May 22, 2024
Bitcoin News

El Salvador Mines $29M Bitcoin with Volcanic Geothermal Energy

El Salvador has successfully mined 474 Bitcoin, valued at approximately $29 million. This was achieved using geothermal energy generated by the Tecapa volcano. This innovative approach employs 300 mining processors. They are powered by 1.5 megawatts (MW) of the 102 MW produced by the state-owned power plant, according to a Reuters report.

El Salvador became the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal money alongside the US dollar in 2021. Since then, the government has introduced a number of Bitcoin-related regulations, including the construction of a geothermal plant dedicated just to Bitcoin mining.

This initiative positions El Salvador as a pioneer in renewable energy mining amidst growing concerns over the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining, which traditionally relies heavily on electricity and fossil fuels.

Global Scrutiny and Local Support For El Salvador

El Salvador’s bold move to embrace Bitcoin has drawn significant criticism from global organizations such as the World Bank.

The bear market from 2022 to 2023 further intensified scrutiny, with critics questioning President Nayib Bukele’s commitment to Bitcoin. Despite this, Bukele reaffirmed his stance by announcing plans for the country to purchase one Bitcoin daily.

Bukele’s pro-Bitcoin policies did not deter voters; he won the 2024 presidential election with widespread national support. El Salvador now holds a total of 5,750 Bitcoin, worth around $354 million.

Bitcoin’s Environmental Debate

The controversy surrounding Bitcoin mining’s environmental impact is not limited to El Salvador.

The debate has prompted calls from entities like Greenpeace and figures such as New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who signed a proof-of-work mining moratorium into law in November 2023. This law made New York the first U.S. state to ban proof-of-work crypto mining activities for two years.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also voiced concerns, initially incorporating Bitcoin as a payment method for Tesla cars, then reversing the decision due to environmental issues. Musk pledged to reconsider only when more than 50% of Bitcoin mining uses renewable energy.

Recent reports indicate that over 60% of Bitcoin mining now relies on renewable sources, though Musk has yet to implement Bitcoin payments or acknowledge these reports. Tesla is currently facing a lawsuit for violating the Clean Air Act by releasing pollutants from its Fremont factory.

Image by tawatchai07 on Freepik

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