Venezuela to monitor cryptocurrency-related banking transactions in real time

75 bank accounts were blocked this year for being related to cryptocurrencies.

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Venezuela’s Banking Authority (Sudeban) and the Cryptoassets Authority (Sunacrip) will begin to supervise “in real time” banking operations related to bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies, the former said in a statement.

Via Twitter, Sudeban, which is an agency attached to the Venezuelan Ministry of Finance, indicated that, after a meeting held last week, they will coordinate with Sunacrip and the country’s National Financial Intelligence Unit (UNIF) the “supervision mechanisms” of transactions involving cryptoassets.

They allege that this regulatory measure has its origin in alleged “irregular practices” in the country’s economy, which “threaten” the Venezuelan bolivar and the “stability” of the exchange market.

They did not identify what these practices are, but possibly it has to do with the quotation of the parallel dollar. Generally, this indicator is above the rate arbitrated by the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) and is usually used by stores and locals to fix the prices of their products in view of the growing inflation. This, despite the fact that it is mandatory to do so at the BCV rate.

On December 12, Venezuelan President Nicolรกs Maduro asked his followers to “combat” parallelism in the dollar exchange rate. Thus, on December 16, Sudeban undertook an inspection and control of financial entities “to avoid distortions in the price of the dollar in the national economy”.

In the midst of this “fight” of the Sudeban against the parallel dollar, the inclusion of the Sunacrip for the “real time” surveillance of the operations stands out. Although they do not make it clear in their statement, this possibly responds to the growth of the adoption of the Bitcoin ecosystem and cryptocurrencies in the Caribbean nation.

It so happens that this past year there has been an increase in the use of cryptocurrencies. Although there is no official data on this, there are firms such as Chainalysis that claim that stablecoins, which have a 1:1 parity with the US dollar, already occupy 30% of all retail trade in Venezuela.

This means that a significant bulk of retail trade in Venezuela is based on the exchange of stablecoins for bolivars. And for this, banking intervention is necessary, since these are the entities that receive the Venezuelan fiat money coming from trade with these assets.

75 bank accounts blocked for being related to cryptocurrencies

Due to the intervention of banks in the trading or exchange of cryptocurrencies, more than 75 cases of blocking of bank accounts have been reported in Venezuela since 2022 began.

On Monday, December 26, the law firm LegalRocks states that they have attended complaints from natural and legal persons whose bank accounts were suspended for being related to cryptoassets.

Now, these bank blockages and investigations against users date back months. Thus, it is likely that suspensions will continue to be seen in the short term, now that everything seems to point to greater vigilance on the part of Venezuelan regulators.

In any case, Sunacrip has already bet on a greater vigilance of the sector. In fact, the possibility of sanctioning users and companies that use cryptocurrency platforms not regulated by them was even raised.

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