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How Will El Salvador Mine Bitcoins From Volcanoes?
El Salvador will soon be making Bitcoin a legal currency, making it the first country to do so, The Guardian reports. As per the new law passed by the country, citizens will be allowed to use Bitcoin to do everything, from paying taxes and clearing debts to purchasing goods.
El Salvador president Nayib Bukele said that the new move would help people who do not have access to bank accounts and people who want to transfer money back from another country. However, the move has been criticized for being more show than substance.
Bitcoin Won't Stop Other Currencies
While the cryptocurrency will go official within three months, it might not be the only functional currency in the country. It will work besides the US dollar, which is currently the country's only currency. However, Bukele wants the citizens to think of money in terms of Bitcoins and not dollars.
The law also requires the authorities to provide "the necessary training and mechanisms" for citizens to access transactions that involve cryptocurrency. Besides, the resolution also notes that people will be able to convert between the two currencies at any point in time, and US dollars "will be used as the reference currency."
I’ve just instructed the president of @LaGeoSV (our state-owned geothermal electric company), to put up a plan to offer facilities for #Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos 🌋— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) June 9, 2021
This is going to evolve fast! 🇸🇻 pic.twitter.com/1316DV4YwT
Mining Bitcoins From Volcanoes
President Nayib Bukele has also set up a plan for mining Bitcoins. He has instructed a state-owned geothermal electric company to leverage geothermal energy from volcanoes for mining the cryptocurrency.
With geothermal energy, such as the one El Salvador is planning to use, the volcano's heat will vaporize the water underground, creating a rush of powerful steam that will make the turbines spin and produce electricity.
There's has been a lot of backlash on the environmental impact of mining Bitcoins using heavy computing methods. Experts have suggested that the underlying network to mine Bitcoin is now eating as much energy as Argentina. Crunching complex puzzles to mine cryptocurrencies consumes a huge amount of computing power.
As per an analysis by the University of Cambridge, the bitcoin network consumes more than 121 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year, which would put it among the top 30 electricity consumers worldwide, if it were a country.
Renewable Energy Is The Key
Experts have also suggested that for the clean production of cryptocurrency, access to cheap renewable energy might be the key. It would attract more miners to produce Bitcoins without consuming huge amounts of electricity. Countries like Iceland and Norway have already seen a spike in miners using cheap hydroelectric and geothermal energy to fire up their mining rigs.
The high cost of mining has led to companies seeking cleaner and cheaper ways to mine digital currency. Bukele has noted that engineers from El Salvador have dug a new well that can provide around 95 MW of 100% clean geothermal energy with zero emissions from volcanoes.