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El Salvador mines BTC with volcanic energy: is this the answer to environmental issues with mining?

El Salvador mines BTC with volcanic energy: is this the answer to environmental issues with mining?

Last updated 12th Apr 2022
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El Salvador has officially mined the first bitcoin using volcanic energy, President Nayib Bukele announced. Almost a quarter of El Salvador’s power market is geothermal. Bukele shared a screenshot of a mined bitcoin on Twitter, explaining that it was the first bitcoin mining the volcanode.

Volcanic energy mining was planned months ago

On Tuesday, the president of El Salvador announced that the country would begin to use volcanic energy for bitcoin mining. He uploaded a short video showing images of workers for state-owned geothermal electric company LaGeo, which will power mining machines, Coindesk reported. The workers were connecting mining rigs among other things. Back when El Salvador’s congress approved the adoption of bitcoin as legal tender in June, the president instructed the company to give bitcoin miners access to the country’s volcanic resources.

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An effort to improve financial inclusion

Only 30% of Salvadorian citizens have access to financial services, Bukele said in a Twitter Space conversation hosted by Nic Carter of Coin Metrics. Using a government wallet won’t be necessary, he assured. During the same conversation, Bukele said legislators were working on a new law that would grant anyone who invested three bitcoins into the country’s economy permanent residence.

El Salvador recently passed a bill requiring all businesses to accept bitcoin as payment for goods or services. However, the government will hedge against the risks of the volatile cryptocurrency. The Development Bank of El Salvador will set up a trust to instantly exchange bitcoin for USD to cover merchants’ risk, Bukele said. It will hold about $150 million. 

The president explained:

“If there’s an ice cream parlor, he doesn’t really want to take the risk, he has to accept bitcoin because it’s a mandated currency, but he doesn’t want to take the risk of convertibility, so he wants dollars deposited in his banking account, when he sells the ice cream, he can ask the government to exchange his bitcoin to dollars. Of course, he can do that in the markets also, but he can ask the government to do it immediately.”

The answer to environmental concerns

The Latin American country’s use of geothermal energy might be the answer to the search for a reliable source of clean energy to mine bitcoin. It has 20 “potentially active” volcanoes, which account for almost a quarter of the country’s energy supply.

Daniela Kirova

Daniela Kirova

Daniela is a writer at Bankless Times, covering the latest news on the cryptocurrency market and blockchain industry. She has over 15 years of experience as a writer, having ghostwritten for several online publications in the financial sector.