In Venezuela, the Bolivarian National Guard of Puerto Ordaz confiscated up to 315 Bitcoin mining machines made by Bitmain. The confiscation was because the miners did not have the required permits to own and run the machines. They did not have the right to transport the machines during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
According to the current Venezuelan laws, those who want to do Crypto-mining activities have to get the necessary permits from the government office in a unit called the National Superintendence of Cryptoactives. Those who do not oblige to the set laws are liable for punishment, which is in terms of being fined and their machines getting seized.
The seizure was made official on Monday by commander Adolfo Rodriguez Cepada on Twitter, citing the reason for seizure is the lack of permits. The machines got caught when a driver was found carrying them in the Chevrolet 350 truck with no permit or sufficient explanation on the Guyana Toll point, on Monday afternoon. The Venezuelan government is also serious on the lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19; hence it is against long-distance journeys. That made the driver be also on the wrong side of the law for violating the quarantine measures.
The main machine that was seized is the Antminer S9s, which is Bitmain’s last generation miner. Contrary to expectation, the machine is not that profitable despite contributing to up to 23% of Bitcoin’s hash rate in May. The Antminer S9s machines have dropped in prices, and currently, you can get then from $100 to $300. Since they were 315 machines, they could fetch a good amount of money. It is still not clear who were the former owners of those machines. Many miners still prefer new generational machines are they are more efficient. The older generation mining machines have been affected after the halving events making them unprofitable. From the older generation, the preferable machine, which is also the most profitable one, is the BItmain’s Antminer S11.
The fines charged are hefty and amounts to up to $18,000, depending on the kind of offense done.
Venezuela is at the forefront when it comes to Bitcoin mining and adoption in general. Analysts predict that the US may get into a hash war with Venezuela and Iran, which will make Bitcoin’s price spike. There are also chances that other countries may follow the lead in terms of enacting laws for Bitcoin Mining.