Food for Thought
Hyperinflation has been one of the products of a political crisis in Venezuela that has led to people searching for alternative means to buy necessities. Bitcoin mining has come to the rescue as the citizens take advantage of cheap electricity.
Earning up to about $500 a month through mining, many citizens are getting by on the digital coin as they bypass electricity costs and ditch fiat currency.
While Bitcoin has already rocketed in the country due to the financial crisis, other alternatives have been sought - including Ethereum. Still, it is because of a heavily subsidised electricity market that regular citizens are putting time and effort into mining Bitcoin.
The current President, Nicolás Maduro, has made electricity so cheap that it is essentially free, thus the usual cost of running mining equipment is negated and it has become far more profitable for citizens in the crisis.
With about $500 profit available with this subsidised electricity, it is considered a small fortune for the crisis-riddled country.
The citizens mining Bitcoin have found it feasible enough to run a number of machines at once through the month to reach such targets.
However, this is still a risky operation for citizens as there has been a cracking down on such activity - digital currencies are unregulated and operating in a grey area.
There are no laws on Bitcoin, either promoting or banning it, but it’s clear that legislature and the police force are not too keen on crypto activities.
Reports suggest that miners are being arrested on spurious charges, and as such, it is causing more of an underground market to bloom as they hide out, as well as try to mine currencies like Ethereum for greater reward with higher risk.