Venezuela was one of the first Latin American countries to establish its own crypto oversight body, the National Superintendency of Crypto Assets (Sunacrip). Now, the government says it will take six extra months to ‘reorganize” the entity, which de-facto stopped its work in March 2023.
According to the presidential decree, published on Sept 19, the head of State, Nicolás Maduro, ordered the extension of the period of forced reorganization of Sunacrip for another semester. 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 the corruption scandal involving its former top management. At the time at least ten people were arrested, including Joselit Ramirez Camacho, who led the crypto department from its inception in 2018. According to Venezuelan prosecutors, Ramirez stole more than $3 million from the state during his time at Sunacrip. He was in charge of overseeing the crypto regulation in the country, as well as the implementation of Venezuelan national cryptocurrency tied to oil reserves, Petro.
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The shutdown of the regulatory body led to chaos in the Venezuelan crypto industry, firmly tied to the state, which has been using digital assets to evade the U.S. financial sanctions — crypto mining facilities in several states were shut down, and some crypto exchanges were ordered to cease operations.
Sunacrip was established by the Venezuelan government in 2018 to inspect the entirety of crypto-related commercial activities in the country and the “creation, emission, transfer, commercialization and exchange” of all crypto actives.
In 2018, the country launched the oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro. By the summer of 2023, there were reports that the government planned to liquidate the currency, however, its official webpage is still functioning at time of publication.