Monday, February 26, 2024

Uphold Exchange Cuts Off Venezuela Due To US Sanctions Complexity

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The Uphold exchange cuts off Venezuela because of the US Sanctions complexity, two years after the users in the country reported issues with the expanded sanctions so let’s have a closer look at today’s latest cryptocurrency news.

The US Sanctions forced crypto exchange Uphold to shut off Venezuela officially and in an update to the website help center, the UK-based exchange noted that it will shut down its support for the country due to the increasing complexity of the US Sanctions and its compliance. A statement from the company noted that Venezuelan users have to withdraw their funds as soon as possible and they are taking these steps very reluctantly. Users will have until July 31 to empty the BTC and other assets from their account wallets and will have their accounts restricted by September 30.

Uphold Exchange stated in an email to the users that it plans to return to Venezuela as soon as changes in the US policy allow. The US sanctions against Venezuela were a critical barrier to the emergency of the crypto businesses in the country despite the nation boasting the highest crypto adoption rate in the world. Back in 2020, the P2P exchange Paxful made a similar decision to exit the country, and the platform noted in a statement:

“Due to concerns about the regulatory landscape around Venezuela and Paxful’s own risk tolerance, we regret to inform that Paxful will cease operations in Venezuela.”

The decision already sparked reactions from Venezuelans and Anibal Garrido a Venezuelan crypto asset advisor who had experience using Uphold as a fast and secure exchange, said that it was regrettable that the exchange was forced to leave the country for political reasons:

“It is an unfortunate move that highlights that reliance on centralized systems has its consequences. I call on users to reflect on the importance of self-custody of crypto assets.”

Venezuela Government, tax, cryptocurrency,

The decisions put an end to the uncertainty that Venezuelan users faced in a few waves of sudden account closures. By 2019, several Venezuelan users had their accounts blocked after complying with the company’s demands for KYC details. The people in Venezuela suspected that the account closures were the result of additional sanctions that were imposed by the US. The Uphol CEO Juan Pablo Theriot was asked whether the US sanctions were impacting the company’s ability to do busienss in Venezuela and he added:

 “Uphold is fully committed to complying with the laws that apply in each of the jurisdictions in which it operates.”

With the departure of Uphold, the people of Venezuela lose another option to exchange cryptocurrencies and receive remittances but there are still other secure alternatives. Among the best known are the P2P exchange platform LocalBitcoins and the Binance P2P market, decentralized exchanges like Uniswap, and the state-owned platforms like PetroApp and Patria but also crypto exchanges that are authorized by the governemnt to operate in the country.

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