Taking It to the Next Level: El Salvador Starts Mining Bitcoin by Using Volcano

© AP Photo / Dado RuvicA representation of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken January 8, 2021
A representation of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken January 8, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.10.2021
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The Central American nation has become the first country in the world to embrace Bitcoin as an official currency. President Nayib Bukele said the move would bring economic development, financial inclusion, and investment. However the government’s decision has prompted criticism and led to mass protests.
El Salvador has started mining bitcoin, harnessing energy from a volcano, the country’s president has announced. President Nayib Bukele posted a series of statements as well as video on Twitter showing employees at a geothermal power plant mining cryptocurrency. He captioned the video with a volcano emoji.
He then tweeted a screenshot of the project’s progress, saying that El Salvador had officially harnessed energy from a volcano in order to get the cryptocurrency. So far, the country has managed to mine 0.01083155 BTC or $516.
The president didn’t elaborate on how many machines were being used, which volcano the power plant in the video was harnessing energy from, or how much electricity the plant managed to get from it. During the summer, Bukele revealed that he had instructed the state-owned electric company LaGeo SA de CV to come up with a plan on how to mine bitcoin using cheap and renewable energy.

El Salvador is often dubbed as the land of volcanoes so it doesn’t come as a surprise that choice fell on them.

"A fully renewable, untapped energy resource has been put to work strictly because of bitcoin. Bitcoin is the greatest accelerant to renewable energy development in history”, said bitcoin mining engineer Brandon Arvanaghi.

In order to popularise the use of the cryptocurrency, the government has launched its own virtual wallet "Chivo", which offers free transactions and allows quick cross-border payments. According to President Bukele, more than a quarter of El Salvador’s 6.5 million population is already using Chivo.

"2.73 million people already using @chivowallet. 180 new users every minute (users not downloads). 1 million dollars in remittances being received every day", he wrote on Twitter.

Critics of the government insist that the adoption of bitcoin as the country’s legal tender will bring instability to El Salvador given the cryptocurrency’s volatility. Thousands of people took the streets of in the middle of September to protest the government’s decision.
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