Trump Bans Americans from Buying Venezuelan 'Petro' Cryptocurrency

David Smolansky a leader in exile of Venezuela’s opposition in Washington DC

Today's executive order nearly explicitly targets the petro, an oil-backed cryptocurrency tied to Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), a Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company. The token is backed by the country's crude oil reserves, which are the largest in the world.

The order applies to US citizens as well as any person within the United States.

Trump's Monday order that prohibits U.S. citizens from using the oil-backed currency will greatly complicate Maduro's plans to raise foreign currency via the cryptocurrency market.

Trump issued an executive order proscribing "all transactions related to" the new currency, which is created to make up for a massive government cash crisis.

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

Most of his sanctions have drawn bipartisan praise - a reflection of Maduro's dim public image internationally - but critics have warned that full economic sanctions could further hurt the Venezuelan people. "Instead, it appears he is using the freedoms that the United States provided him in order to help advance the Maduro regime's attempts to consolidate power and destroy Venezuela's democratic institutions". The move follows the introduction this month of a Venezuelan cryptocurrency known as the "petro, " for which the government says it has received investment commitments of $5 billion.

"This is about providing oxygen to people, not the government", Jimenez said. He also argues that the petro — a financial product that doesn't generate interest or have a payback schedule like a bond — doesn't qualify as the sort of debt instrument the Trump administration had been targeting.

Venezuela's oil sector has been suffering across the board already, mostly from neglect by the socialist regime in place since the end of the 1990s.

The U.S. Treasury Department said earlier that the digital currency could violate the sanctions against Venezuela, warning investors who acquire it of legal consequences. "We can't just sit here with our arms crossed, with all that we, our friends and our family are going through".

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