Venezuela was one of the first Latin American countries to establish its own crypto oversight body, launching the Superintendencia Nacional de Criptoactivos (Sunacrip) in 2018. However, the government now says it will take six extra months to “reorganize” the entity, which it closed in March 2023.
According to a presidential decree published on Sept. 19, President Nicolás Maduro ordered the extension of the period of forced reorganization of Sunacrip. The period of the new extension officially started on Sept. 17 and will last until March 24, 2024.
Sunacrip was closed in March 2023 when the government announced its reorganization due to a corruption scandal involving its former top management. At the time, at least 10 people were arrested, including Joselit Ramirez Camacho, who led the crypto department from its inception in 2018. According to Venezuelan prosecutors, Ramirez stole over $3 million from the state during his time at Sunacrip. He oversaw the country’s crypto regulation and the implementation of the petro, a Venezuelan national cryptocurrency tied to oil reserves.
The shutdown of the regulatory body led to chaos in the Venezuelan crypto industry, which is firmly tied to the state and has been using digital assets to evade economic sanctions by the United States. Crypto mining facilities were shut down in several states, and some crypto exchanges were ordered to cease operations.
Sunacrip was established by the Venezuelan government in 2018 to inspect all crypto-related commercial activities in the country and the “creation, emission, transfer, commercialization and exchange” of all crypto activities.
In 2018, the country launched the oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro. By the summer of 2023, reports surfaced that the government planned to liquidate the currency; however, its official webpage was still functioning at the time of writing.
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