Trump bans U.S. purchases of Venezuela's cryptocurrency Petro

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President Trump on Monday levied new sanctions against the Venezuelan government, banning US citizens from dealing in the South American country's newly introduced cryptocurrency.

Trump is a big booster of sanctions against the South American country, and is reportedly considering directly targeting the country's oil industry.

In the executive order, Trump said it was an "attempt to circumvent US sanctions" imposed for democratic backsliding.

In what is certain to be the first crypto-related executive action taken by a U.S. president, the White House revealed Donald Trump's executive order to unconditionally ban all activities related to Venezuelan government-issued or related cryptocurrencies within the United States. The US has also frozen assets of four current and former officials of the Venezuelan government.

Diosdado Cabello, the powerful vice president of the ruling socialist party, accused "Emperor Trump" of trying to extend the financial "blockade" of Venezuela. According to the report, Putin signed off on a plan in 2017 to help Venezuela develop a cryptocurrency to avoid the punishing economic sanctions placed upon the country by the U.S.

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"It's not going to be easy to execute", Cabello said in a press conference in Caracas.

The Petro ICO took shape under the insistence of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (and with possible help from outside) despite the National Assembly saying that the cryptocurrency was illegal.

The petro, which first went on presale on February 20th, is the world's first state-backed cryptocurrency.

Trump described the February launch of the Petro cryptocurrency as an "attempt to circumvent United States sanctions", according to a White House statement announcing the order. Maduro's communique says that these sanctions violate the United Nations charter agreement, Venezuela's sovereignty and represent a "new imperial aggression imperial and intensify the ... economic ... attack on Venezuela". Venezuela's currency, the bolívar, has suffered from hyperinflation as a result of government mismanagement and U.S. sanctions.

"President Maduro decimated the Venezuelan economy and spurred a humanitarian crisis".

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