According to the Venezuela Inteligente digital rights advocacy group, the Venezuelan government has blocked access to the American cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and the MercaDolar payment platform.
Venezuela Inteligente director Andres Azpurua said Venezuela had previously blocked cryptocurrency exchanges, especially those that allow Venezuelan bolivars to be exchanged for foreign currency.
Aspurua is not overly concerned about the blocking of Coinbase, as there are many other marketplaces available to Venezuelans. The country’s authorities did not explain the reasons for such close attention to Coinbase and why they decided to block access to this particular marketplace.
On August 28, Venezuela’s Internet service providers also blocked VPN operators Tunnelbear and Psiphon, but this did not affect their performance. Aspurua suggested that the unstable political situation in the country and the increasing pressure of the American authorities on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro could be the reason for the blockages.
Venezuela began to actively use cryptocurrencies due to US sanctions. Last year, Maduro ordered the Bank of Venezuela to begin accepting the state-owned Petro cryptocurrency (PTR), pegged to oil, and issued an order to open Petro terminals in all branches of the country’s central bank. In August, it became known that Venezuelan citizens will be able to pay taxes with this cryptocurrency. Furthermore, according to recent research Chainalysis, Venezuela has entered into the top three on the use cryptocurrency.