Being a bitcoin miner living in Venezuela is anything but a fun experience right now. A lot of miners are genuinely afraid of getting arrested, albeit it remains unclear if these concerns are justified or not. One Reddit user explained how he turned off his mining farm out of fear of repercussions. Unfortunately, selling the bitcoin mining hardware can be a bit of a problem as well.
What is Next for Bitcoin Mining in Venezuela?
That question is proving difficult to be answered in a proper manner. Over the past few weeks, the Venezuelan government has arrested several individuals for their involvement in cryptocurrency mining. It is unclear what charges these people will face in the end, albeit there have been rumors of stealing electricity and even facilitating terrorism operations. That latter part seems a bit farfetched, though.
One Reddit user explained how he decided to stop mining bitcoin altogether, out of concern for potential repercussions. Running 8 Antminers draws a fair bit of electricity, which seems to be the primary reason why the government cracks down on these operations. Electricity is sponsored by the state in the country, yet anyone taking advantage of it is being scrutinized right now.
With charges such as money laundering, terrorism, and computer crimes hanging above one’s head, it is not surprising to learn more people turn off their mining operation right now. Until the situation is clarified, a lot more of these incidents will start taking place. Unfortunately, it is possible we will never get any proper clarification on what the Venezuelan government wants to achieve by going after bitcoin miners, other than reduce the amount of electricity they use.
Another problem that arises in Venezuela is how the people who purchased their mining hardware can’t go ahead and sell it to someone else either. A few people were arrested just last week for selling bitcoin mining equipment, and they are sitting in a jail cell right now. It is evident the government has no love lost for the bitcoin mining ecosystem, albeit that is no reason to come up with bogus charges in the first place.
Although it seems highly unlikely this person would have been arrested in the first place, there is little to no reason to risk it either. High electricity consumption is of great concern to the government, regardless of whether it is obtained legally or through other means. The /r/Bitcoin community came up with some good alternatives, though, albeit not all of them are feasible. Venezuela remains an intriguing country to keep an eye on regardless, that much is certain.
Header image courtesy of Shutterstock