, 2018, as the date for Petro’s genesis block — suggesting that there is more than one Petro chain currently in existence.

Petro suspected of quietly forking

After the maintenance was completed, the National Superintendency of Cryptoassets announced it had completed major infrastructure upgrades necessitating that PetroApp users update their Petro wallet addresses in order to continue using the platform.

The extreme hyperinflation suffered in Venezuela has long driven demand for Bitcoin (BTC) in the country — with Venezuela hosting among the strongest peer-to-peer trading volumes worldwide.

Crypto adoption grows among Venezuelan merchants

Earlier this month, Panama-based crypto payments firm, Cryptobuyer, announced a partnership with local company, Mega Soft, to enable support for crypto payments across 20,000 retailers in Venezuela.

The deal will see Mega Soft, a firm that develops payment processing solutions, launch support for cryptocurrencies on its Merchant Server platform — spanning more than 20,000 businesses including pharmaceuticals network Farmatodo, supermarket chain Central Madeirense, and movie theater group Cines Unidos.

Mega Soft’s merchants can now accept payments in the form of Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin, (LTC), Dash (DASH), Binance Coin (BNB), Cryptobuyers native XPT token, and stablecoins Tether (USDT) and Dai (DAI).

The partnership does not comprise Cryptobuyer’s first foray into Venezuela, having previously partnered with the country’s largest retail chain Traki. The Panama-based firm also collaborated with Venezuelan hotel chain Tamaco in March, and inked a deal with Burger King to support at 40 locations across the country in January.