When it comes to regulating the crypto industry, very few nations have stepped up to the plate. Gibraltar led the way back in January 2018 with the world’s first crypto and blockchain regulations with Malta, Japan and South Korea quickly following suit. However, one unlikely nation has decided to join the exclusive club of regulated crypto jurisdictions. Venezuela has finally created crypto regulations that will shape and define its crypto industry on the back of the launch of its rather dodgy national cryptocurrency.
63 Separate Bills
To put things into perspective, Malta launched four crypto-friendly bills back in November 2018. Now, Venezuela is launching 63 separate bills that will heavily regulate every aspect of the crypto industry. The most important takeaway from the bills is a caveat that states the only “acceptable” forms of cryptocurrencies are those licensed by or issued by the government of Venezuela.
Currently, the only cryptocurrency that fits the criteria is the Petro, leaving many to suspect that these new bills are designed to outlaw any other form of crypto activity in the country. Nicolas Maduro has already made it virtually impossible to buy Bitcoin in Venezuela, and these bills simply legitimize his campaign.
Hardcore Version of the SEC
These new bills appear to have created what looks very much like a hardcore version of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Sunacrip – Venezuela’s version of the SEC – came to power late last year, and the new bills have given the organization some scary powers. It can enter crypto mining farms to check for compliance with regulations, and if it deems the farm is violating any regulations, Sunacrip can freely confiscate all crypto mining rigs.
Sunacrip can also chose to investigate crypto traders, and if they are caught not complying with the laws, they will receive a heavy fine and could even see jail time. The new bills have given Sunacrip a lot of power, so much so that Venezuelans are starting to worry about their “unlawful” crypto use.
Bitcoin Educating Children
Venezuela is in a dire state at the moment, with hyperinflation reaching record highs. The local fiat currency – the sovereign bolivar – is virtually worthless and a loaf of bread requires a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy. A charity called Crypto for Venezuela has been collecting Bitcoin from Reddit users so that it can buy school supplies for school children. Just before Christmas, the charity managed to deliver school supplies for more than 500 children to help them get the best education possible in spite of tough economic conditions.
Maduro has gone all out with his propaganda and legal machine to make the Petro the nation’s only cryptocurrency, but he is fighting a losing battle. Despite converting all pensions to Petro, citizens continue to use real cryptocurrencies like Dash and Bitcoin for day to day purchases.