The Venezuelan government outlaws mining of Bitcoins (BTC) in any state-owned public housing projects due to ‘high electricity consumption’ and ‘disruption of the national grid supply.’ However, a group of critics on the moving state the problems facing electricity in the country are inherent to the government’s negligence.
Venezuela cracks down crypto mining in public housing
In an official address to the nation, Venezuelan Minister for Housing and Habitat, Ildemaro Villarroel, stated the government is putting up a blanket ban on mining equipment of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in public housing.
In the video, provided by state-owned channel VTV, Villarroel stated the conservation of electricity as a primary reason for implementing the ban. The ban covers houses owned by the government in the Gran Misión Vivienda project. The minister stated,
“The installation of cryptocurrency mining machines has now been prohibited as per the [amended] Great Mission Housing Venezuela housing plan.”
The Venezuelan Ministry of Energy recently released a report claiming crypto mining negatively impacts the electricity supply and consumption in state-built housing developments. In a similar tone, the minister added,
“We have detected the harmful effects of these elements of high electrical demand in the public houses of the Gran Misión Vivienda project.”
The Grand Housing Project of Venezuela launched eight years ago during the Hugo Chavez era. The project aimed to build public housing for the less fortunate in society. The government also introduced its national cryptocurrency, oil-backed Petro, in a bid to fight the hyperinflation in the country.
Critics against the mining ban
On the other side of the ban, critics are rising, stating the high electricity consumption and national grid faults are primarily due to the government’s negligence in building a better local electricity grid. The mining proceeds in the country is expected to reduce following the ban (crypto mining across the country remains legal).
Recently, the Venezuelan Army confiscated 315 Bitcoin miners (Bitmain’s Antminer S9s) in a truck due to no legal permit was issued by the National Superintendency of Cryptoactive. Investigations are ongoing.