Four months on from the Venezuelan national cryptocurrency watchdog Sunacrip’s intervention, the Venezuelan cryptocurrency environment remains unsettled. In the wake of the arrest of Sunacrip head Joselit Ramirez due to alleged involvement in a corruption scandal reportedly worth $20 billion that involved the undisclosed sale of crude oil for cryptocurrency, no formal updates have been provided from the restructuring board of Sunacrip. Reports from local sources suggest that Bitcoin mining operations continue to be suspended.
Cryptocurrency Environment in Venezuela Remains Disturbed Post Sunacrip Interference
Four months after the intervention by Sunacrip, Venezuela’s cryptocurrency watchdog, the status of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency environment and its official cryptocurrency asset, the petro, remains indeterminate. No official announcements have been made by the restructuring board about its ongoing procedures, and it’s still unclear whether the regulatory institution will persist.
On March 17, the government of Nicolas Maduro enacted an executive order to intervene in the superintendence following the arrest of its leader, Joselit Ramirez, who was accused of facilitating payments for $3 billion in undisclosed crude oil sales to third parties. This financial discrepancy, often referred to as the PDVSA-Crypto scheme, was later broadened to signify a possible loss of $20 billion for the nation after Reuters revealed more undisclosed and unpaid sales tied to cryptocurrency payments.
The intervention of Sunacrip was followed by unconfirmed measures reported by local Bitcoin miners and media outlets, such as halting operations in local exchanges. Additionally, in mid-March, state power company Corpoelec disconnected miners from registered cryptocurrency farms from the power grid.
Large-scale Job Cuts and Petro Debacle
Following this, there were allegations of widespread job cuts within Sunacrip, which had approximately 600 employees on its payroll, with 400 of them reportedly being dismissed by April 26. However, no official statements on this matter have been released. Moreover, the silence of the institution has persisted, even as the Petro blockchain twice halted block production in May and users reported the blocking of hundreds of wallets.
Last month, insiders linked to Sunacrip reported that the decision to terminate the Petro and its operations had already been taken and would be implemented after liquidating large currency holders at an as-yet undisclosed market price.
The intervention measure by Sunacrip is set to last until September 17, but could possibly be extended for another six months.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Venezuela’s cryptocurrency ecosystem
What happened to the cryptocurrency ecosystem in Venezuela?
The Venezuelan cryptocurrency ecosystem has been unstable since the intervention of Sunacrip, the national cryptocurrency watchdog, four months ago. The head of Sunacrip, Joselit Ramirez, was arrested due to his alleged involvement in a corruption scandal that included the undisclosed sale of crude oil for cryptocurrency. Additionally, Bitcoin mining operations have been suspended and no official updates have been provided by Sunacrip’s restructuring board.
Who is Joselit Ramirez?
Joselit Ramirez was the head of Sunacrip, the Venezuelan national cryptocurrency watchdog, until his arrest. He was accused of facilitating payments for $3 billion in undisclosed crude sales to third parties, a scandal which later was found to potentially represent a $20 billion loss for Venezuela.
What is the status of the Petro, the official Venezuelan cryptocurrency?
The future of the Petro, Venezuela’s official cryptocurrency, is uncertain. The Petro blockchain stopped its block production twice in May and hundreds of wallets were blocked. Recently, sources linked to Sunacrip reported that a decision to end the Petro and its operations had already been made, but this has not yet been officially confirmed.
What measures were taken after the Sunacrip intervention?
Following the Sunacrip intervention, Bitcoin mining operations were suspended, and some operations in local exchanges were also reportedly halted. Additionally, miners from registered cryptocurrency farms were disconnected from the power grid by the state power company.
What are the potential consequences of this situation for cryptocurrency investors?
There is a considerable level of legal uncertainty surrounding the cryptocurrency ecosystem in Venezuela, which could deter investors. Some Bitcoin miners in Venezuela have considered moving to more crypto-friendly countries due to substantial losses and ongoing instability.
More about Venezuela’s cryptocurrency ecosystem
- Venezuela’s cryptocurrency watchdog Sunacrip
- Corruption scandal involving Sunacrip’s head
- Situation of Bitcoin mining in Venezuela
- Detailed report on the Petro
- Legal challenges facing cryptocurrency in Venezuela