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MIT Technology Review

The US has banned transactions that use Venezuela’s crypto token

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Even Donald Trump is talking about crypto now—well, if you call the petro a cryptocurrency.

Backstory: Last month, Venezuela issued its own crypto token, called the petro. It’s supposed to be pegged to the price of the nation’s oil, but some critics suggested that it was just a ploy to get around US-imposed economic sanctions.

The news: Donald Trump has now signed an executive order calling “all transactions related to” it illegal.

Why it's happened: The US administration warned investors back in January that Americans using the petro would risk violating sanctions, since it “would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government.” Since then, several members of Congress had piled pressure on the administration to go further and limit the currency’s use.

Nice try, Venezuela: Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center, a policy think tank in Washington, DC, that advocates for blockchain companies, told CoinDesk that there’s “nothing new” in this executive order: “Issuing a cryptocurrency is not going to help Venezuela escape sanctions.”