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US bans transactions with Venezuela's digital currency

2018-03-20 17:29 by
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President Donald Trump issued an executive order Monday banning any transactions within the United States involving any digital currency issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela. The order applies to U.S. citizens as well as anyone within the United States, and includes cryptocurrency issued on or after January 9. The US has for the first time banned a cryptocurrency.

Venezuela launched its oil-backed cryptocurrency - Petro - in February to help pull the country out of a continuing economic crisis. President Maduro said each Petro token will be backed by one barrel of the state's national petroleum. Maduro also said roughly 100 million tokens would be issued — estimated to be worth around $6 billion.

Oil-rich Venezuela has descended into poverty, hyperinflation and chaos under corruption and economic mismanagement. Mr. Maduro, a protege of the late anti-U.S. populist leader Hugo Chavez, says he is trying to deal with sharp levels of economic inequality that have long plagued the country.

In a statement released this evening, Maduro says he, "energetically rejects and condemn the new unilateral sanction of the Donald Trump regime against the Venezuelan people and our financial and economic system." Maduro's communique says that these sanctions violate the United Nations charter agreement, Venezuela's sovereignty and represent a "new imperial aggression imperial and intensify the ... economic ... attack on Venezuela."

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