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 mined Bitcoin (BTC) was generated by 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, reported 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 U.S. dollar. Since then, the government has adopted several Bitcoin-focused policies, one of which was to establish a geothermal plant to mine BTC.

El Salvador now holds a total of 5,750 BTC, including the 474 mined BTC, estimated to be worth $354 million.

Since 2021, the Central American nation has drawn significant criticism from global organizations such as the World Bank and others for its adoption of Bitcoin.

The bear market in 2022-23 intensified scrutiny, with many questioning President Nayib Bukele’s actions. However, Bukele doubled down on his Bitcoin bet by announcing the country would buy one BTC every day.

Bukele won the presidential election earlier this year with a majority, primarily on his promises to implement Bitcoin as legal tender and to eradicate crime.

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

Bitcoin mining and its use of fossil fuel has long been a controversial point of discussion in the crypto industry.

The Ripple-backed Greenpeace group, among others, advocated for transitioning Bitcoin mining consensus from proof of work to proof of stake. U.S. lawmakers took further action by banning BTC mining in multiple states.

After purchasing $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pledged to incorporate it as a payment method for Tesla cars. However, within days, he reversed his decision, 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, there have been numerous reports suggesting that over 60% of BTC mining relies on renewable energy sources.

Musk has yet to acknowledge these reports or implement a BTC payment option. Despite presenting himself as an environmentalist, his company faces lawsuits for repeatedly violating the Clean Air Act by releasing harmful pollutants from its Fremont factory into nearby neighborhoods.

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