11:49 GMT +323 February 2018
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    US Treasury Warns About Sanction Risks of Owning New Venezuelan Cryptocurrency

    © AFP 2018/ John MACDOUGALL
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    As the launch of new ‘petro’ cryptocurrency draws near, a US government agency declared that this newcomer to the digital financial market may represent a violation of sanctions imposed against Venezuela, its issuer.

    The US Treasury Department warned American investors that dealing in the new Venezuelan cryptocurrency may be considered a violation of sanctions imposed against Caracas by Washington.

    "Available information indicates that, once issued, the Petro digital currency would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government," the government agency spokesman explained, adding that the new cryptocurrency "could therefore expose US persons to legal risk."

    Earlier Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced that his country will soon issue a new cryptocurrency called the ‘petro’, with each of the 100 million coins being backed by a barrel of crude oil produced in Venezuela.

    He also invited other members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples Trade Treaty to join in on this project.

    According to Bloomberg, the new digital currency will be accepted by Venezuelan government as a form of payment for fees and taxes, and will also be employed by Caracas for international transactions.

    READ MORE: Backed by Oil and Gold: What is Known About Venezuela's Petro Cryptocurrency

    About 38 million petros are also expected to be sold during a presale to institutional investors which is scheduled to begin on February 15 and is expected to net up to $1.3 billion.

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    Tags:
    sanctions, oil, cryptocurrency, US Treasury Department, Venezuela, United States
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