Reports Reveals USDT Is Being Used in Venezuela to Facilitate Settlements and to Avoid Sanctions – Chainalysis has found that in countries such as Venezuela, the use of dollar-pegged stablecoins like Tether’s USDT is primarily driven by concerns about inflation and currency devaluation. However, local analysts have recently uncovered another use case for USDT.
They report that a few companies are now using USDT as a payment method for foreign customers and providers who are reluctant to use traditional payment methods due to the risk of being subject to sanctions. According to Juan Blanco, who serves as the director of local consulting firm Bitdata consultants, a significant number of companies whose identities are unknown are using USDT to settle commercial exchanges.
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A portion of the cash flow involved in these transactions originates from firms located in Asia and Russia. Blanco stated: “There are things that are being produced in Venezuela with great value that are traded in USDT. The little that is exported, due to the issue of the blockade, leaves the country through the free and independent mechanism provided by the blockchain to pay for goods and services.”
Despite not being specifically targeted, Venezuelan SMEs are affected by sanctions, as stated by Luis Gonzalez, the manager of Cashea, a local financing hub. Gonzalez explained: “With the sanctions they restrict us, who have nothing to do with political issues. Access to international transfers, currency, means of payment and suppliers is limited. Obviously, most payments are made abroad and in foreign currency. The only alternative that we have had is the use of USDT.”
Bloomberg reported in 2019 that the central bank of Venezuela was considering the use of ether and bitcoin to pay providers of PDVSA, the state-owned oil company, as a means of bypassing sanctions. More recently, in October, the Department of Justice indicted two oil brokers and five Russian nationals for using USDT as part of a scheme to purchase equipment for the Russian military and sell Venezuelan oil. According to the indictment, at least one transaction involving the sale of 500,000 barrels of crude oil may have been settled using USDT.
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