Venezuela Petro cryptocurrency use blocked by White House

The White House has officially banned the use of Venezuela's state cryptocurrency "Petro." An executive order on the matter was signed by Trump today, and in it the White House dictates that all US persons, including permanent residents and entities, are prohibited from buying or otherwise dealing in the cryptocurrency. The move follows Venezuela's recent launch of the digital currency, an action that violates recent US sanctions.

The Venezuela government launched Petro "pre-sales" late last month, billing the digital money as the first sovereign cryptocurrency. Petro is backed by the nation's crude oil reserves and is a move to address the country's economic crisis. The nation's government elaborates on this via the currency's official website:

Within the framework of policies to strengthen monetary sovereignty and promote welfare by bringing power closer to its citizens, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has decided to embark on an ambitious project for the future, with the vision of turning the country into a blockchain-based solutions development hub for emerging economies.

When the Petro plans were revealed, the US Treasury Department had stated that launching the cryptocurrency may result in Venezuela violating financial sanctions. It's no surprise, then, that the White House published an executive order today prohibiting US citizens, permanent residents, and entities from getting involved with the currency. The order specifically prohibits:

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, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018, are prohibited as of the effective date of this order.

According to Reuters, a US official called the Petro currency a "scam," one designed to "defraud international investors." A stern warning was given to US persons and entities who may be considering investing in the cryptocurrency regardless of the order: investing in Petro is "directly supporting this dictatorship..."

The cryptocurrency reportedly raised about $735 million on February 20, its first pre-sale day. The website still lists the digital currency as available for pre-sale.

SOURCE: White House