Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has come out strongly against U.S. President Donald Trump's prohibiting "all transactions" with "any digital currency" issued by the Venezuelan government, alluding to the cryptocurrency promoted by the Venezuelan authorities, known as "Petro."
In a statement released this evening, Maduro says he, "energetically rejects and condemn the new unilateral sanction of the Donald Trump regime against the Venezuelan people and our financial and economic system." 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."
Maduro goes on to say that the sale of the Venezuelan Petro, backed by 5 billion barrels of the country's oil "will allow the country to break the ties of the (U.S.) dollar and will ... create a prosperous economic and production system" in Venezuela.
Earlier today Trump issues and executive order that immediately "prohibits ... all related transactions, the provision of financing and other transactions by a person from the United States or within the United States, with any digital currency that has been issued by, for or on behalf of the government of Venezuela as of Jan. 9, 2018," reads the order, announced by the White House.
Trump and other critics have claimed the Petro, backed by Venezuela's oil reserves – the largest in the world – is unreliable. Yet in presales alone, Venezuela has already made over US$5 billion dollars.
The Petro, which was made available for presale on Feb. 20, is being used specifically to counter U.S.-imposed sanctions and the economic war waged by Washington.
Last month, President Nicolas Maduro said the new digital currency exists to strengthen Venezuela's "monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade." Other countries subject to U.S. sanctions are now considering launching their own crypto-currencies.
Data released by Carlos Vargas, Venezuela's Superintendent of Cryptocurrency and Related Activities, shows that over 83,000 persons in 127 countries have made certified purchase offers for the states cryptocurrency.
Maduro also said last month Venezuela is preparing a new cryptocurrency called "Petro gold" that will be backed by precious metals.