According to a local media report, the Venezuelan armed forces seized 315 Bitmain S9 miners from a local BTC miner. According to officials, the miner did not have the required documentation to possess such equipment in the country.
Venezuela’s Complex Relationship with Crypto
The recent development highlights the complex relationship that Venezuela has with the crypto sector. In the country, electricity rates are extremely low. However, it is quite difficult to be a crypto miner, and problems with the authorities are quite common.
In the latest incident, the Venezuelan National Guard seized the ASICs from a local miner who was moving them to Ciudad Guayana, a town within the country. The commander of the district where they were seized claims that during a routine check on a truck going through a checkpoint, they found the miners.
The driver was asked to produce a permit, which is necessary due to the quarantine in place because of COVID19. However, the driver did not have a permit and the officials had to inspect his cargo. The authorities came across the 315 Bitmain S9 ASICs and asked the drivers for permits needed to own and operate them. However, he did not have any permits. They seized the miners and the case was referred to the National Superintendence of Cryptoassets and Related Activities.
Crypto Mining in Venezuela
Crypto mining in Venezuela remains a popular venture. It is a profitable way to earn USD, which is possible because of the cheap power in the country. In the recent past, officials have begun cracking down on the practice. They claim that BTC mining has opened the floodgates for price speculation of the value of the USD. Besides that, they claim that it makes it hard to enforce financial controls within the country.
While this has been happening, President Maduro has been promoting the use of the Petro, a state-backed digital currency. To give legal backing to the Petro, the Maduro government has taken legislative steps as well as the issuance of executive orders.
In Venezuela, crypto mining is legal. However, miners have to register with the National Registry. However, some fear that disclosing information with the registry would make them the target of criminals.