Crypto Exchange Uphold Cuts Off Venezuela Due to 'Complexity' of US Sanctions

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7d ago2022-06-23

U.S. sanctions have forced cryptocurrency exchange Uphold to shut off Venezuela—officially this time.

In an update to its website’s help center, the U.K.-based exchange noted that it was shutting down its support for Venezuela due to "increasing complexity of complying with U.S. sanctions."

"We are taking this step very reluctantly,'' a statement from the company noted, adding that Venezuelan users must withdraw their funds as soon as possible. Users will have until July 31 to empty the Bitcoin and other crypto assets from their account wallets and will have their accounts completely restricted as of September 30.

Uphold stated in an email to users that it plans to return to Venezuela "as soon as changes in U.S. policy allow."

U.S. sanctions against Venezuela have been a critical barrier to the emergence of cryptocurrency businesses in the country, despite the nation boasting one of the highest cryptocurrency adoption rates in the world. Back in 2020, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange Paxful made a similar decision to exit the country.

"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 platform said in a statement shared with Decrypt at the time..

Venezuelans react to Uphold's departure

As expected, the decision has already sparked reactions from Venezuelans. Anibal Garrido, a Venezuelan crypto asset advisor who had experience using Uphold as a "fast, secure and comfortable" exchange, said that it was regrettable that Uphold was forced to leave Venezuela for political reasons.

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