President Trump bans the use of Venezuelan cryptocurrencies

Marsha Scott
March 20, 2018

Critics say that Petro is used by the Venezuelan government to circumvent global sanctions, which is a serious-enough concern for the U.S. government that President Trump made a decision to ban the use of Petro in the country.

As of today, US citizens, residents and companies can't buy or sell Petro.

And while Maduro has claimed to have already garnered as much as $5 billion through the token's pre-sale, no evidence has yet been presented to back up this claim.

The US Treasury Department said earlier that the digital currency could violate the sanctions against Venezuela, warning investors who acquire it of legal consequences.

Critics said the crypto-currency was a desperate attempt by President Nicolás Maduro to raise cash at a time when Venezuela lacked the ability to repay its $150bn (£107bn) foreign debt. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said each Petro token would be backed by one barrel of the state's oil.

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Coin Center executive director Jerry Brito said in a statement that there is "nothing new" about the US issuing sanctions: "While Venezuela's attempt to issue a cryptocurrency is novel, there's nothing new about the USA restricting financial dealings with sanctioned countries". The president did not provide evidence, leaving doubts on the numbers announced. The sanctions include asset freezes against officials and the ban preventing U.S. citizens and companies from doing business with Venezuela.

The Trump Administration still has not decided on further sanctions against the Maduro regime, which it says it will impose to protest Venezuelan elections next month that it deems to have unfairly excluded opposition candidates. The Venezuelan government often blames the sanctions for the country's economic crisis.

Maduro announced the new cryptocurrency - called "petro" - late a year ago.

The order specifically targets "any transaction that evades or avoids" previous United States measures against the government of Venezuela. The prohibition applies to all people and companies subject to US jurisdiction. Several opposition parties have been banned and some of its members are now under house arrest or have fled the country. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last month that the US was considering an oil embargo.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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