Trump Bans Purchases of Venezuelan Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency

Venezuela Colombia exodus

It blocks "all transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in, by a United States person or within the United States, any digital currency, digital coin or digital token" issued by Venezuela's government.

The U.S. government is warning anyone who trades in petro to Venezuela that they may be in breach of the sanctions. In a separate move, the administration also slapped sanctions on four current and former senior Venezuelan officials accused of corruption and mismanagement.

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".

Venezuelan Constitutional Assembly member, Diosdado Cabello, however, rejected the sanctions, explaining that "the enormous difference is that the Petro has a tangible backup, oil".

Still, world markets didn't receive the Petro with open arms, as doubt was cast on the government's claim that it's backed by Venezuelan oil reserves.

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Maduro had announced late previous year that he was creating the digital currency to outmanoeuvre US sanctions preventing Venezuela from issuing new debt.

27 year old Gabriel Jimenez is the founder of The Social Us, a digital innovation startup that is helping Venezuela "overcome the financial blockade" of Donald Trump's government. "Issuing a cryptocurrency is not going to help Venezuela escape sanctions".

The sanctions targeting the Petro - the digital currency announced by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in December - have been in the works for weeks.

On Monday, President Trump signed an executive order prohibiting American usage of or investment in the petro.

Reversing to March 19 [today], the sanctions put on Venezuela's very important oil sector by the US government are being put on measure scale lately just before the presidential election. But in response to the request for comment, an email signed by "Zeus Team" said that Druzkhov had been invited to Venezuela as an expert and Zeus is not working on the project.

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