A decree on the crypto asset system in force since 2019 serves as the basis for the recent indication. Public officials who impede or stop operations with Bitcoin will stay in prison for 3 to 5 years.
Venezuelan police officers must receive instructions from the regulatory authorities before conducting any procedure or inspection of Bitcoin miners. According to the National Crypto Asset Superintendency (Sunacrip) of Venezuela, if they do not comply with the respective regulations, they could face jail sentences.
A circular from the Strategic Operational Command of the National Armed Forces explains the procedure to follow in that situation. The provisions of the Constituent Decree on the Comprehensive Crypto Asset System of 2019 serve as the basis for the document.
That law indicates that public officials who obstruct or stop operations with Bitcoin will go to prison for three to five years. That will happen that way unless Sunacrip finds there is a good cause.
The fact is evident in an official announcement that Sunacrip made in early July. The government agency said police would not be able to visit cryptocurrency miners without the presence of regulatory officials.
The National Cryptocurrency Association (Asonacrip) favorably received the recent circular from the Strategic Operational Command of the National Armed Forces. The former is a private entity that brings together Bitcoin miners and other players in the crypto assets industry in Venezuela.
The representatives of Asonacrip stated that Venezuela continues to make progress in the consolidation of the cryptocurrency industry. They recognize Sunacrip as the entity in charge of all the policies of the National Crypto Asset System.
The Circular Seeks to Give Legal Security to Miners
Venezuelan attorney Ana Ojeda, a specialist in activities with cryptocurrencies, gives her opinion on the previously mentioned measure. She believes that it will prevent extortion, unjustified arrests, and theft of equipment, among others. She deduces that the circular seeks to give legal security to the miners that operate in the country.
In September 2020, the government legalized the Bitcoin mining activity in Venezuela. Of course, that implies that miners must register with Sunacrip and receive constant inspections.
Despite the legalization of the mining industry in Venezuela, it has not been free of obstacles to its exercise. For example, in November 2020 and August 2021, all miners in Carabobo State temporarily went offline due to electrical failures.
There have also been seizures of mining equipment from individuals who operated without having the corresponding license. Those are the kinds of situations in which Sunacrip justifies the police conducting operations and arresting miners.
Bitcoin mining is a growing activity in Venezuela, which even has a local private pool. However, national authorities still have to improve the electrical system and the safety of those who work in this field legally.
Governments are increasingly aware of the relevance of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the current world economy. In the case of Venezuela, miners can take advantage of the low cost of the electric energy service in the country.
By Alexander Salazar