Venezuela Begins Charging for Crypto Remittances

By Warren Hayes | February 12, 2019

Venezuela has started regulating local cryptocurrency remittances with payable commissions of up to 15% on the amount to be remitted. A monthly cap has also been imposed on the remittance amount equivalent to 10 Petros (PTR), Venezuela’s controversial national crypto, or about $600.

The National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Activities (Sunacrip) announced (Feb 8) the implementation of these new regulations for crypto transfers published in the country’s Official Gazette No. 41.581, which sets out “the requirements and procedures for the sending and receiving of remittances in crypto assets to natural persons in the territory,” Sunacrip explained.

The minimum commission charged by Sunacrip for a transaction is EUR0.25 ($0.28) as written in the gazette. Any amount to be remitted in excess of 10 PTR a month will require Sunacrip’s permission, up to a maximum of 50 PTR ($3,000).

These new rules are just the latest in a quick succession of crypto related regulations that have come into force recently in a country beset by a deep ongoing domestic political crisis, massive hyperinflation of its fiat bolivar, and dubious ambiguity over the creation and use of the Petro.

On Jan 31, Venezuela established a legal framework for crypto containing 63 articles including rules for buying and selling, use, distribution, and exchange of crypto and related products. It also set up a registration system with audit procedures, and penalties for non-compliance. Sunacrip’s powers were also expanded.

Sunacrip Superintendent Ramirez Joselit then announced on Feb 5 that further regulation for the “Integral Registry of Services in Crypto Assets (Risec)” had officially taken effect such that “natural, legal, public and private persons, communal councils and other organizations of the People’s Power that intend to carry out activities related to the Integral System of Crypto Assets may be registered”. Sunacrip is in charge of Risec.

Political turmoil in Venezuela has been escalating, so much so that BBC noted as many as more than three million Venezuelans have quit the country in recent years. Its hyperinflation rate reached 1,300,000% in the 12 months ending in November 2018. By the end of last year, prices doubled an average of every 19 days, with a cup of coffee in Caracas costing 400 bolivars ($0.62).

Unsurprisingly then for many Venezuelans who have turned to adopting crypto as a means to protect their money, the new remittance rules have not gone down well at all. Bitcoin News noted that Venezuelans on Twitter have called them “absurd”.

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