Popular peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin exchange Paxful is shutting down its operations in Venezuela, in a move seemingly made to comply with U.S. economic sanctions against the country.
According to Bitcoin.com, a Paxful spokesperson has revealed the exchange is now restricting the creation of new accounts, and closing old ones from the country as part of the shutdown process. Venezuelans who have proved they live outside of the country by verifying their address are able to keep on trading on Paxful.
The spokesperson added:
Current users will have 30 days to withdraw their funds without fees and will be notified directly via email on how to do so.
The cryptocurrency exchange cited the strict regulations from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as the reason behind the move, which them says “comes with great disappointment,” as it had to protect itself against potential punitive outcomes.
The Paxful spokesperson added that the firm’s own risk tolerance has seen it cease operations in the country despite it making its “best efforts for several months.” In a video published on social media, the firm thanked its Venezuelan users.
According to OFAC sanctions, U.S. citizens are prohibited from doing business with the Venezuelan government or any other government-owned business, among other restrictions. Data from Useful Tulips notably shows that in the country, over the last seven days, about $25,000 in BTC were traded on Paxful.
In comparison, on rival P2P exchange LocalBitcoins over $4.5 million were traded on Venezuela during the same period. Paxful noted that if things change regarding the country, it will re-enter the market.
Featured image via Pixabay.