The President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, has invited bitcoin miners to take advantage of the new facilities to be built in a state-owned geothermal and electricity company specifically for the industry.
“Our engineers just told me that they have dug a new well that is around 95 [megawatts] of 100% clean, emission-free geothermal energy from our volcanoes, ”said Bukele on Twitter. “Beginning to develop a full Bitcoin mining hub around it.”
The idea to use the volcanoes of El Salvador as a source of energy for Bitcoin mining apparently originated in a chat room of Twitter Spaces, which is hosted by Coin Metrics co-founder Nic Carter. The chat room held talks about Bitcoin, mining and how the largest cryptocurrency is widely used in developing countries, as Carter said in an interview.
In particular, El Salvador’s recent consent to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender in the country came during the chat rooms. Bukele joined the chat room live from the country’s assembly while the voting was going on.
Bukele is moving quickly to increase the adoption of Bitcoin in his country. In a video recorded for the 2021 Bitcoin conference, he announced that El Salvador would make Bitcoin legal tender on June 5, and the country’s government approved the bill just four days later. On the same day, Bukele announced that he had already contacted the country’s geothermal electricity company to make arrangements so that Bitcoin miners can enjoy cheap, clean, renewable energy that does not emit greenhouse gases. Engineers dug the new well within a few hours.
Bukele’s moves could, at a particularly opportune time, offer opportunities for the bitcoin mining industry. Chinese miners, for example, are experiencing strong state crackdowns on the sector and could be encouraged to take advantage of El Salvador’s cheap and clean geothermal energy and relocate their drilling rigs to Central America. Bitcoin mining functions as a purely free market and the geographic location of the miners is determined by game theory – while one country can prohibit it, another can always welcome it.