Mar 19, 2018 - Energy & Environment

Trump bans Venezuelan government's new cryptocurrency

President Donald Trump. Photo: Cheriss May / NurPhoto via Getty Images

President Trump on Monday signed an executive order prohibiting U.S. citizens from buying Venezuela's newly created 'Petro' cryptocurrency, and a senior administration official says the White House is mulling additional sanctions on the country.

The backdrop: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose tenure has been marked by swelling authoritarianism and economic chaos, is seeking re-election in May. These sanctions are part of U.S. efforts to punish his regime. Maduro's government launched the world's first state-issued cryptocurrency last month in hopes of boosting its plunging economy and circumventing U.S. and European financial sanctions.

The details:

  • A senior administration official told reporters during a background call that the ban, which goes into effect immediately, will have "minimal impact" on ordinary Venezuelans.
  • The Trump administration, he added, is "actively considering" sanctions on crude oil exports to the country and will soon determine specific actions and "the best timing" to maximize their effect.

In a separate move, the administration slapped sanctions on four current and former senior Venezuelan officials accused of corruption and mismanagement.

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