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USA officials said that the cryptocurrency is a "scam" by the Venezuelan government to further undermine democracy in the petroleum-reliant country.

Maduro says he, "energetically rejects and condemn the new unilateral sanction of the Donald Trump regime against the Venezuelan people and our financial and economic system".

The Trump administration has alleged that the petro is merely an "attempt to circumvent US sanctions".

The executive order's ban on USA purchase and trading of the petro went into effect immediately. The US has also frozen assets of four current and former officials of the Venezuelan government.

Venezuela responded with "profound indignation", slamming the US President. According to the report, Putin signed off on a plan in 2017 to help Venezuela develop a cryptocurrency to avoid the punishing economic sanctions placed upon the country by the U.S.

"Today, the emperor Trump has announced measures that will not be easy to execute, but imperialism is seeking to sow fear, to scare the free peoples of the world", he added.


Trump described the February launch of the Petro cryptocurrency as an "attempt to circumvent USA sanctions", according to a White House statement announcing the order.

Russian involvement with Venezuela's state-backed cryptocurrency could be seen as efforts to "break off from the western influence".

They argued that it represented a forward sale of Venezuela's oil, which would spark more corruption in the country.

As reported previously, Venezuelan president first announced the 'Petro', a digital currency backed by Venezuela's massive oil reserves as a means to combat U.S. sanctions and the financial blockade, earlier in December. Other countries subject to US sanctions are now considering launching their own crypto-currencies.

In its own statement on Monday, Treasury said it was hitting the four current and former Venezuelan officials with sanctions that freeze any assets they may have in US jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with them.

Treasury Secretary Steven T Mnuchin said on Monday that the U.S. ban is aimed at "restoring Venezuelan democracy, combating the kleptocracy of the Maduro regime, and responding to the humanitarian crisis caused by Maduro's economic policy".


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