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Venezuela Closes Crypto Mining Facilities and Exchanges Amid Corruption Investigation

Venezuela has shut down cryptocurrency mining facilities and exchanges nationwide as part of an ongoing corruption investigation involving the national oil company PDVSA.

Flag of Venezuela and Bitcoin logo
Flag of Venezuela and Bitcoin logo

The Shutdown of Crypto Mining Facilities

Venezuela's energy supplier has closed crypto mining facilities nationwide due to a reorganization of the national crypto department and ongoing corruption investigations involving the nation's oil company, PDVSA.

Affected Regions and Crypto Exchanges

Local media reports and the National Association of Cryptocurrencies indicate that mining facilities were shut down in the states of Lara, Carabobo, and Bolívar. Some crypto exchanges were also ordered to cease operations. The exact number of affected firms remains unclear.

Alleged Corruption Involving Oil Company

The ongoing investigation into corruption within Venezuela's oil company, PDVSA, and the national crypto department is believed to be the reason behind the closure of crypto mining facilities. Government officials have allegedly been running parallel oil operations with the assistance of the national crypto department.

Arrests and Charges

Attorney General Tarek William Saab has reported that at least ten individuals, including Joselit Ramirez Camacho, who led the crypto department since 2018, have been arrested in connection with the investigations. Camacho was apprehended on March 17 during the study.

U.S. Most Wanted List and Ramirez's Connections

Since June 2020, Joselit Ramirez Camacho has been listed on the United States Most Wanted List, with a bounty of up to $5 million for information leading to his capture. Ramirez is alleged to have strong ties to suspected narcotic kingpins, including Tareck El Aissami, the former vice president of Venezuela.

Reorganization of the National Crypto Department

President Nicolás Maduro announced the reorganization of the National Superintendency of Crypto Assets in a decree issued on March 17. The administration claims that the decision aims to protect the country's citizens from the negative effects of economic sanctions, among other reasons.