US Bans Use of Venezuela's Cryptocurrency

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Trump issued an order on Monday prohibiting USA citizens from engaging in transactions using the oil-backed currency, called the Petro.

Trump wrote that the sanctions were necessary "in light of recent actions taken by the Maduro regime to attempt to circumvent USA sanctions by issuing a digital currency in a process that Venezuela's democratically elected National Assembly has denounced as unlawful".

While the Venezuelan government never explicitly acknowledged that the real objective of this stunt was to circumvent the sanctions put in place by the U.S. Treasury Department on debt issuance through traditional channels, it was obvious that this was the real reason.

Fast forward to today, the US government has been weighing sanctions on Venezuela's all-important oil sector before the nation's presidential election on May 20th. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

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A girl scavenges for food in the streets of Caracas, Venezuela on February 22, 2017. The Petro is expected to be a sovereign crypto asset backed by oil assets and issued by the Venezuelan State led by President Nicolás Maduro.

The Treasury Department also announced specific sanctions on four additional current and former Venezuela government officials associated with government "mismanagement and corruption".

The ban comes as US Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin is meeting G-20 finance ministers in Buenos Aires. "So in the USA, our regulations [state that] if you're a bitcoin wallet, you're subject to the same regulations as a bank".

"The Vice President will call on all members to increase pressure on the Maduro regime to restore the country's democracy and address the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Venezuela", Pence's spokeswoman, Alyssa Farah, said today in a statement.

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Even without those sanctions in place, who would lend money to a government that manages an economy in free fall and with no ability or willingness to make the necessary fixes?

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

"To what extent is the Department monitoring possible nefarious uses of other cryptocurrencies by Venezuela, Russia, and North Korea?" they wrote in a letter.

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