Authorities seized more than 400 Bitcoin miners in Venezuela this weekend in two major seizures. Local reports suggest military personnel confiscated 332 miners from a truck. In another procedure, the authorities seized 72 miners who were hidden in a house. These activities resulted in the arrest of four people. Mining in Venezuela is perfectly legal, but requires permits and licenses from Sunacrip.
400+ miners confiscated
Authorities in Venezuela seized more than 400 mining machines in two separate events last weekend. In the first, 332 miners were arrested at a checkpoint in the Portuguese state: 56 Inosilicon T2s, 136 Antminer S9J-14.5Ts and 140 Aladdinminers. These miners were transported from one town to another by truck. Authorities also arrested the truck with the cargo.
In another case, authorities seized 72 miners hidden in a house in Barinas state. Military officers arrested three people present at the time. All miners arrested belonged to a criminal organization, the reports say. The seized miners are now owned by Sunacrip, Venezuela’s national cryptocurrency watchdog.
This is not the first time such massive seizures have occurred in the country. Authorities also seized 499 bitcoin miners in Barinas state five months ago. Military personnel, who were made aware by inconsistencies in the documentation, confiscated another 76 miners last April.
Missing licenses and permits
Although there have been horror stories about Bitcoin mining in Venezuela, the activity is technically legal. However, this does not mean that the police and military play nice with miners.
According to the authorities, the miners lacked the necessary permits to both operate and transport these machines. Sunacrip, the national cryptocurrency watchdog, issues these permits, and miners must register their activities and machines with the organization.
Still, some miners prefer to go underground and excavate without a permit in order to escape government supervision. There is still a lack of trust in certain mining communities in institutions that avoid registering in order to remain anonymous. Although there are no official figures, some believe that most miners are still lacking these licenses and are prone to these regulatory issues.
Since the introduction of the Petro in Venezuela, the first national cryptocurrency, the government of Nicolas Maduro has tried to present the cryptocurrency with a friendly face. But on the mining side of the equation, some miners are still reluctant to work openly.
What do you think of the recent seizures of mining platforms in Venezuela? Let us know in the comments section below.
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