The Venezuelan military says it has intercepted a truck full of 315 cryptocurrency mining rigs.
Per a tweet from the army’s official account, which also posted photos of the Chevrolet 350 truck – and its illegal cargo – the driver was unable to display any permit or provide sufficient explanation as to why they were transporting the giant haul of Antminer 9 rigs through the Guyana toll point in Southern Venezuela on Monday afternoon.
En el PAC “Peaje Guayana” del @GNB_BolivarD625, se retuvieron 315 máquinas Bitcoin que eran transportadas en un cam… https://t.co/IoT0lER2MO
— GNB BOLÍVAR (@GNB_CZBolivar)
Criptonoticias, which also reported on the story, wrote that the nation has been placed under strict coronavirus lockdown measures that prevent drivers from embarking on long-distance journeys, and that the driver was initially sanctioned for quarantine violations.
But when Guardia Nacional Bolivariana soldiers checked the truck, they were surprised to find the Antminer 9 rigs, which the driver had no ownership papers for. Since the bitcoin (BTC) halving event earlier this year, such rigs have fallen in value, with many miners preferring newer-generation mining hardware.
However, Criptonoticias wrote that the rigs do still have a significant market value, and that 315 such machines could fetch up to USD 79,000.
The army said that it has handed the case over to the country’s National Superintendency of Cryptoassets and Related Activities (known locally as Sunacrip), the nation’s cryptocurrency regulator.
Fines for failing to obtain registration permits for owning or operating crypto mining equipment can reach the USD 18,000 mark.