Venezuelan Sunacrip Tightens Its Grip On Transactions Conducted Through Unlicensed Exchanges

According to the document, using unapproved platforms might be considered suspicious conduct, and clients could face penalties of up to $15,000 if they do so.


Picture illustration of Venezuela and Bitcoin. Photo credit:

Picture illustration of Venezuela and Bitcoin.Photo credit:

A Venezuelan cryptocurrency watchdog Sunacrip has issued a new internal providence that defines the guidelines it will follow in dealing with reports of suspicious activity related to fintech platforms. 

The Venezuela cryptocurrency watchdog is also attempting to gain a better understanding of how Venezuelans use cryptocurrencies and other assets through fintech platforms. 

The provision, which is an internal document signed by Joselit Ramirez, the organization’s head, aims to incorporate various Financial Action Task Force (FATF) instructions into the organization’s work processes to detect money laundering and terrorism financing schemes. Venezuela is currently not a member of the FATF as a result of international sanctions.

According to the document, using non-authorized exchanges may be regarded as a warning signal that should be submitted to the national financial intelligence organization for investigation and sanctioning. 

While the document does not specify what fines might be imposed for these offences, another related statute does, establishing penalties of up to $15,000 for using crypto assets without authorisation.

Disrupting Crypto Adoption

The decision indicates that these new rules may affect users of exchanges such as Binance, which, although being widely utilized by the country’s crypto community, lacks official registration and accreditation with the institution. To avoid the sanctions, users of the exchange may migrate to other platforms. 

Sunacrip cancelled the licenses of two exchanges in January and told the public about the ones that had been approved by the organization, leaving some big names like Binance out. Ramirez warned people not to use the illicit swaps at the time.

However, this rule affects more than just cryptocurrency exchanges. Fintech platforms and fiat currency exchange services that operate in the country would also be covered by this provision. 

Raul Velásquez, a Venezuelan lawyer and cryptocurrency enthusiast said the national financial intelligence unit has the authority to demand information from both crypto and bank institutions. 

“Fiat on and off-ramps are particularly vulnerable to surveillance. However, this is a very costly and hard undertaking for the government institutions,” news quoted him as saying.

He observed that the document had not been published in the country’s official gazette, even though this was a requirement for all documents of this nature.


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