Blow to Venezuela? President Trump has signed an executive order barring any U.S.-based financial transactions involving the new Petro cryptocurrency, which is backed by the nation’s oil reserves.
“Instead of correcting course to avoid further catastrophe, the Maduro regime is attempting to circumvent sanctions through the Petro,” declared Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, announcing further sanctions on Venezuelan government officials.
“The ‘petro’ is a desperate effort by a corrupt regime to defraud international investors,” a senior U.S. administration official told reporters, strongly warning that any transactions in the petro digital currency would violate U.S. sanctions.
“Investing in the ‘petro’ should be viewed as directly supporting this dictatorship and its attempts to undermine the democratic order in Venezuela,” the official added.
Trump’s order bars “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 since Jan. 9, the White House said in a statement.
Maduro is hoping crypto-currencies will help Venezuela skirt U.S. financial sanctions as it struggles under hyperinflation and a collapsing socialist economy.
Venezuela rejected the sanctions, which it says are illegal under international law.
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