Mar 19, 2018

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.

Go deeper

Serological coronavirus testing could be key to economic reopening

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's economy won't reopen anytime soon, despite frantic CEO whispers, but a glimmer of hope may be emerging in the form of serological testing.

Why it matters: Serologic tests aren't to determine whether or not you're infected with coronavirus. They are to determine if you have potential immunity that could allow you to safely return to work.

Government tech struggles to dole out coronavirus stimulus cash

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Tech challenges are hampering federal and state government efforts to get funds from the $2 trillion coronavirus relief law into the hands of newly unemployed workers and struggling small businesses who need it.

Why it matters: Many businesses and individuals need the money now for essentials, including meeting payroll and paying rent.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 9,600

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,600 in the U.S. on Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday the coming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health