El Salvador Announces New Use For The Countries Volcanoes
Nayib Bukele, President of El Salvador has announced that the country will use the geothermal energy from the countries volcanoes to generate electricity. The purpose is to mine bitcoin, something which uses massive amounts of electricity. This need for tremendous amounts of energy concerns many who say it harms the environment and contributes to global warming.
The volcanic announcement came on social media. Just hours earlier, the Central American nation’s congress voted to make the cryptocurrency bitcoin an acceptable legal tender in El Salvador.
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,” the President tweeted. “This is going to evolve fast!”Nayib Bukele – President of El Salvador
With geothermal energy, such as that slated to be used in El Salvador, the scorching volcano heats water underground, creating a rush of powerful steam that can spin turbines and generate electricity.
Why So Much Energy To Mine Bitcoin?
There is a decentralized ledger of Bitcoin transactions, a blockchain. Every time a new entry is created a computer must solve a complex mathematical equation to verify the current and previous transactions.
The computing power needed is massive and these superfast computers need huge amounts of electricity to keep cool. Worldwide, the energy requirement is extremely great, and generates vast quantities of greenhouse gases.
The Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index shows that, worldwide, Bitcoin mining uses about 105 terawatt hours of electricity per year. That’s more than all of the electricity used annually in the Philippines.
Such revelations have sparked outrage among environmentalist over the high environmental cost of Bitcoin mining.
President Nayib Bukele Says El Salvador Needs Bitcoin
A new law in El Salvador makes Bitcoin legal tender along with the U.S. dollar. These will be the only “official” currencies for the country. The need for Bitcoin is simple: About 70% of the population does not have access to traditional money services and President Bukele hopes adding Bitcoin will ‘drive investment in El Salvador thus growing the wealth of the nations citizens.
Still, critics warn that Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency suffer from high volatility, meaning what can be bought with Bitcoin can change drastically from one day to the next. And guess what – volcanoes are volatile and can change drastically pretty fast too.