- Users of crypto exchanges and other related platforms in Venezuela could face fines of up to $15,000 USD.
- The local regulator has said the government is complying with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
- Binance is one of the most used platforms by residents of the South American country, but it does not yet have an operating license.
The National Superintendency of Cryptoactives (Sunacrip) in Venezuela announced new guidelines in relation to reports of suspicious activity on crypto exchanges and other platforms, as outlined by the National Financial Intelligence Unit in a recently published ruling.
The series of regulations, though they have not yet been passed into law, establish guidelines that must be followed by all users and companies in Venezuela that utilize exchanges, digital wallets, or any other unauthorized cryptocurrency trading platforms.
According to ruling 054, those who fail to comply with these rules could face sanctions due to “lack of authorization”, as outlined in the Constituent Decree on the Comprehensive Crypto Active System.
The Sunacrip regulations include recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in relation to the fight against money laundering, terrorism financing, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction through the use of digital assets and fintech.
The regulator makes reference to the recommendations issued by the FATF on the use of new financial technologies. the document states:
“Countries and financial institutions should identify and assess money laundering or terrorist financing risks that may arise with respect to (a) the development of new products and new business practices, including new delivery mechanisms, and (b) the use of new technologies or technologies under development for both new and existing products.”
It further underlines that “to manage and mitigate the risks arising from virtual assets, countries should ensure that virtual asset service providers are regulated for AML/CFT purposes, and are licensed or registered and subject to effective monitoring systems.”
Platforms subject to regulatory compliance include crypto exchanges, virtual wallets, and P2P trading platforms, as well as the developers of smart contracts, ATMs, virtual prepaid cards, contactless solutions, big data services, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence, among others.
Users and Companies Warned of Sanctions
The measures instated by Sunacrip could affect Venezuelan users of leading crypto exchange Binance, which is one of the most used in the country, despite the fact that the platform’s operations in the country are not yet approved by regulators. Even so, Binance P2P acts as an important reference to determine the parallel exchange rate of the Venezuelan bolivar to the U.S. dollar.
Another exchange platform with significant user volume in Venezuela is LocalBitcoins, which competes with Binance and other service providers.
Regarding the sanctions that may be levied against violators of the new regulations, article 42 of the Constituent Decree on the Comprehensive Cryptoactive System establishes that "those who operate or carry out any type of activity related to the constitution, issuance, organization, operation and use of Crypto assets or sovereign crypto assets, including mining, without the proper authorization of the governing body will be sanctioned with a fine”.
The amount of the fine would range between 100 and 300 petros (approximately USD 15,000), the digital currency issued by the Venezuelan government. Additionally, the Sunacrip regulations stipulate that those who "use social networks to promote, or promote scams with the use of crypto actives, would also be investigated for suspicious activities."