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Russia Secretly Helped Venezuela Launch a Cryptocurrency To Evade US Sanctions (time.com) 109

According to an exclusive report by Time, Russia helped Venezuelan officials create the world's first state-backed cryptocurrency to skirt U.S. sanctions. The cryptocurrency was launched in late February and was banned by the Trump administration earlier this week. From the report: The new cryptocurrency, a form of digital cash that is supposedly linked to the value of Venezuela's oil reserves, was launched on Feb. 20 during a ceremony in the presidential palace in Caracas. Nicolas Maduro, the socialist leader of Venezuela, declared that it would serve as a kind of "kryptonite" against the power of the U.S government, which he sarcastically referred to as "Superman." Sitting in the front row at that ceremony were two of Maduro's Russian advisers, Denis Druzhkov and Fyodor Bogorodsky, whom the President thanked for aiding his fight against American "imperialism." Both men have ties to major Russian banks and billionaires close to the Kremlin. But they were not the most senior Russians involved. According to an executive at a Russian state bank who deals with cryptocurrencies, senior advisers to the Kremlin have overseen the effort in Venezuela, and President Vladimir Putin signed off on it last year. "People close to Putin, they told him this is how to avoid the sanctions," says the executive, who spoke to TIME on condition of anonymity. "This is how the whole thing started."
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Russia Secretly Helped Venezuela Launch a Cryptocurrency To Evade US Sanctions

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  • But... but... but... Hillary Clinton lost the election and the only people who care about Putin's involvement in Venezuela's cryptocurrency are butt-hurt snowflakes who can't accept that their candidate lost.

  • They seem to be doing a great job of getting them to hook up with Russia. They're also keeping food and medicine out of the country. I'd like to say that at least we're not supporting a dictatorship, but that ship kinda sailed when Trump congratulated Putin on his victory. Helping the Saudis bomb Yemen isn't helping either. We don't have a lot of moral ground to stand on in that theater.
  • You know its not the government that will suffer, I hope it helped some people there. Why cant people just fucking get along...
  • Evade US sanctions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @09:24PM (#56302077)
    If the goal was just to evade US sanctions based on dollar, why not just trade oil in ruble or yuan?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Cause itâ(TM)s a failed state, and everything is a shit-show.

      How many have died, or will die of starvation now? Anyone keeping track? Nahhh, fucking media doesnâ(TM)t care. But the stench of rotting bodies will eventually waft to neighboring nations.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Oil is just not worth much for some reason.
      Venezuela needs oil to be much more expensive all the time to fully support its failed Communist government.
      • by LordWabbit2 ( 2440804 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @06:28AM (#56304077)
        And America needs to be constantly at war to help support its failed Democracy.

        Democracy is an awful way to run a country, but it's the best system we have. - Winston Churchill

        Although I have trouble understanding how only having two political parties to vote for makes a "Democracy".
        Especially since your guvment have been slowly chipping away at your own constitution for decades, next will be the right to bear arms. Most (if not all) of your nutters who shoots up a school was flagged as a potential risk, but NOTHING was done. WHY? So they can point at the violence and deaths and say, "See, guns are bad, only we the guvment should have them".

        America, the land of the not so free.

        Reagan shut down a LOT of mental institutions and all those nut jobs have been roaming the streets, it's a recipe for massacres as has been proved again and again, yet NOTHING is done. WHY?

        • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @09:57AM (#56304967)

          Democracy is an awful way to run a country, but it's the best system we have. - Winston Churchill

          If you're going to quote someone, quote them properly (or at least say your paraphrasing or from memory).

          "Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time" - Winston Churchill, 11 November 1947.

          The full quote is:
          "Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.â¦"

          • Fair enough, I would just like to point out

            "Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time" - Winston Churchill, 11 November 1947.

            If you are going to quote someone, quote them properly, with the full quote, and not some paraphrased version.

        • Yeah ok ivan
          • I don't get it? Is calling me a commie about the worst insult you can manage? I suppose if I was a brainwashed American I might be mortally offended, but all I am really getting offended about is your lack of capitalisation. I also find it highly amusing that in your so called democracy with it's vaunted freedom of speech as soon as I say anything you don't like your response is something akin to a five year old's "you're a doodoo head". Where is the reasoned discussion? The counter argument supported
    • If the goal was just to evade US sanctions based on dollar, why not just trade oil in ruble or yuan?

      It's simple: the sanctions are not based on any specific currency. This bypasses the sanction because "petro" is not a (recognized?) currency.

      I would however like to point out that Venezuela has put itself in a precarious position because any motivated nation-state could easily perform a 51% attack on "petro" and utterly destroy it.

      • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

        I would however like to point out that Venezuela has put itself in a precarious position because any motivated nation-state could easily perform a 51% attack on "petro" and utterly destroy it.

        I'm guessing the blockchain is closed, so Venezuela can control how many clients connect to it. I don't think the Petro is designed for regular people to use, but as a method for the government to do forex trading with other countries.

    • Because oil is traded in dollars internationally. Russia and China want to end that monopoly (ie control) by introducing another way to trade oil. This has been in the works for a while, looks like it's finally coming into fruition. It will be interesting to see what the value of the dollar is when countries start dump it back into circulation instead of keeping it to buy oil. Hyperinflation here we come! Just a pity that it's going to cause chaos worldwide when it's cheaper to wipe your ass with a hun
    • They still want to trade in usd, that’s why. Ruble and rmb are shit.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Where would journalism be without them?

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @10:36PM (#56302561) Journal

    Their citizens have suffered enough already. Why focus on one dictator when the world is full of them?

    I'm glad Putin did it, even though he's an asshole in general, just like I'm glad Trump reduced H-1B "body-shop" application approvals even though I disagree with most his other stances. I'll give kudos to jerks when they accidentally do right.

    • Papers please Comrade..

      • So fucking what, at least they will have food and medicine. Do you honestly think you are making friends of the innocent people suffering because you want to force your brand of government on them. In fact, why do you not have sanctions against China? They are communist after all, is it because they own half of America? Or is it because you have to buy 90% of everything from them because you no longer have the manufacturing facilities? So, pick on Venezuela instead. What about Zimbabwe, or all the oth
    • Not disagreeing with your sentiment (e.g. if Trump pulls the NK thing off), but don't you think that this will enable the continuation of the Venezuelan government which is ultimately responsible for its peoples' suffering?

      • I haven't seen any evidence that these sanctions or lack thereof have any impact on the lifetime of any given regime. There are plenty of heavily sanctioned regimes which continue for quite a while, and plenty of unsanctioned regimes which were overthrown.
    • Who gave America the right to overthrow dictators? The puppet government that gets installed afterwards by the US is not exactly democratic anyway. "But the people voted!" you say, well if all it took was some Russians spamming stuffs on the internet to alter the US election I don't have much faith in the vote of the "sheeple". Maybe what the world needs is a couple more dictators, instead of ass lickers who start wars to get votes. Libya was a paradise under Gaddafi compared to the "democratic" shit h
    • that's why. They thumbed their noses at global oligarchy by giving a lot of their oil money to the people at large. Chavez also seized land that was being left fallow for no reason (and did it in spectacular fashion, the well to do were declaring the land was worthless to avoid property taxes. He went to them and demanded they sell them the land at the value they'd declared or pay the back property taxes and fines from lying to the tax man).

      Tl;DR: We're making an example out of them to support a politic
      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        I'm not saying they are angels, I'm only saying we should bud out of their business and stop harassing them with bans etc. There's dozens if not hundreds of other dictatorship nations that we don't give a hard time to. If they point weapons at us, that's another matter. Maybe they'll start if we agitate them enough.

  • To put them in place Obama had to claim Venezuela was a threat to the United States. [reuters.com] Even a habitual liar as gifted as Obama had to struggle with that one.

    And meanwhile, we're still merrily selling tens of billions in weapons to Saudi Arabia at a time. You know, the country where almost all the 911 hijackers were actually from, and a sponsor of jihadist groups across the middle east.

    • Obama is a professional liar like every lawyer, it was not habitual nor was he gifted at lying.
      After being elected to office, any politician trying to be popular MUST lie and since they are paid and maintain their job hinging upon that skill; therefore, politicians are professional liars.

      National Security is the last resort excuse to justify anything and to the paranoid people with wild imaginations anything is honestly possible. Multiple cogent arguments can be made against Venezuela's threat... I disagree

      • Correction: Venezuela is no real threat, I messed up that sentence. Point was that there are different perspectives which can result in logical honest conclusions. The perspectives can involve lies or just be false and obviously dishonest people are involved in creating bubbles of alternative realities for others as a way to control them. This doesn't just happen at Fox News or at that scale. We do it on small scales with people we know-- facebook is loaded with people feeding distorted images of themselv

  • Secretly? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @08:37AM (#56304549)
    The Russians secretly helped Venezuela by sitting in the front row at the launch ceremony. Good catch TIME

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