President Trump Signs Executive Order to Ban Venezuela's Petro Cryptocurrency

President Trump Signs Executive Order to Ban Venezuela's Petro Cryptocurrency

Kerry Wise
March 20, 2018

The US government has announced several sanctions against the Venezuelan government since 2017.

In a statement released on Monday, the government committed its "absolute and sovereign decision to continue promoting Blockchain technology and make the Petro one of the most solid and reliable cryptocurrencies in the world".

If it's adopted by the cryptocurrency scene, Petro can generate significant revenue for Venezuela, which would otherwise be incredibly hard to obtain through conventional channels.

"The Executive Order prohibits, from its effective date, all related transactions, the provision of financing and other transactions by a person from the United States or within the United States, with any digital currency that has been issued by, for or on behalf of the government of Venezuela as of January 9, 2018", reads the order, announced by the White House.

On Feb. 20, Mr Maduro said the newly launched oil-backed petro cryptocurrency raised US$735 million in the first day of a pre-sale.

President Trump is continuing to put pressure on Venezuela's leader as he signs off on new sanctions against the country's government.

Israeli Jets Pound Hamas Positions in Gaza After Bomb Explodes on Border
The second tunnel was reportedly in the process of being reopened by Hamas and was located in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers inspected his family home following Friday's attack in readiness to demolish it.

In August, the U.S. Treasury prohibited U.S. financial institutions from dealing with Venezuelan debt.

The order comes as the Trump administration is actively exploring options to sanction Venezuela's oil sector.

Trump wrote that the sanctions were necessary "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. "[Oil sanctions] is a fairly strong step forward and would have ramifications not just for the government in Caracas, but also the people of Venezuela, the stability and economy of the Caribbean and most importantly, the USA economy". The prohibition applies to all people and companies subject to USA jurisdiction. The new sanctions are part of a larger package of measures that also include four individual sanctions against Venezuelan financial officials.

Rubio and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) raised concerns in January that the Maduro regime's use of the Petro would be watched by other USA adversaries, such as Russian Federation and North Korea.