Last Friday, a group of Bitcoin miners from the Yaracuy state, in the western center of Venezuela, denounced an alleged case of police harassment. As reported in some forums, members of the security forces have been extorting money from entrepreneurs engaged in the crypto business.
The persecution against people who mine cryptocurrencies is not a novelty in Venezuela. Cases of extortion under threat are abundant despite the willingness of the government of that Caribbean nation to support Bitcoin mining activity.
Almost a dozen cases of intimidation have been recorded so far this year by officials in various Venezuelan entities. Some of the most recent occurred in the states of Bolívar, Carabobo, Barinas and the most recent in Yaracuy. CriptoTendencia spoke with the affected miner of the last of these states to learn details of the event.
Why Are Bitcoin Miners Prey To Officials?
As the Venezuelan Bitcoin miners denounced, the members of various security forces “take turns” to ask them for money illegally. The Yaracuyan miner, who preferred to keep his name anonymous, explains that members of the local police, CICPC and GNB have arrived at his premises, all with the same intentions.
«Two months ago, CICPC officers came to me and they took my money under threat. Then two weeks ago, the local police. Now the National Guard, who tried to get me out of my premises, but I refused to open the door», He related.
He claims that “psychological terror” is the favorite argument of officials. «They threatened to hurt my family if I didn’t give them money».
The miner admits that he does not have the licenses of the National Superintendence of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (Sunacrip). This fact leaves him in illegal conditions, which makes him an easy prey for some officials engaged in acts of extortion.
Asonacrip, an association dedicated to bringing together the country’s miners, made arrangements with Sunacrip to protect the miner during the latest act of aggression. As they published on their social networks, the case would have been resolved in record time.
In that same order, the association called on Bitcoin miners to comply with current regulations. They recalled that mining activity in the country is legal, but must be coupled with the parameters of the State.
«They think we are millionaires»
Bitcoin miners residing in the Yaracuy state, denounced that there is a stigma against them. Some accuse them of being the culprits of the electrical collapse that the country is experiencing. On the other hand, they are accused of becoming millionaires with their machines without contributing anything to the republic. It should be taken into account that in Venezuela there are few who pay for electricity service.
«The mining business is like any other, the equipment is expensive. Recovering the investment is a difficult task. In addition, you have to pay rent, the machines are damaged and the repair is expensive, it is impossible to become a millionaire and even less with the extortionists lurking», He expressed.
The entrepreneur told CriptoTendencia that a meeting of Bitcoin miners from the Yaracuy state will take place this week. The tasks are the legalization of all the farms and the grouping as a union to face the abuses of authority by officials.
Data to take into consideration
- Venezuela is one of the countries with the largest number of farms in the world.
- One of the reasons for the boom in the mining business in that country is the low cost of electricity and internet service.
- According to the authorities of the electricity sector, fees will be applied to Bitcoin miners shortly.
- Although mining is a legal business, few miners have joined Sunacrip.
- In the same way, cases of extortion, threats and intimidation by police forces against miners are becoming more and more frequent.