Venezuela oil sanctions do not scare national behemoth

Venezuelans know the drill as their country is coming new oil and gas sanctions, which means a period of instability ahead

The state-owned oil and gas company in Venezuela, PDVSA, has been put under new US sanctions, prompting a surge for cryptocurrency among ordinary Venezuelans. More importantly, though, the company itself has sought to skirt sanctions by simply switching to cryptocurrency itself, and investing in USDT, a particularly strong token, which his pegged to the value of the US dollar and accepted globally as a legitimate payment service.

Based on a Reuters report, PDVSA is not going to wait for the country to be unshackled from sanctions and is following the example of ordinary people by acquiring more USDT to use freely. The new sanctions have been reintroduced following a refusal by President Nicolás Maduro to hold free elections in the country.

PDVSA has been preparing for this as well, as integrating the USDT technology has been planned before the reimposition of sanctions. In other words, President Maduro appears to never have had the intention of holding free elections, but only used the temporary reprieve in sanction pressure to line his pockets.

For one, PDVSA is now demanding from new customers to have USDT wallets so that they can facilitate trade in the digital currency. This gives rise to fears that “criminal states” will make use of the blockchain technology as they see fit and use it to dodge sanctions.

There are difficulties with this plan, too, however, as the only way to trade USDT back into US dollar would be to ensure that there are no KYC and AML checks put in place. Binance, one of the largest crypto exchanges, is currently in hot water in the US over similar accusations.

In other words, Binance has every reason to ensure that its platform is not used to trade USDT that is owned or derived from sanctioned oil-trading. Venezuela has been experimenting with the use of crypto to rid itself of international pressure. A misfire to launch its own state-backed crypto token, the Petro, fell flat, however.

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Written by Barney


Barney is co-founder of When not at work he can usually be found behind a Nikon. He's won numerous international competitions for his photography and volunteers as a content creator for aid organisations in Africa.

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