Colombian president under fire for Daily COP’s crypto donations

Colombian President Gustavo Petro is embroiled in controversy following allegations that he accepted over $500,000 in cryptocurrency from a fraudulent crypto project to fund his 2022 presidential campaign.

Local media sources report that the Colombia-based cryptocurrency project, Daily COP, contributed 2 billion Colombian pesos (around $514,036) in digital tokens to Petro’s campaign.

According to Omar Hernández, a former contractor for Daily COP, the donation was discussed in a meeting in February 2022, which included Daily COP co-founder Sebastián Betancourt and Petro’s campaign manager at the time, Ricardo Roa. The meeting took place at a bakery in Bogota and covered topics such as the benefits of cryptocurrencies over traditional banking systems.

Hernández, who claims to have attended the meeting, shared with Caracol Radio that the discussions also addressed regulations and the adoption of blockchain technology. This suggests a potential interest in establishing some form of partnership or alliance with the government in the event of Petro winning the presidency.

These allegations add to a string of campaign-related accusations that President Petro has faced since taking office. Last year, the attorney general’s office of Colombia kicked off an investigation into claims of illicit financing within Petro’s 2022 campaign.

In a separate yet related development in 2023, Petro made headlines with his engagement in the cryptocurrency sector, specifically with Bitcoin. This involvement was highlighted by a publicized event where Samson Mow, Chief Strategy Officer of Blockstream, gifted Petro 100,000 satoshis—a gesture that not only marked Petro’s personal entry into cryptocurrency but also suggested strategic national interests in Bitcoin.

The recent developments come on the heels of Colombia’s anticipation of new cryptocurrency regulatory frameworks. The Financial Superintendency of Colombia is reportedly testing a plan that could lead to policy changes embracing crypto ventures. This stance is inspired by El Salvador, which made history in September 2021 by becoming the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.