Readers familiar with the cryptocurrency Dash should recognize some unique features of the asset. Instant sending, consensus combination, masternodes, an X11 mining algorithm, etc. These elements have made their way into the recently published white paper of Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro. And this caught the eye of at least one keen reader, Ethereum developer Joey Zhou.
Zhou on Twitter unveiled a comparison between the two cryptocurrencies, announcing that “Venezuela’s new Petro token is a blatant Dash clone (at least the whitepaper, page 11.)” He then highlighted a chart that is featured in both the whitepaper (page 13 in the PDF) and Dash’s Github.
— Joey Zhou (@josephzhou) October 2, 2018
Under the title “Technical Description” (Section 11.6, “Implantando o Tenecia”), Petro’s whitepaper seems to propose a consensus algorithm combination of Proof-Of-Work (PoW) and Proof-Of-Stake (PoS), which is a similar approach taken by Dash. Petro starts by allocating 85% of its rewards to masternodes, or “Nodos Maestros”, and leaves the remainder to the users.
Centralization and Plagiarism
Sunacrip, which is an autonomous entity that oversees issues related to digital assets in Venezuela, is spotlighted in Petro’s whitepaper. Although the currency is supposed to have masternodes, a key part of Dash’s governance, Sunacrip holds a great deal of power. For example, it is allowed to change the consensus according to the “convenience” of the network. The white paper also seems to contradict itself by also stating masternodes “will make decisions on the network and support transactions they themselves make.”
While there may be signs of plagiarism, it could also be a function of open-source sharing. Many may argue that Venezuela could have adopted Dash rather than create a carbon copy. The country already has a history with Dash, and earlier this year, the No. 13 cryptocurrency advanced by double-digits, apparently due to a rush into the coin by Venezuelans looking to escape hyperinflation in the beleaguered economy.
Looking further into Petro, there appears to be a system for Dash similarities. Both instant send and X11 mining were incorporated into Petro and are also features of Dash. The Petro white paper states:
“Instantaneous sending of transactions, an innovative breakthrough with a significant impact compared to existing cryptocurrencies”
This phrase omits, of course, that Dash also has instant transactions.
In summary, the accusation of plagiarism is more a controversy involving the state of the cryptocurrencies in Venezuela, as the official announcement on the sale of the Petro was made by President Nicolás Maduro on Oct. 1.