Venezuela’s ISP Declines Access to Crypto Exhanges amid Political Turmoil

Amidst the political stress under the leadership of Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's ISP's have decided to block access to Coinbase and MercaDolar.

By · Sep 9, 2020 . 7min read

Venezuela's ISP blocks crypto exchanges

The digital rights group, Venezuela Inteligente, revealed that internet service providers (ISPs) in Venezuela has declined access to crypto exchanges. The latter includes Coinbase and MercaDolar. The decision made was under the instruction of President Nicolas Maduro’s government. The Inteligente also mentioned the block via its official twitter account on September 9. However, the move to block the exchange platforms was out late on September 8.

Coinbase is a digital currency exchange. Its headquarters are in San Francisco, California. They provide brokerage facilities to exchanges of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Tezos, and many others, with fiat currencies in around 32 countries. MercaDolar is an online platform that facilitates exchange between U.S. Dollars and Venezuelan Bolivars within an open currency market. MercaDolar equips market-priced, mediated currency opportunities, remittance services, and a secured escrow for its transactions.

Venezuela Faces the Brunt of Politics, thus Coinbase & MercaDolar suffers

The Maduro administration’s reason behind singling these two exchanges is unknown as most exchanges are still accessible in Venezuela. Inteligente Director, Azpurua contemplates the main reason behind denying access to Coinbase and MercaDolar. He states that efforts to control capital over who gets what type of funding in an unstable political climate could be one of the main reasons.

Venezuela’s political climate is approaching a scorching point as the country proceeds to combat the Maduro administration’s corruption. Further, Juan Guaido is the self-proclaimed interim President of Venezuela. Moreover, President Juan Guaido declared a unitary pact supported by a combination of parties requesting intensified international pressure on President Nicolas Maduro as the country heads toward a congressional election in December.

Recently, the Latin American crypto exchange Airtm was appointed to redistribute $18 million seized by U.S. authorities to 62,000 healthcare workers. Moreover, these funds were in accordance with the corruption case, including Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela. However, Venezuelan ISPs blocked access to Airtm, which was distributing aids to healthcare workers.

Earlier, we reported that Chainalysis report, “Hyperinflation and Sanctions Evasion: What On-Chain Data Tells Us About Venezuelans’ Trust in Cryptocurrency,” describes how individuals close to the Maduro regime launder money via peer-to-peer (p2p) crypto trading platforms. Further, the Venezuela’s government potential to produce a cryptocurrency-centric economy appears to be working. However, the Venezuelan government, led by its president Nicolas Madura has earlier leveraged the coronavirus pandemic to develop its cryptocurrency, Petro. 

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