Bitcoin has long been the go-to cryptocurrency for Venezuelans looking to escape hyperinflation and restore some sense of normality back into their lives, but as the power goes out in Caracas, citizens are left to starve. Unprecedented power outages have swept the capital city and Maduro looks close to losing his last footholds of power. On top of this, the Russian bank Evrofinance Mosnarbank has been sanctioned by the US for helping Maduro create and spread his poison riddled Petro cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin Goes Dark in the Capital
With virtually no infrastructure to connect to the Blockstream satellites, Bitcoin and other crypto payments haven’t been working this week in Caracas as the power went out for hours at a time. This left citizens running for their wheelbarrows to carry cash down to the local store to pick up some nibbles for dinner. As the country heads further into hyperinflation, the nation’s fiat currency becomes even more worthless than toilet paper.
Russian Banks Getting Sanctioned
Evrofinance Mosnarbank is at the center of a scandal involving former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who allegedly owns a 45% stake in the bank. Maduro and his government asked people looking to buy Petros to send USD into a Venezuelan Evrofinance Mosnarbank account – a balance that grew by more than 50% in 2018. The United States has taken this action as collusion with Nicolas Maduro and has imposed sanctions upon the bank until it ceases all ties with the Venezuelan administration.
In a statement issued by the US Treasury Department, more details about the case and reasoning behind the sanctions were revealed. The statement read:
As the Treasury has continued to escalate the use of sanctions against the illegitimate regime of former President Nicolas Maduro, the net assets of Evrofinance Mosnarbank (Evrofinance) bank grew over 50 percent during 2018. Today’s action, taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13850, targets a foreign financial institution that has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PdVSA).
The situation in Venezuela is getting worse by the day, but Maduro is starting to lose his last footholds in the country. The international community refuses to recognize Maduro as the president of Venezuela, and opposition leader Juan Guaidó has been receiving support from the US – including food and aid supplies. It’s only a matter of time before Maduro escapes into exile and Venezuela can start rebuilding. Until then, things will only get worse in the country and more people will die needlessly of starvation or from violence.