Venezuela’s President Maduro has announced that a ‘pre-sale’ of the country’s proposed ‘Petro’ cryptocurrency will commence on 20 February 2018. The Venezuelan Government has stated that the Petro will enable the country to make financial transactions and to overcome international sanctions.
Last week, OFAC published an FAQ relating to US person involvement in the proposed currency (see previous blog here). It states that a currency carrying rights to receive commodities in specified quantities at a later date (something which President Maduro had indicated in his proposal), would “appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government. Executive Order 13808 prohibits US persons from extending or otherwise dealing in new debt with a maturity of greater than 30 days of the Government of Venezuela. US persons that deal in the prospective Venezuelan digital currency may be exposed to US sanctions risk.”