Several days ago, Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Robert Menendez published a letter directed to the US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin demanding to know what the US government was doing to foil attempts by rogue nations in leveraging cryptocurrencies to skirt imposed sanctions.
Most pointedly, Senators Rubio and Menendez were targeting the failed state of Venezuela. This South American country is recognized to have the largest oil reserves in the world at 297 billion barrels topping even the Saudis. But the government’s exceptional skill at incompetence, first exemplified by President Chavez and then followed by his minion President Maduro, has left the economy in utter shambles. This herculean debacle was all accomplished in the name of socialism, of course, to the detriment of the once prosperous nation.
As has been widely reported, Maduro believes he may be able to circumnavigate the financial blockade with a bespoke cryptocurrency called the “Petro.”
The two Senators stated;
“We are concerned that a cryptocurrency could provide Maduro a mechanism by which to make payments to foreign lenders and bondholders in the United States, actions that would clearly thwart the intent of US imposed sanctions.”
The two senators continued by expressing concern that North Korea and Russia will be watching with interest, looking for an opportunity to perhaps do some of the same. A statement that perhaps could be true.
So should the Senators be concerned? Maybe, but I guarantee it will take more than digital currency called the Petro to save Venezuela from its self-inflicted, mortal economic wound. I would not give Maduro that much credit. The only salvation for the Venezuelans is Maduro’s ouster and the undoing of the Chavista policies that helped to bankrupt the country. Even Venezuela’s Parliament recognized the Petro cryptocurrency concept as just more Maduro folly.
As for the North Koreans, it has already been reported they have become adept at hacking crypto-exchanges. No need to create your own cryptocurrency, when it is so easy to steal another persons digital money. And for the Russian’s, well, that story is for a different day.