The US has formally banned the trade of Venezuela's new state-backed cryptocurrency.
The announcement came after an executive order by the Trump administration that lists the cryptocoins among the items prohibited by a new set of sanctions on the South American country.
"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, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018, are prohibited as of the effective date of this order," the executive order reads.
Venezuela announced its own cryptocurrency, the Petro, in February as part of an effort to get around international sanctions and kick-start its economy. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro claimed at the time that merely announcing the coin raised $735m for the country.
The Petro will see its price linked to the current cost of oil, a move the government hopes would help to stabilize the cryptocurrency and avoid runaway speculation.
Now, before it even gets off the ground, the Petro is going to face a massive hurdle in being excluded from the US market and its cryptocurrency exchanges.
Buying, selling, or trading the Petro is now illegal, though the State Department has been advising against investing in the currency since it was first unveiled in January. The department called it "another attempt to prop up the Maduro regime, while further looting the resources of the Venezuelan people."
The Monday executive order builds on the sanctions against Venezuela the Trump administration rolled out in August. Citing the conduct of the Maduro regime, including its crackdown on protesters, the White House put economic sanctions that, among other measures, suspended US businesses from trading in Venezuela's debt. ®