Free Minds & Free Markets

Four Bitcoin Miners Arrested in Venezuela

Three men and one woman were charged with "electricity theft" and "internet fraud."

Source: Twitter |||Federal police in Venezuela today arrested four bitcoin miners in the town of Charallave. Three men and one women were accused of "electricity theft" and "internet fraud." The news, which was reported earlier today by Venezuela's leading bitcoin news site, CriptoNoticias, was first announced on the Instagram feed of Douglas Rico, who's the director of the Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas Penales y Criminalisticas (CICPC), a federal police agency.

The arrested miners were identified as Néstor Rafael Amundaray Precilla (57), Ana Cecilia Farias Villanueva (25), Kevin David Ojeda Díaz (26), and Alberto José Zapata Orta (23).

In a statement attached to his Instagram post, Rico said that they were running "more than 300" bitcoin mining computers and selling them in Cúcuta, a Colombian town near the Venezuelan border, which is known as a place where Venezuelans go to freely trade bolivars and dollars without abiding by the government's strict currency controls.

Rico also claimed that the miners' actions had affected "the consumption and the stability" of electricity service in Charallave.

These four individuals aren't the first Venezuelans bitcoin miners to be arrested. In 2015, José Perales, 46, and Joel Padrón, 31, were arrested by the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN), which is the country's secret police force, and held for three and a half months.

As I argued in a January 2017 feature story, bitcoin mining is turning Venezuelan "socialism against itself:"

[T]he main factor driving Venezuelans to take up bitcoin mining is a price control put in place by the socialist government: Electricity is virtually free.

Bitcoin mining requires a lot of computer processing power, which in turn requires a lot of electricity. In most of the world, utility bills eat into the cost of mining. In places where energy prices are high, it can even be a losing proposition. But in Venezuela, the government has turned bitcoin mining into something akin to owning a home mint.

Price controls, of course, invariably lead to shortages, and the country's frequent electricity outages create constant headaches for bitcoin miners. But they've also come up with workarounds, such as locating their operations in industrial zones, where electricity service is generally uninterrupted.

Since bitcoin mining is a process, in effect, of converting the value of electricity into currency, Venezuelan miners are engaging in a form of arbitrage: They're buying an underpriced commodity and turning it into bitcoin to make a profit. The miners have turned socialism against itself.

Read the whole thing.

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  • ||

    Check on the left in the second photograph: wood.

  • ||

    And I bet I could hook that up, too.

    "Hey baby, I live in America and have a job and a house and a bunch of food in my refrigerator that I never touch because we eat out every night. Let's go."


  • BakedPenguin||

    I've got toilet paper and air conditioning!

  • ||


    Living in Venezuela doesn't push the specific datapoint decidedly into the 'crazy' part of the crazy/hot matrix?

    I would half expect her to be offended that you can live in such opulence and just expect people to behave like you want them to while Venezuelans are starving.

  • ||

    She looks to be a reporter interviewing police officers in a police state. I'd presume she's got all the cock to gobble that she could possibly want.

  • ||

    Looks that way to me, too.

  • ||

    Can't you just be happy for her?

    Your cock has no marginal utility.

    Not that you're aware of.

  • ||

    Have you asked her? Maybe she wants HPV. Then my cock would have utility for her.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Left and Right. Twofer

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Electricity theft? I thought all that stuff was free.

  • Fuck You - Cut Spending||

    Free but rationed.

    Like Obamacare.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Cúcuta, a Colombian town near the Venezuelan border, which is known as a place where Venezuelans go to freely trade bolivars and dollars without abiding by the government's strict currency controls.

    Squeeze harder. That'll help.

  • waffles||

    This is why the dread pirate roberts kept going south to retire in Patagonia.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Electricity is virtually free.

    I guess they found out what the limit of "virtually" was.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    This is the worst thing that's ever happened in Venezuela.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Worse than Sean Penn's arrival in country?

  • Jerryskids||

    Like the Soviet farmers buying bread to feed their hogs because the subsidized bread was cheaper than hog feed. How stupid do you have to be to not be able to figure out that other people aren't as stupid as you?

  • AlmightyJB||

    "accused of 'electricity theft' and 'internet fraud.'"

    How can you steal something that is free? Where is the fraud at?

  • ||

    "bitcoin mining is turning Venezuelan "socialism against itself:"

    Umm, socialism is turning Venezuelan socialism against itself. It's what socialism does, no bitcoin banditos required.

  • Fk Censorship||

    You know who else arrested people and accused them of messing around with the money supply?
    (Am I doing this right? I am fairly new here)

  • Buy Bitcoin India||


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