Venezuela’s National Guard seized 411 ASICs — equipment created specifically for mining cryptocurrencies — in two operations carried out over the weekend, according to information from the website Últimas Notícias.
The first operation took place in a house located in the city of Barinas where 79 machines of the Innosilicon T2 model, dedicated to bitcoin mining, were confiscated. At the scene, four men suspected of belonging to a criminal group known as “Los Mineros” were arrested.
A second operation stopped a truck on the road in the municipality of Agua Blanca carrying 332 bitcoin ASICs, 140 of which were from the AladdinMiner brand, 136 Antminer S9J and 56 more from the Innosilicon T2 model. The truck driver who was destined for Valencia, the capital of the state of Carabobo, was arrested on the spot.
According to information provided by the authorities to the local press, the subjects were arrested for possessing mining equipment that did not have a license issued by the National Superintendence of Cryptoactives and Related Activities (Sunacrip).
The accused were also unable to present the invoices to prove the legality of the equipment. The Public Ministry was informed about the operations to take the necessary measures.
Bitcoin Mining in Venezuela
Mining activity is not prohibited in Venezuela, however, miners need authorization from Sunacrip’s regulators to operate in the sector.
The government of the country’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro, regulated the mining of cryptocurrencies at the end of last year and determined that any individual or organization that intends to mine bitcoin and other altcoins in the country must have authorization.
From the standard, the state became responsible for overseeing the entire sector, such as determining the spaces that mining farms can occupy, inspecting the importation and sale of equipment, and even the repair of parts.
In addition, mining is prohibited in government-granted residences. The state-owned electricity company, Corpoelec, also sets specific tariffs for those who mine cryptocurrencies.
Because of this set of rules, many miners prefer to remain illegal and work without a proper license. In April, the country’s police authorities carried out an operation similar to the one that took place over the weekend and seized 76 bitcoin mining machines.