One of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitfinex, has refused to list the first cryptocurrency backed by Venezuela’s crude oil reserves, Petro (PTR), in its platform.
On Tuesday, Bitfinex issued a statement in which it raised two concerns with regards to Petro. The first is that Petro offers limited utility, and that listing it can be seen as an attempt to circumvent legitimate sanctions against the Venezuelan government.
If you recall, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order last week banning American citizens from dealing with the Venezuelan cryptocurrency. The notice specifically ordered all U.Ss citizens from financing any token produced by the Central Bank of Venezuela, the state-owned oil company PdVSA, or any entity owned, controlled or acting on behalf of the Venezuelan government.
“We have never had plans to include the PTR or similar tokens in the Bitfinex trading platform,” the exchange said. Bitfinex also warned its employees and contractors against transacting in Petro or other digital tokens that go against the sanctions given by the United States, effective immediately.
Bitfinex’s announcement comes on the heels of a Time report, which revealed that the Russian government and businessmen had worked together with the Venezuelan government to launch the Petro. According to the report, the Russian government has been for a long time looking for means to get rid of the sanctions imposed on them after they invaded Ukraine. There have been efforts by the Russian elite to use cryptocurrency to lift the existing sanctions and prevent any future sanctions by the Western countries. The involvement with launching Petro was reported as one of the efforts against sanctions in Russia. Russia’s minister of finance has denied the report.
The Venezuelan state-backed digital currency was launched in February, attracting over $5 million during the pre-sale period, according to local reports. People are still purchasing this token by using Chinese yuan, Turkish lira, euro, and Russian rubles. They can also pay for the token using other cryptocurrencies like legacy Bitcoin (BTC), Ether, Litecoin, or Ethereum.
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