The Bolivarian National Guard of Venezuela has confiscated 315 Antminer S9s from an individual suspected of running an illegal block reward mining operation. The value of the equipment is estimated to be around $79,000, and the fine the individual could face for operating an unregistered block reward mining operation in Venezuela is $18,000.
En el PAC “Peaje Guayana” del @GNB_BolivarD625, se retuvieron 315 máquinas Bitcoin que eran transportadas en un camión 350, por no poseer la permisología emitida por la Superintendencia Nacional de Criptoactivos. #6Jul #FANB GNBCuidandoDelPueblo #CuarentenaRadicalPreventiva pic.twitter.com/d9dJGgThLw
— GNB BOLÍVAR (@GNB_CZBolivar) July 6, 2020
Block reward mining in Venezuela
In December 2017, block reward mining was legalized in Venezuela. However, operators need to register with the government and secure a license from the Superintendencia Nacional de Criptomonedas (Sunacrip), Venezuela’s authoritative body for digital currency which distributes permits to block reward miners in the country that have received government approval.
This isn’t the first seizure
This isn’t the first time the Venezuelan government seized ASIC mining hardware. In September 2019, the Venezuelan police detained two individuals after they found a total of nine Bitmain S9 and T10 mining rigs in their vehicle. After an investigation, the police discovered that the two individuals did not have the “proper documentation” to run a block reward mining operation and seized their equipment.
Is it worth the risk?
Local news outlet Criptonoticias claims that even when individuals do have a government license that allows them to mine digital currency, they are often extorted or threatened by local police.
According to one report, many state officials participate in the extortion and illegal seizure of mining equipment. One individual with a government license to mine digital currency said that it is not uncommon for him to receive visits from police officials, who ask several questions about his mining rigs and then demand that he give them (police officials) cash so that they do not have to seize his equipment.
It is well-known that the political atmosphere and economy in Venezuela are unstable. When that is the case, it is not uncommon for state officials to be corrupt and do things like wrongfully take digital currency mining equipment.
The individual who reported the visits from police officials also said that as a licensed block reward miner in Venezuela he never knows what will happen tomorrow or the next day, regardless of his government license that permits him to mine digital currency.
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