The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, says that the country’s government is now looking at diverse cryptocurrencies as a potential way of avoiding sanctions.

On Sept. 29, Maduro presented a new bill that intends to help the country overcome the impact of United States sanctions.

As part of the bill, Venezuela will study the possibility of using various cryptocurrencies in both domestic and foreign trade. Maduro claimed that the new anti-sanctions bill involves both private and state-backed crypto initiatives like Venezuela’s oil-pegged cryptocurrency, the Petro:

“The anti-sanctions bill is the first response […] to give new strength to the use of Petro and other cryptocurrencies, national and global, in domestic and foreign trade, so that all cryptocurrencies of the world, state and private, could be used. This is an important project that is under development.”

According to online reports, the new bill is now being reviewed by Venezuela’s legislative body, the National Constituent Assembly.

The latest news apparently demonstrates that Venezuela’s crypto interest is not limited to the country’s national cryptocurrency, the Petro, which has been positioned as a major tool to evade U.S. sanctions.

Maduro’s new claims came shortly after Venezuela’s government issued an official regulatory framework for mining of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). On Sept. 23, Venezuela’s National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities issued the first decree to regulate all crypto mining activities, outlining specific requirements for miners such as an obligation to join the so-called “national mining pool.”

As Cointelegraph previously reported, Maduro used to support no cryptos other than the state Petro.

In late 2019, Maduro announced that the country’s retirees and pensioners will be paid their Christmas bonuses in Petro. The Venezuelan government reportedly turned pensioners’ monthly bonus into the Petro in late 2018.

Officially rolled out in February 2018, the Petro became the world’s first national oil-baked cryptocurrency. The coin is purportedly designed to attract foreign investment as well as avoid sanctions by the U.S. government. However, the token is not available for purchase anywhere outside of Venezuela.

Updated: 10-2-2020

Venezuela Trials ‘Decentralized Stock Exchange’ That’s Open To The World

Venezuela has announced a 90-day trial for a decentralized stock exchange supporting “alternative digital assets” and fiat currencies.

Venezuela’s National Securities Superintendency has given the go-ahead for a 90-day pilot of a crypto-powered “decentralized stock exchange” in the country that aims to have a global reach despite international sanctions.

Cointelegraph Espanol reports that news of the Decentralized Stock Exchange of Venezuela’s authorization to operate was published in the country’s official gazette, issue 6,578, Sept. 29.

The exchange is known as BDVE and its website claims that the platform comprises “the first decentralized stock exchange in the world.” It highlights that users will be able to access the exchange “from anywhere in the world” and “without restrictions.” Both fiat currencies and “alternative digital assets” will be traded on BDVE.

“[BDVE] represents a new and innovative segment of the stock market, which, with the use of new information and communication technologies, provides the investor with security and control over its financial assets.”

The local securities watchdog will determine whether the exchange will be granted a license to continue trading after the 90-day trial is over.

The platform’s operating manual notes that the securities traded on the platform will comprise ERC-223 or ERC-721 tokens, or a third “packable” token. While the document does not contain the word Ethereum, use of the popular Ethereum (ETH) token standards suggests that the platform may be built on Ethereum.

Surprisingly, the manual does not mention whether Venezuela’s oil-backed national cryptocurrency El Petro will be utilized by the exchange.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on the same day a new “anti-sanctions bill” intended to mitigate the impact of economic sanctions imposed by the United States.

The bill, which is currently being reviewed by Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, noted that both private and state-backed crypto assets could be used to conduct trade beyond the reach of U.S. sanctions.

Updated: 11-30-2020

Venezuelan Army Starts Mining Bitcoin To Make Ends Meet

The Venezuelan army turns to crypto mining as the country’s economy collapses.

The regime of Nicolás Maduro continues to lean on crypto to keep economically solvent.

Via Instagram, an engineering brigade of the Venezuelan army inaugurated the new “Digital Assets Production Center of the Bolivarian Army of Venezuela.” As the video shows, the center houses various ASIC mining equipment used to crack proof-of-work algorithms.

General Lenin Herrera presented the new mining operation. The stated goal of the mining operation is “strengthening and self-sustainability of our units of the Bolivarian Army,” adding later that these mining centers would be generating “unblockable sources of income” and an alternative to the “trust system blocked and controlled by colonialist interests,” referring to the United States, a country that has leveled sanctions against many associates of the Maduro regime.

With oil prices crashing and political turmoil taking its toll even before COVID-19, Venezuela has seen historic inflation in recent months.

As Cointelegraph reported in September, Maduro proposed an “Anti-Blocks Law,” a legal body that proposes using cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions and access financing from international allies.

These intentions are not new. The Maduro administration has gone so far as to launch and promote its own cryptocurrency, the Petro, which has seen limited success.

On the flip side, the U.S. military is also closely observing Venezuela’s crypto activities. Recently, Admiral Craig Stephen Faller referred to Maduro’s use of crypto and went so far as to link its use to drug trafficking and terrorism, adding that the armed forces were keeping an eye on all such operations.

Updated: 12-09-2020

Venezuela Ramps Up Bitcoin Payments For Imports From Iran And Turkey

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro claims the country will “use all the cryptocurrencies in the world” to bypass U.S. sanctions.

According to an investigative report from RunRun.es, Venezuela intends to increase its use of Bitcoin to pay for imports to bypass financial sanctions imposed by the United States.

RunRun.es, which was founded by Venezuelan investigative journalist Nelson Bocaranda, cited anonymous sources from the country’s central bank who claim that “payments to companies from allied countries such as Iran and Turkey have been made using Bitcoin.”

It is unclear, what these imports consist of, however, Turkey and Iran currently provide the country food and fuel in exchange for gold.

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro’s government has promoted its state-issued, purportedly oil-backed ‘Petro’ cryptocurrency as a means of exchange both internationally and domestically since launching the token in 2018. However poor adoption of the Petro has forced the regime to explore other crypto assets including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Maduro began to publicly threaten the use of Bitcoin and other crypto assets as a means to bypass sanctions in September, proclaiming his administration would soon “use all the cryptocurrencies in the world, public, state, or private, for internal and external trade.”

On Oct. 8, Venezuela’s National Assembly passed the Anti-Blockade Law, granting further executive powers to circumvent sanctions imposed on the country, including to authorize the creation or use of any crypto asset as a monetary instrument.

The Venezuelan government established its “Digital Assets Production Center”, a Bitcoin mining warehouse in November, as the country increased its reliance on cryptocurrencies.

Last week the Venezuelan government launched its cryptocurrency exchange, backed by the National Cryptoactive Superintendency, to allow citizens to exchange Bolivars for Bitcoin.

Iran has also put into action a law to use Bitcoin to pay for imports, in an effort to reduce pressure on the country’s already fragile economy.

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