The President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, has invited bitcoin miners to take advantage of new facilities to be set up at a state-owned geothermal, electric company specifically for the industry.
“Our engineers just informed me that they dug a new well, that will provide approximately 95 [megawatts] of 100% clean, 0 emissions geothermal energy from our volcanos,” Bukele shared on Twitter. “Starting to design a full Bitcoin mining hub around it.”
The idea to use El Salvador’s volcanoes as a power source for Bitcoin mining apparently arose in a Twitter Spaces chat room hosted by Coin Metrics cofounder Nic Carter. The chat room held conversations around Bitcoin, mining, and how the largest cryptocurrency has a high penetration in developing countries, as Carter said in an interview.
In particular, El Salvador’s recent approval to make bitcoin legal tender in the country happened while the chat room was being held. Bukele joined the chat room live from the country’s assembly while the vote occurred.
Bukele is moving fast to increase Bitcoin adoption in his country. He announced that El Salvador would be declaring bitcoin as legal tender on June 5 in a video recorded for the Bitcoin 2021 conference, and the country’s government approved the bill only four days later. On the same day, Bukele shared that he had already contacted the country’s geothermal electric company to make arrangements for bitcoin miners to enjoy cheap, clean, renewable energy that emits no greenhouse gases. Engineers dug the new well in a matter of hours.
Bukele’s moves might present opportunities for the Bitcoin mining industry at a particularly good time. Chinese miners, for instance, are experiencing a strong state crackdown on the sector, and might be encouraged to take advantage of El Salvador’s cheap and clean geothermal energy and relocate their rigs to Central America. Bitcoin mining acts as a purely free market and the geographic location of miners is determined in a game-theoretic way — while one country may ban it, another can always welcome it.
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