Bittrex International, the Malta-based international division of US-headquartered digital asset exchange Bittrex, is halting operations in Venezuela and 30 other nations.

Bittrex’s management is alerting customers and says the exchange will suspend accounts and trading activity on October 29, 2019.

Bittrex users are being asked to withdraw their funds from the trading platform before that date.

List of Blocked Countries on Bittrex

  • Afghanistan
  • Bosnia-Herzegowina
  • Botswana
  • Cambodia
  • Central African Republic
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Iraq
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Maldives
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe

Reports of Venezuelan citizens adopting decentralized cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin (BTC), to escape the country’s national currency, the Bolivar, which has become useless due to extreme hyperinflation, coincide with record-breaking trading volumes on the peer-to-peer crypto trading platform LocalBitcoins.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who introduced his controversial oil-backed digital currency, the Petro (PTR), in an attempt to circumvent US-led economic sanctions and gain access to new forms of international financing, is reportedly turning to Bitcoin and Ethereum.

In May of 2018, US President Trump issued an executed order prohibiting Americans from executing any transactions involving Petros or cryptocurrencies minted by Maduro.

According to the order,

“All transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in, by a United States person or within the United States, any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018, are prohibited as of the effective date of this order.”

Last year, Bittrex announced the formation of its subsidiary Bittrex International to focus on non-US customers and how to serve them under clear regulatory guidelines. The subsidiary is based in Malta, where policymakers have drafted a legal framework for blockchain-related businesses. Bittrex’s latest actions, however, target several countries that are subjected to sanctions and embargoes by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

List of OFAC Countries Blocked by Bittrex International

  • Central African Republic
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe

Bittrex’s list includes Lebanon, Iraq and other countries identified by the US as hosting organizations and individuals engaged in terrorist activities and corruption.

 

This article was first seen on the Daily Hodl and can be found here: https://dailyhodl.com/2019/10/20/us-headquartered-bitcoin-and-crypto-operator-abruptly-halts-service-in-venezuela-and-30-other-countries/