The Atlantic has reported that Venezuelan bitcoin mining continues despite government efforts to crack down on miners. Venezuela has long suffered from extreme hyperinflation, inspiring many Venezuelans to mine cryptocurrency to supplement their incomes.
Bitcoin Mining Is Gaining Popularity in Venezuela in Part Due to an Abundance of Cheap Electricity
With the annual inflation rate expected to reach 1,600 percent, Venezuelan bitcoin mining is likely to grow in the short term. Recent reports have indicate that the Venezuelan government has been initiating a crackdown on cryptocurrency mining, motivated by concerns that bitcoin may comprise a more attracting means of exchange than the Venezuelan bolivar.
Bitcoin mining is gaining popularity in Venezuela in part due to an abundance of cheap electricity. Despite many Venezuelans struggling to access basic commodities such food, most citizens are able to afford the power required in order to mine cryptocurrencies.
“People Haven’t Stopped Mining… They’ve Just Gone Deeper Underground” – Rodrigo Souza, Founder of Blinktrade
The first attempt made by authorities to crack down on Venezuelan bitcoin mining was the arrest of Joel Padron. Padron is the owner of a courier service who started mining bitcoin in order to supplement his income. It is reported that Padron was arrested and “charged with energy theft and possession of contraband and detained for 14 weeks”. Since then, numerous mining operations have been targeted, with The Atlantic alleging that in some instances “corrupt police” have stolen mining hardware “for personal profit”.
Rodrigo Souza, the founder of Blinktrade – the parent company to Venezuelan bitcoin exchange Surbitcoin, has stated that the Venezuelan bitcoin miners remain undeterred despite the hostilities from authorities. “People haven’t stopped mining… they’ve just gone deeper underground,” Souza told The Atlantic.
The Atlantic has also reported that ethereum mining is increasing in popularity in Venezuela. One ethereum miner told reporters that “mining ETH or bitcoin is pretty much the same principle: using free electricity to generate cash… but ETH mining is more affordable – all you need is free software and a PC with a video card. Any police officer is easily fooled into thinking your ETH miner is just a regular computer.”
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