Major Venezuelan cryptocurrency exchange SurBitcoin has announced temporary suspension of its activity after its bank account was closed by the state’s largest bank. The reason for the intervention has not been disclosed but it is rumoured that the authorities’ recent tight stance towards bitcoin mining businesses might be to blame.
Following the shutdown, SurBitcoin has appealed to clients to withdraw their cash and cryptocurrency balances. According to the notice, the exchange expects “to resume operations in approximately 2 weeks.”
Meanwhile, Venezuelan police authorities have arrested four miners and taken four more into custody. In addition, they have clamped down on a bitcoin mining facility with 11,000 machines, making two further arrests on the grounds of cybercrime and electricity theft.
Rodrigo Souza, founder and CEO of SurBitcoin, commented on the situation, “When it was found that there were 11,000 mining computers consuming energy to power a whole town at a time when there are severe electricity shortages, it triggered a reaction. […] Our bank is revoking our account because it doesn’t want to be involved. We are currently reaching out to other banking partners.”
The current financial crisis in Venezuela has brought about an increasing rate of bitcoin adoption, especially after the Bolivar lost value against the American dollar.