BTC-ECHO in El Salvador: This is how Bitcoin volcano mining works

El Salvador is probably the first country in the world that uses volcanic energy to mine Bitcoin. We were in the La Geo geothermal power plant in the Salvadoran city of Berlin and looked around.

When the doors of the container, behind which are probably the first Bitcoin mining rigs in the world powered by geothermal volcanic energy, open, it is incredibly loud at first. Anyone who, like me, sees ASIC Miner live and in color for the first time understands straight away why these devices consume so much electricity. Especially in the afternoon sun of the tropics, the fans have to breathe a lot so they don’t overheat – and that costs electricity and makes noise. It’s good that the ASICs are based on an inexhaustible source of energy. But one after anonther.

BTC-ECHO is part of the Bitcoin delegation in El Salvador

As part of the official embassy delegation of German Bitcoiners and journalists, Stefan Lanser and I, David Scheider, are in the Bitcoin Mecca El Salvador up to and including November 21st. So much in advance: history is being written here.

On the very first day of our trip, the lead from the Berlin Lightning company fulmo was organized in cooperation with the El Salvadorian ambassador in Germany, HE Florencia Eugenia Vilanova De von Oehsen, it went to the geothermal power plant La Geo in the Salvadoran city of Berlín. And indeed: the operators mine as much as they can.

300 ASIC miners from Bitmain are so far in operation directly on the site of the power plant and calculate with a power of one megawatt (MW) hashes of Bitcoin block headers. The 300 ASICs shouldn’t stop there, that’s “just the beginning”, a spokesman for the power plant assures us when asked – replenishment is already being planned.

Volcano mining is still in its infancy

Before that, however, a number of questions would have to be clarified. It is unclear which mining pool the state-subsidized BTC mine will run through. How is the key management to be organized? Who holds the keys to the coins? Because at the end of the day El Salvador is promoting Bitcoin here for the state purse – and the government has to be accountable for this. We were not told how many BTC the system has already dropped, even after multiple inquiries.

La Geo

In addition, no one could conclusively explain to us why a country that imports around 20 percent of its energy uses resources for mining. After all, it cannot be an excess. One wants to experiment, so the company spokesman – and that costs resources. The state power plant operators of La Geo currently only use around one percent of the energy they generate for mining – this seems justified in view of the great potential. In addition, more volcanic power plants are being planned. After all, the state that is as big as Hessen has 25 active volcanoes, only two of which are currently used to generate electricity.

So one thing is certain: volcano mining is a reality.

If you want to find out more about the Bitcoin law in El Salvador, you should secure the new crypto compass in advance. In the cover story of the upcoming December issue, which is all about our trip to El Salvador, we dedicate ourselves in detail to the opportunities and risks of the state-mandated Bitcoin adoption in the Central American country.

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