What Happened: Only a day after passing a bill to make Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) a legal tender in El Salvador, the nation appears to be moving towards harnessing renewable energy from its volcanoes to mine the cryptocurrency.
The country’s president Nayib Bukele said in a Tweet that he had instructed a state-owned geothermal electric company to put up a plan to offer Bitcoin mining facilities with 100% renewable energy.
Our engineers just informed me that they dug a new well, that will provide approximately 95MW of 100% clean, 0 emissions geothermal energy from our volcanos 🌋
Starting to design a full #Bitcoin mining hub around it.
What you see coming out of the well is pure water vapor � pic.twitter.com/SVph4BEW1L
— Nayib Bukele � (@nayibbukele) June 9, 2021
Only two hours after his initial announcement, Bukele said, “Our engineers just informed me that they dug a new well, that will provide approximately 95MW of 100% clean, 0 emissions geothermal energy from our volcanos.”
The process is reportedly already in motion to design a Bitcoin mining hub around the site.
Why It Matters: El Salvador has 23 active volcanoes, and geothermal energy contributes more than 20% of the energy consumed in the region, according to a report, which also confirms the nation uses only a third of its 644 MW resource potential.
Bukele’s swift execution also came as a surprise to many, as the president said he was only just starting to think of it late on Tuesday night.
“We’re not thinking of [bitcoin] mining,” he said in a Twitter Spaces chat, adding, “but we can do something to promote mining, of course. And we have some right now thinking of it, I mean, I haven’t thought of it – but right now thinking of it.”
One of the call’s participants was Fred Thiel, CEO of US-based Bitcoin mining giant Marathon Digital Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:MARA), who commented on Bukele’s announcement.
“I was on the call last night. Congratulations. My company is one of the largest publicly traded US bitcoin miners (NASDAQ:MARA) and founding member of the Bitcoin Mining Council. I am very interested in speaking with your team re mining using geothermal energy in El Salvador (sic),” he said.
Price Action: Bitcoin traded 8% higher following the news, reaching $36,905 at the time of writing. The leading cryptocurrency saw a 4% increase in trading volume, which reached $49.7 billion over the past 24-hours.