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Hyperinflation, free electricity fuel crypto-mining boom in Caracas

Section: Daily Dispatches

There's a Crypto-Mining Machine in Every Home in Caracas

By Daniel Cancel
Bloomberg News
Friday, May 25, 2018

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Crypto fever may have cooled across much of the globe, but don't tell that to folks here. They're mining coins like crazy.

One buddy of mine who works in advertising bought a machine, set it up in his home, and told his 20-year-old son to run it 24/7. They're grinding out about $6 a day.

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Another friend, an unemployed programmer, also installed one in his apartment. But the darn thing was so loud that the neighbors complained until he moved it to his parents' home across town. And still another friend invested with his family in three machines. They're now clearing $1,000 a month. That's a small fortune here.

Heck, even the $6 a day is half-decent money in a country mired in a horrific economic depression.

One key to my mining pals' success: electricity, while spotty, is basically free, the result of an odd combination of hyperinflation and government-mandated utility price freezes. It'll cost you 900,000 bolivars -- or about 90 U.S. cents at the black-market rate -- for a coffee, pastry, and juice at a cafe, but you can pay your monthly electricity, water, gas, internet, and phone bills for about 300,000 bolivars. ...

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