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March 20, 2018
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US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order barring US companies and citizens from dealing in Venezuela's cryptocurrency, the Petro, the BBC reported.

It bans "all transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in, by a United States person or within the United States, any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token" issued by Venezuela's government since 9 January.

Mr Trump said the currency represented an "attempt to circumvent US sanctions."

He authorized Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue any necessary regulations to enforce his order, according to Bloomberg.

“Instead of correcting course to avoid further catastrophe, the Maduro regime is attempting to circumvent sanctions through the Petro digital currency – a ploy that Venezuela’s democratically-elected National Assembly has denounced and Treasury has cautioned U.S. persons to avoid,” Mnuchin said in a statement.

The Venezuelan government called the US move a "new imperial aggression".

In a statement released on Monday, the government committed its "absolute and sovereign decision to continue promoting Blockchain technology and make the Petro one of the most solid and reliable cryptocurrencies in the world".

President Maduro has said each token will be backed by a barrel of Venezuelan crude. The Latin American country has the world's largest proven oil reserves.

Venezuela's economic crisis has largely been triggered by a slide in oil prices and production, which accounts for 96% of exports.


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