El Salvador mines 474 Bitcoin using geothermal volcanic energy

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El Salvador currently holds 5,750 BTC worth $354 million, accumulated over three years.

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El Salvador mines 474 Bitcoin using geothermal volcanic energy

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El Salvador has mined a total of 474 Bitcoin worth $29 million using volcanic geothermal energy since 2021.

The Bitcoin (BTC) was mined with power from the country’s Tecapa volcano, using 300 mining processors. The country has allocated 1.5 megawatts (MW) to cryptocurrency mining out of the 102 MW produced by the state-owned power plant, according to Reuters.

In the face of increasing scrutiny over BTC mining’s reliance on electricity and fossil fuels, El Salvador has emerged as a pioneer in renewable energy mining.

In 2021, El Salvador made history by becoming the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender alongside the United States dollar. Since then, the government has adopted several Bitcoin-focused policies, including establishing a geothermal plant to mine BTC.

El Salvador now holds a total of 5,750 BTC worth around $354 million.

Since 2021, global organizations such as the World Bank and others have heavily criticized the Central American nation for adopting Bitcoin.

The bear market from 2022 to 2023 intensified scrutiny, with many questioning President Nayib Bukele’s actions. However, Bukele doubled down on his Bitcoin bet by announcing that the country would buy one BTC every day.

Bukele handily won the 2024 El Salvador presidential election with widespread support nationwide.

Related: El Salvador’s Bitcoin wallet gets sats, cats and a cypherpunk manifesto

Bitcoin mining and its use of fossil fuels have long been controversial topics in the crypto industry.

The Ripple-backed Greenpeace, among others, has advocated for transitioning Bitcoin from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a proof-of-work mining moratorium into law on Nov. 22, 2023, making it the first state in America to ban any PoW crypto mining activity for two years.

After purchasing $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pledged to incorporate it as a payment method for Tesla cars. However, he reversed his decision soon after, citing the negative environmental impact of mining. Musk said he would reconsider this move only when over 50% of Bitcoin mining operates on renewable energy sources.

Since Musk made his promise, numerous reports have suggested that over 60% of BTC mining relies on renewable energy sources.

Musk has yet to acknowledge these reports or implement a BTC payment option. Tesla currently faces a lawsuit for repeatedly violating the Clean Air Act by releasing harmful pollutants from its Fremont factory into nearby neighborhoods.

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