Donald Trump has imposed new sanctions against Venezuela’s “petro” cryptocurrency.
The U.S. president was previously said to be preparing to sign an executive order imposing additional sanctions on the South American nation for its attempt to bypass existing economic restrictions, McClatchy DC reported on Friday. On Monday, Trump signed an order blocking any U.S. transactions in the Petro, the White House announced.
The sanctions represent the most notable development to date since Venezuela launched the Petro in February. As stated at the time by government officials, Venezuela is seeking to use the cryptocurrency as a way to circumvent international sanctions.
It’s not surprising at all that the Trump administration would make such a move; several U.S. lawmakers have already sharply criticized the Petro, with Senators Bob Menendez, Marco Rubio – and, later, Bill Nelson. A lot of letters were written to the Treasury Department asking how it would protect American investors and prevent Venezuela from raising money.
The Treasury Department has not responded directly to the letters’ contents yet but did confirm that sanctions risks would apply to Americans purchasing the token. Menendez’s office later confirmed that he was continuing to press the department for a response.
Petro token has received pushback from within Venezuela’s borders as well. The nation’s Congress considered it as “illegal” and unconstitutional.
President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro has claimed to have already garnered as much as $5 billion through the token’s pre-sale, but no evidence has yet been presented to back up this claim.