El Salvador’s president wants to build volcano-powered crypto miners

El Salvador’s president wants to build volcano-powered crypto miners

Bitcoin is heating up — some may say erupting — as the Latin American country plans to tap energy from volcanoes for mining the cryptocurrency.

Nayib Bukele’s plans for crypto in El Salvador are still in motion, with the president now calling for a geothermal power company to make certain facilities available to Bitcoin miners. 

In a Wednesday tweet from Bukele, the president said he would be instructing Mynor Gil, the president of the state-owned electrical company LaGeo, to facilitate Bitcoin (BTC) mining “with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy” from the country’s volcanoes. The firm operates the only two geothermal power plants in El Salvador based in the regions of Ahuachapán and Berlín, with announced plans to construct new facilities in San Vicente and Chinameca.

More than half of the country’s energy comes from renewable energy, with a geothermal power installed capacity — El Salvador is home to 23 active volcanoes — of more than 200 Megawatts. However, reports suggest that El Salvador’s geothermal power potential is closer to 644 MW, meaning LaGeo is currently tapping roughly 31% of the power generation available. According to data from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Bitcoin uses more than 116.7 terawatt-hours of electricity per year.

The mining solution comes in the middle of a long list of pro-crypto actions Bukele has taken over the last several days. At the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami last weekend, the El Salvador president told attendees via recorded message that he would be introducing a bill to make Bitcoin legal tender in the country — a proposal that passed with a supermajority in the nation’s Legislative Assembly earlier today.

At the time of publication, the price of Bitcoin is $36,021, having risen more than 10% in the last 24 hours.

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