In a troubled economy, more and more Venezuelans are turning to Bitcoin mining despite risk of arrest by police for theft of electricity.
Bitcoin as an Exit in Venezuela
In 2005, when Randy Brito and his family fled Venezuela, he was only 14. The country’s economy was booming, but many middle class families such as Brito’s chose to leave the country because of widespread nationalizations of private enterprises.
Brito moved to Spain with his family and became a web developer. In 2011, he discovered Bitcoin, and instantly realized the potential of making money by mining bitcoin.
Bitcoin mining is a process where computational power is used to solve a mathematical puzzle while creating a Bitcoin block, with the winner getting a reward of 12.5 bitcoins for each block that they create.
When he started mining in 2011, the reward for each block was 50 bitcoins. Brito made some profits by mining, but more than money, he was interested in the technology behind bitcoin, and in sharing this technology with others.
So he started the website bitcoinvenezuela.com, which today has more than 7,000 profiles from Venezuela. It serves as a hub for the Venezuelan Bitcoin miners, where they share their stories and experiences.
The Troubled Economy of Venezuela
Not many years ago, Venezuela was the top performing economy of South America. Today, the country is witnessing runaway inflation as high as 1,600 percent per year.
People have to wait in long lines for basic goods in government-run grocery stores. Even hospitals have been forced to work with inadequate equipment. People have been hit from all sides in this economy, so it is unsurprising that they are protesting en masse.
Venezuela is a socialist economy, where the government keeps a lot of control on economy and monetary policy. If anyone wants to