Venezuelan Bitcoin miners have been forced to shut down their operations amidst an anti-corruption investigation, according to a recent report. The country’s cryptocurrency mining industry has been under scrutiny after allegations of corruption and illegal electricity usage. The government has been cracking down on illegal miners recently, and some legal operators have been caught up in the sweep. The situation highlights the challenges faced by the cryptocurrency industry in Venezuela, which has long been plagued by economic and political instability.
Venezuela Orders Bitcoin Mining Halt Amid Corruption Probe
Authorities in Venezuela have asked local Bitcoin mining operators to temporarily stop activities while investigating a massive corruption scheme that could have led to as much as $20 billion being drained from the national oil and gas company, Petróleos de Venezuela. Some individuals believed to be part of President Maduro’s inner circle are suspects in the crime involving the state-owned oil and natural gas company, one of the world’s top hydrocarbon exporters.
Large-scale BTC miners in Venezuela will need to turn off their machines due to the corruption case that has shocked the nation. According to reports, between $3 billion and $20 billion are missing from Petróleos de Venezuela, and some of the leaders of President Maduro’s political movement are suspected to have had a hand in the corruption scheme.
Besides the Bitcoin mining operators, other cryptocurrency businesses, including exchanges and payment platforms that hold SUNACRIP licenses, have also been urged to halt activities during the investigation. The National Anticorruption Police have started to inspect domestic bitcoin mining firms to find links between them and the corruption leaks in the energy sector; law enforcement agents have been checking whether the miners have the required authorization and up-to-date documentation.
It is worth noting that several of those licenses were issued by Joselit Ramírez, Chairman of SUNACRIP, and Rajiv Mosqueda, who heads SUNACRIP’s digital mining operations. Both men are under police custody for their alleged participation in a scheme to steal from Venezuela’s energy affairs. There is no word on when Venezuelan crypto entities can resume operations or how long the investigation will last, but some speculate that President Maduro might restructure SUNACRIP or create a new regulatory agency from scratch.
In a similar vein, the US Department of Justice has accused cryptocurrencies of helping to facilitate other illegal activities in Venezuela. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) suggested that many high-ranking Venezuelan officials, including President Maduro, have acted as leaders of the notorious “Cartel of the Suns” that abused locals and corrupted domestic institutions to facilitate the importation of massive quantities of drugs into the United States. Attorney General William Barr announced the charges, and he urged that corrupt Venezuelan officials not be allowed to use the US banking system to facilitate criminal schemes beyond South America.
In conclusion, the Venezuelan government’s decision to halt local crypto activities during its corruption investigation could result in a significant loss for Bitcoin mining operators in that region. However, stopping cryptocurrency scams and fraud is a necessary evil to promote honest activity in the industry.