The Venezuelan government has continued its internet censorship, with Coinbase digital currency exchange in the US the latest casualty. MercaDolar, a fiat payment platform, was also blocked, according to reports.
Venezuela is famous for internet censorship, with the government working with local ISP providers to block access to websites it does not approve. Digital currency exchanges have been some of the biggest targets, with President Nicolas Maduro trying to use the censorship to drive Petro’s digital currency adoption.
Coinbase is the latest casualty, local digital rights advocacy has revealed. Venezuela Inteligente, an organization that helps Venezuelans avoid internet censorship, revealed that the MercaDolar transmission platform was also banned.
– VE that’s Filtro (@vesinfiltro) September 9, 2020
The ban is nothing new, noted Venezuela director Inteligente Andres Azpurua.
“Venezuela has a history of blocking exchange platforms, especially those used to exchange local currency for foreign currency.”
However, the ban on Coinbase is confusing as there are several other digital currency exchanges available to Venezuelans.
Additionally, Coinbase does not serve Venezuelan users according to its website. The exchange supports eight South American countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, but not Venezuela.
President Maduro’s government recently blocked access to Airtm, a digital currency trading platform that also allows Venezuelans to access much-needed US dollars. The ban had far-reaching effects, one of which was the suspension of bonuses for 60,000 healthcare workers. The workers were set to benefit from $ 18 million seized by the government from opposition leader Juan Guaidó, paid through Airtm.
The founder of Guaidó and Airtm condemned the ban that they claim will deny healthcare workers a lifeline at a time when they are struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Maduro has continued to push for the adoption of Petro digital currency in South America suffering from hyperinflation. In the past it has forced gas stations to accept Petro payments, while also forcing pensioners and retirees to receive Petro bonuses.
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