Trump Freezes Venezuelan Assets Triggering Surge in Local Bitcoin Volume

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by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
Trump Freezes Venezuelan Assets Triggering Surge in Local Bitcoin Volume
Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order, immediately prohibiting access by the Venezuelan government to any of its assets within the jurisdiction of the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be very willing to call out erring nations as he recently revealed a piece of his mind about the ongoing Sino-U.S. trade war. Now in a targeted move against socialist president Nicolás Maduro, Trump has signed an executive order, immediately freezing all assets belonging to the Venezuelan government.

Mauduro’s “Usurpation”

The executive order, according to reports, was necessary because of Maduro and his followers’ continuous misdeeds including “usurpation of power…as well as the regime’s human rights abuses, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens [and] curtailment of free press.”

The country has been plagued by terrible levels of unrest since Maduro first took office in 2013. Two well-known events such as the Mother of All Marches and the Caracas Helicopter Attack took place in the country as part of protests against Maduro, back in 2017.

Trump is, however, not the only world’s leader to express disappointment with Maduro and his administration as there are more than a few countries that believe that the last election which saw Maduro rise to victory was significantly rigged. And these countries support Juan Guaido, the country’s opposition leader who has declared himself as the interim president.

There have been sanctions against Venezuela in recent times imposed by different countries but this executive order seems to be the most biting of them all. It forbids all U.S. citizens and institutions from any dealings or transactions with Maduro or other members of his administration and also restricts Maduro’s allies’ access into the U.S.

It is stated that:

“All property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States… are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.”

The only exceptions to the order are dealings between private institutions in both countries and also the safe passage of any humanitarian aid necessary. The order also possibly seeks to sanction any foreign people or institutions, who might want to continue dealings with the Maduro administration.

Regardless of the executive order, Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, will attend a conference in Lima on Tuesday. The conference is a meeting of nations that recognize Guaido as the fair president of the country.

An estimated 5,500 Venezuelan emigrants are leaving the impoverished country daily, in search of greener pastures.

Bitcoin in Venezuela

The freeze has directly resulted in an unprecedented Bitcoin trading volume on Venezuela’s LocalBitcoins. According to data from Coin Dance, seven-day trading volumes for Bitcoin against the Venezuelan Bolivar on the peer-to-peer site reached an all-time high of almost Bs70 million.

Bitcoin in the country has been setting record volumes in recent times due to the heavy economic unrest along with hyperinflation that hit 10,000,000% recently. It is expected that Venezuelans who are yet to flee the country, would turn to Bitcoin further increasing the price.

Venezuelan Petro

As stated earlier, this isn’t the first time the U.S. is applying sanctions to the country. In the past, Venezuela has tried to turn to crypto, as a way to solve its crisis but also to help circumvent serious sanctions the U.S. had previously levied against it. The Petro, an oil-pegged cryptocurrency was floated in the past but eventually failed. Apart from the fact that it wasn’t truly decentralized, other non-Venezuelan players didn’t seem interested in being a part of it.

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Tolu Ajiboye
Author Tolu Ajiboye

Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge. When he's not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.

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