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El Salvador mines $300 of bitcoin using the power of a volcano

·2-min read
Bitcoin is experiencing a strong price recovery at the start of October 2021 amid positive news in the crypto space (Getty Images)
Bitcoin is experiencing a strong price recovery at the start of October 2021 amid positive news in the crypto space (Getty Images)

El Salvador, which last month adopted bitcoin as legal tender, has mined some of the cryptocurrency using the heat from a volcano.

President Nayib Bukele tweeted that 0.00599179 bitcoin, or about $269, was mined.

“We’re still testing and installing, but this is officially the first #Bitcoin mining from the #volcanode”, he said.

On Tuesday, the president also tweeted a 25-second video that showed government-branded shipping containers of bitcoin rigs, and technicians installing the miners. In El Salvador, nearly a quarter of its domestic energy production comes from geothermal energy.

This is not the first time that volcanos have been used for bitcoin mining; Iceland has used geothermal energy to mine the crypto currency for years. There, as well as in Norway, nearly 100 per cent of all energy production is renewable, and cryptocurrency miners are taking advantage of cheap hydro-electric and geothermal energy to power their machines.

The low temperatures in the countries also help reduce costs by cooling the computer servers naturally.

President Bukele had instructed state-owned geothermal electric company, LaGeo SA de CV to make facilities for bitcoin mining cheap, tweeting in June that it would be 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos” and that this was going to “evolve fast”.

LaGeo SA de CV to “put up a plan to offer facilities for #Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos.”

The political state of El Salvador is not smooth, however. President Bukele recently declared himself a dictator as protests broke out against him. Many protesters said they were marching to defend democracy and stop violations of the constitution, amid allegations that the president has too much power and has weakened El Salvador’s courts’ independence.

Chivo cash machines, which are linked to bitcoin transactions, were set ablaze in the country on 15 September.

Prior to that they also suffered numerous glitches, unable to send money to relatives abroad or buy a cup of coffee in the country.

While El Salvador is keen to adopt the cryptocurrency, an analysis by the Science, Technology and Innovation Institute at Francisco Gavidia University said that the investment the government made in buying 550 bitcoins had already lost money.

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