Venezuela has introduced a new regulatory framework for businesses working with crypto assets, according to an official gazette published by Venezuela's Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information (MIPPCI).
Businesses are now required to register with the Superintendencia Nacional de Criptoactivos y Actividades Conexas (Sunacrip), which oversees Venezuela's crypto activity. The regulations cover issues like business registration and audit requirements, as well as penalties for noncompliance. The framework applies to all crypto service providers in Venezuela, which includes exchange platforms and miners.
Sunacrip is responsible for inspecting and auditing crypto service providers and has the power to act in response to noncompliance with regulations. Sunacrip can revoke licenses, seize and retain mining equipment, and threaten fines and prison sentences of up to three years.
The establishments of cryptocurrency regulations might sound like the beginnings of progress, but given the Venezuelan government's notorious corruption, there's strong reason to doubt that these gestures will positively impact the country's cryptocurrency scene.
As Moises Rendon pointed out in his AraCon 2019 talk, "Humanist Technology in Oppressed Societies," totalitarianism in Venezuela is booming. The petro, the government-issued "cryptocurrency," doesn't function like a real cryptocurrency and the regime uses it for illegal purposes; it's nothing more than a money-making scheme, Rendon said. As ETHNews has previously reported, the petro was initially billed as a tool to facilitate economic recovery but has instead become another instrument for government control.
Although the petro may be nothing more than a racket, the use of real cryptocurrencies is increasing among everyday Venezuelans. As Rendon and Open Money Initiative founder Alejandro Machado observe:
"The Maduro regime has been tightening controls on the economy and continues to reject humanitarian aid. However, independent cryptocurrencies (as opposed to regime-controlled petro) are enabling censorship-resistant peer-to-peer digital cash transactions."
In light of the government's negative attitudes toward independent cryptocurrencies, let's hope that these new regulations turn out to be as ineffectual as the petro.