El Salvador’s President sent shockwaves through the crypto world when he declared last weekend that he wanted to make Bitcoin legal tender in the small Central American country. Now the President is supposedly exploring all options to mine Bitcoin and that includes using power from the countries volcanoes.
I’ve just instructed the president of @LaGeoSV (our state-owned geothermal electric company), to put up a plan to offer facilities for #Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos 🌋
This is going to evolve fast! 🇸🇻 pic.twitter.com/1316DV4YwT
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) June 9, 2021
President Bukele — who is looking to lower transaction fees on the $6 billion in yearly remittances sent to its citizens from abroad — has yet, however, to reveal when the new operation will be live or how many Bitcoins he expects to be able to mine. He said that the country’s “engineers just informed me that they dug a new well that will provide approximately 95MW of 100% clean, 0 emissions geothermal energy from our volcanos.” The President added that geothermal electric firm LaGeo will be developing the Bitcoin mining strategy.
China has long been home to more than half the world’s bitcoin miners, but now, Beijing wants them out ASAP. In May, the government called for a severe crackdown on bitcoin mining and trading, setting off what’s being dubbed in crypto circles as “the great mining migration.” —cnbc.com
Some of these miners are now looking at Texas, Wyoming, and El Salvador.
Bybit, one of the biggest crypto derivatives exchanges, said it would hire a geologist to “research the processes of volcanic eruptions” and “study how volcanic energy can be harnessed for Bitcoin mining.” The firm’s job application was posted on Twitter Thursday and retweeted President Bukele’s volcano announcement. It isn’t clear whether Bybit will be working closely with El Salvador on the research.
El Salvador’s President said last Saturday in a pre-recorded video at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami that he would send a bill to the country’s congress to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender.
El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly passed a bill just days later. The idea has been criticized by banks, economics and even the IMF—but the crypto world has largely praised the move.
Bitcoin already was legal to use in El Salvador but its acceptance was voluntary, so the legislation passed late Tuesday now requires all businesses — except those without the technology — to accept payment in bitcoin.
Many Salvadorenos flee the country north to the US in search of better economic opportunities and to escape the high levels of gang violence in the country. Those living in the US often send remittance payments back home. Last year, El Salvador received $6 billion in remittances from Salvadorans living abroad last year—about 16% of the country’s gross domestic product. Part of Bukele’s plan is to get migrants in the US using Bitcoin as a method of sending remittance payments, which he says will cut costs.