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Venezuela Police Seize Bitcoin Mining Rigs from Unlicensed Operator

bitcoin mining

In Venezuela, law enforcement authorities have busted an illegal Bitcoin mining operation in the country, as the government continues working to clean up its cryptocurrency space. According to an announcement on Twitter, the Bolivarian National Guard of Puerto Ordaz seized about 315 Bitcoin miners from an illegal company after busting them for not having the required paperwork.

Violating the Country’s Crypto Policies

The tweet explained that the unnamed outfit was working to transport the miners to the town of Ciudad Guayana — a port city in Bolivar state. They were possibly trying to move them out of the country and sell to foreign buyers.

Adolfo Rodriguez Cepeda, the National Guard commander, explained that the military had inspected a truck that was trying to pass through the Guayana Toll — one of the military’s checkpoints on the city outskirts. Officials asked the driver for his permit, as the regional government had placed restrictions on driving due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After being unable to provide a permit, the military inspected the driver’s cargo and found the mining rigs. Per the report, the authorities seized 315 Bitmain Antminer S9 ASICs. The driver was also unable to provide the required paperwork to sell the mining rigs in the country.

Officers subsequently seized the mining rigs and referred the case to the National Superintendence of Cryptoassets and Related Activities (Sunacrip).

Venezuela’s Crypto Efforts Bearing Some Fruit

The document in question concerns a ruling made by the Nicolas Maduro administration last year to regulate the crypto services industry. Last February, the country’s Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information (MIPPCI) published an official gazette which included a “Constituent Decree on the Integral System of Crypto Assets.” The regulation effectively activated a new regulatory framework that required companies working with digital assets to register with Sunacrip.

Any company found violating the registration requirement would pay a penalty equivalent to 10 to 30 petros — Venezuela’s national cryptocurrency.

Enforcements like the arrest reflect Venezuela’s commitment to providing a regulated environment for crypto companies to function. With the government making more avenues for citizens and corporations to spend digital assets in the country, this feat is rather laudable.

Late last month, a leaked post on Reddit speculated that the country’s Administrative Service for Identification, Migration, and Foreigners (SAIME) had planned to accept Bitcoin as a payment method for citizens looking to get official passports.

Soon enough, news of the development reached social media. Less than a day later, Cointelegraph Spain confirmed it in a report. SAIME already allowed payments with the petro as part of the government’s initiative to spur the asset’s adoption. However, before now, the only other acceptable option is to go through the National Bank and make deposits in bolivares.

As for the national digital currency, things also appear to be looking up. Maduro and his administration have been on an aggressive adoption campaign since last July, and it seems to be making some headway.

Early last month, the government announced that about 15 percent of all fuel payments in the country were facilitated with the asset. A separate report from Ultimas Noticias also showed that 40 percent of petro transactions passed through the foreign stations.

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