Two Cryptocurrency Exchanges Shut Down in Venezuela
Venezuela’s government has shut down two cryptocurrency exchange operators—both allowing customers to convert between a number of bolivars and cryptocurrencies and to send the remittances abroad—under its “Operation Paper Hands”.
The Operation Paper Hands started up with a new phase this week. According to Tarek William Saab, the country’s Prosecutor General, this week, the team has dismantled three illegal remittance houses—Airtm, Intercash, and Rapidcambio. Talking about the operation, he said:
Operation Paper Hands is the largest anti-litigation procedure in the country’s history. So far 112 people have been arrested, of whom 107 have already been brought to court.
He then went ahead and explained the operation:
“…seeks to take action against individuals and companies that have incurred misappropriation, [and] dissemination of false information about the exchange rate…1,382 bank accounts have been frozen in which a sum exceeding 711,967 million bolivars [~US$10.6 million] has been blocked.”
He indicated that in additions to the actions mentioned, he has requested 40 new arrest warrants, 104 raids, and the blockade of 247 bank accounts.
Out of Airtm, Intercash, and Rapidcambio, Airtm supports conversion of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Monero, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Tether, and Zcash. The other two engage in exchanges between bolivars and cryptocurrencies. Rapidcambio allowed its customers to send and exchange remittances using Ripple, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and Litecoin.
In response to the actions of the government of Venezuela, Rapidcambio posted a notice on the official website of the exchange telling users that it “always demonstrated its responsibility, honesty, seriousness and a true commitment to providing a service to all Venezuelans who are abroad.”
The cryptocurrency exchange further emphasized that it had never intended to fix market prices and that the exchange rates it used were always governed by the law of supply and demand. In conclusion, Rapidcambio said:
“Unfortunately we are in need to close our operations indefinitely due to the unjust persecution to exchange houses in Venezuela by the National Government.”