- El Salvador appears to have taken the first steps towards mining Bitcoin through volcanos
- A video from president Nayib Bukele shows ASIC miners being installed in a geothermal plant
- Bukele announced plans to mine Bitcoin using geothermal power back in June
El Salvador has taken its first steps towards mining Bitcoin using geothermal power from within the country’s volcanos. President Nayib Bukele posted a video to Twitter showing what purported to be a container-full of Bitcoin mining equipment being delivered to a mountainside geothermal plant and being connected up. El Salvador already has a nationalized geothermal electric company, and in June Bukele instructed them to put together a plan to mine Bitcoin using the facilities currently in place.
El Salvador Plugs Into the Geothermal Matrix
The concept of El Salvador using its geothermal power for Bitcoin mining came hot on the heels of Bukele announcing the country’s plans to implement Bitcoin as a currency back in June. At first the idea seemed fanciful, even impossible, but in reality it is relatively easy – El Salvador already uses the geothermal power for the country’s domestic electricity needs, so it was just a case of hooking up some Bitcoin mining equipment to it. Bukele’s video seems to show that this is already happening:
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) September 28, 2021
Bitcoin Mining Goes Supercritical
Geothermal power generation has been around for over five years after Icelandic researchers successfully drilled into the core of a volcano in the Reykjanes Peninsula. The process allows access to “supercritical water”, which is where the magma lakes beneath volcanos heat the water to a supercritical state, providing up to ten times more power than regular steam. This supercritical water escapes through geysers which are used to power turbines, as Bukele demonstrated in a video back in June:
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
As Bitcoin miners look for new and ever more inventive ways to go about their business in an ecologically friendly manner, they will have to go some to beat El Salvador’s attempts.