The Secret, Dangerous World of Venezuelan Bitcoin Mining

While Bitcoin mining may sound like a Ponzi scheme, it has become a lifeline for those living in countries like Venezuela that have been decimated due to socialism. Bitcoin mining is a process that provides the computational power and security required to run this decentralized currency network. To start mining, anyone can purchase a special type of internet-connected computer that runs difficult computations at high speeds. Though it has almost nothing in common with mining for gold, the end result is the same: Participants are awarded with currency—in this case, newly minted bitcoins.

It has become a popular vocation in Venezuela in part because the country’s economy is in such dire shape. Even computer scientists and skilled technical professionals can’t reliably find work. Next year, the unemployment rate is expected to climb above 20 percent. A new article from the Reason Magazine details this new form of employment and tells the stories of those using it to survive.

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