US Senators Want Stronger Sanctions on Venezuela’s Crypto ‘Petro’

| Publish date: 10/07/2018

In the latest cryptocurrency news, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators is now pushing for tighter sanctions in response to Venezuela’s state-backed cryptocurrency. The latter is known as the Petro.

The Bill Explained

The sanctions presented are basically a consolidation of a bill known as the Venezuela Humanitarian Relief, Reconstruction and Rule of Law Act of 2018. In its most organic form, it significantly covers a range of areas related to the country. It includes the proposed humanitarian aid to migrants from the country, as well as the much-needed effort to support “restoring democracy” amidst its long-running economic crisis.

The bill is courtesy of Senators Bob Menendez, Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson, John Cornyn, Dick Durbin, David Perdue, Ben Cardin, Ted Cruz, Tim Kaine, Michael Bennet, and Patrick Leahy. Apparently, it was first introduced on September 24.

It also includes a section that greatly mirrors an executive order signed by the U.S. President Donald Trump in March. It was meant to impose sanctions on Venezuela’s cryptocurrency, which the country’s President Nicolas Maduro revealed two years ago. The controversial Petro has drawn criticism and condemnation from some quarters while the government there itself has sought to implement it across a variety of industries.

Working Against Launching Efforts

Earlier this week, Maduro said that a public sale of the digital asset would start next month. However, the Senate bill takes the POTUS’ executive order a little bit further, barring U.S. residents from providing “software” to the Venezuelan government as part of its efforts to launch the cryptocurrency.

“All transactions by a United States person or within the United States that relate to, provide financing for, provide software for, or otherwise deal in any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela are prohibited beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act,” the bill states.

A Call for Sanctions Report

Moreover, the bill includes a section that calls for a “report on the impact of cryptocurrencies on United States Sanctions,” mandating the U.S. State Department – along with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission – “submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees that provides an assessment on how digital currencies affect the effectiveness of United States sanctions around the world.”

The report, if and only if the bill is passed and signed into law, would feature two main components. First, it would include details on efforts to use cryptocurrencies to evade U.S. sanctions. Second, it calls for “recommendations for new legislation and regulatory measures” aimed at stopping such efforts.


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