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Trump Signs Executive Order Decreeing Venezuela’s Petro

President Donald Trump has reportedly signed an executive order barring Americans from trading Venezuelan cryptocurrencies. The banning makes that the Venezuelan petro that was recently launched by President Nicolas Maduro illegal in the United States. The controversial digital coin was widely considered as a way of evading economic sanctions the U.S imposed on Venezuela. The executive order becomes the latest move taken by Donald Trump’s administration in a bid to cut off President Maduro’s funding. This is the first time Trump has been formally linked with cryptocurrency.

“I, Donald Trump…in light of the recent actions that were taken by President Maduro’s regime, attempting to circumvent the U.S sanctions through issuing a cryptocurrency in a process declared unlawful by the Country’s democratically-elected National Assembly, hereby orders as follows,” starts the order published March 19 on White House’s website.

“All transactions that are related to, provisions of financing for, or/and any dealings in, done by a U.S citizen or within the U.S, any digital currencies, digital coins, or digital tokens, that were issued by, on behalf of, or for the Venezuelan Government on or after 9th January 2018, are prohibited..,” the order continues. The ban took effect on March 19 when the order was issued.

However, because cryptocurrencies are, of course, pseudo-anonymous, it would be very hard for the U.S financial authorities to find anyone trading the now illegal petro on U.S soil. The ban seems to be largely symbolic.

The order kills petro

That the U.S government chose to kill the Venezuelan digital coin comes as no big surprise. However, the announcement arrived suddenly and without warning. This executive order being the first one to ban the use of cryptos, its significance is notable. A previous executive order that was signed by the former president, Barak Obama, enabled U.S authorities to confiscate cryptocurrencies, but only referring to “cyber-enabled activities.” President Donald Trump has already issued 65 orders since assuming office, which is 56 per year on average. This makes Trump the fifteenth most prolific head of state for churning out executive orders, which is considerably far behind former president Roosevelt who issued an average of 307 per year.

Notably, the executive order does not explicitly name the petro, although it mentions Petroleos de Venezuela, and there is no doubt which cryptocurrency the United States wants to ban. Nevertheless, this order is highly unlikely to have any direct effect on U.S crypto traders, who will already be aware to avoid the petro. However, the order is probably going to make other nations to avoid the Venezuelan digital coin for fear of annoying the U.S.

If such an order can be issued, banning the trading of petro, then theoretically, there’s no reason a similar order can’t be issued decreeing privacy coins, say, if the United States considered them a threat. Certainly, cryptocurrency will have cropped-up in the U.S president’s daily briefings, and in practice, nothing is suggesting that this order is going to be the last one. However, March 19 is going down in history as the 1st time a United States president signed an order decreeing a digital currency.

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