President Donald Trump banned U.S. purchases of a cryptocurrency the Venezuelan government is rolling out, as part of a campaign to pressure the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Trump issued an order on Monday prohibiting U.S. citizens from engaging in transactions using the oil-backed currency, called the Petro. He authorized Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue any necessary regulations to enforce his order.
The first crypto-related executive action taken by a US president, the White House revealed Donald Trump’s executive order to unconditionally ban all activities related to Venezuelan government-issued or related cryptocurrencies within the United States.
The White House said the move was:
“in light of recent actions taken by the Maduro regime to attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions by issuing a digital currency in a process that Venezuela’s democratically elected National Assembly has denounced as unlawful,”
The Petro saw its pre-sale launch on February 20 and isn’t without controversy with the country’s national assembly declaring it a ‘fraud’ while market observers have criticized the petro for being a complete scam.