Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Trump has banned the trading of Venezuela's cryptocurrency, the petro

TheMerkle Petro Gold Venezuela President Maduro Sets Sights on New Cryptocurrency Backed by Venezuelan Gold Reserves JP Buntinx
Andrew Cummings | 20 March, 2018, 04:31

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before a meeting in the Pentagon January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC.

"I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, in order to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692 of March 8, 2015, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13808 of August 24, 2017, and in light of recent actions taken by the Maduro regime to attempt to circumvent US sanctions by issuing a digital currency in a process that Venezuela's democratically elected National Assembly has denounced as unlawful".

Any US transactions of the Venezuelan "petro" conducted before Monday's order would be considered on a case-by-case basis, a second US administration official said. Inflation of the bolívar fuerte, Venezuela's official currency, is set to hit 13,000 percent later this year.

The ban complicates the Maduro government's efforts to boost its foreign reserves through a digital token. Yet in presales alone, Venezuela has already made over US$5 billion dollars. "Since most cryptocurrencies are not actually backed by anything real, cryptocurrency speculation is based on the greater fool theory - I can buy this at $100 because there is someone who is a bigger idiot who is going to buy it at $200". "So in the US, our regulations [state that] if you're a bitcoin wallet, you're subject to the same regulations as a bank".

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met with other finance ministers at a G20 conference in Buenos Aires in Argentina to discuss the situation. President Nicolas Maduro saw the petro as a way to raise cash to outmaneuver US sanctions.

The measures were spelled out in an executive order Trump signed blocking USA financial transactions involving Venezuela's version of the "bitcoin" created last month as a means to get around US sanctions.

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In his meeting with his global counterparts, Mnuchin said, "we discussed how to achieve our shared objectives of restoring Venezuelan democracy, combating the kleptocracy of the Maduro regime, and responding to the humanitarian crisis caused by Maduro's economic policy".

Venezuela's Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the cryptocurrency ban. The new sanctions are part of a larger package of measures that also include four individual sanctions against Venezuelan financial officials.

The ban is the latest move by the U.S. government to restrict the Venezuelan government's access to other currencies. That would be a potentially crippling blow to the Maduro government, which depends nearly exclusively on crude sales to sustain what's left of the economy.

If you've eyeing Venezuela's Petro digital currency, you're out of luck.

Vice President Mike Pence will pressure Maduro's government in a speech Wednesday to a session of the Organization of American States, his office said.

The new sanctions come as the regime of President Nicolas Madura continues a crackdown against civilians in the country.

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