El Salvador has begun mining Bitcoin using power harnessed from a volcano, its president has revealed.
President Nayib Bukele took to Twitter on Tuesday to share a teaser video showing Bitcoin mining equipment arriving at an energy factory in government-branded containers.
Earlier today, Bukele confirmed that volcano-powered Bitcoin mining had kicked off with 0.00599179 BTC (£208), generated so far.
“We’re still testing and installing, but this is officially the first Bitcoin mining from the volcanode,” he announced on Twitter.
The explosive news comes after El Salvador became the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender, requiring businesses to accept the world’s most famous cryptocurrency alongside the US dollar.
Despite setbacks, including technical glitches, swings in the price of Bitcoin and protests, Bukele insists that the new policy is popular.
El Salvador’s government reported that it 2.3m people – 35 per cent of its entire population – uses Bitcoin through the Chivo e-wallet. Reportedly this means 600k more Salvadorans now have a crypto wallet than a bank account.
The use of geo-thermal energy resources to power Bitcoin mining could further encourage uptake by addressing concerns about crypto’s environmental footprint.
The Bitcoin mining process, which creates new coins and validates transactions, is hugely energy intensive with BTC miners using more electricity each year than entire countries including Finland, Switzerland and Bangladesh.
Bitcoin’s price has today rallied 9.51 per cent and is currently trading at $47,112k.