President Nayib Bukele has announced that for the first time since the official introduction of cryptocurrencies as legal tender, El Salvador has mined a small portion of its first bitcoin using electricity that is naturally generated from geothermal energy from volcanoes.
According to the press release, the mining project has generated 0.00599179 BTC to date, which is operated by state-backed LaGeo SA de CV. In the long run, this is a pretty small number, which is roughly $288.89 at the time of writing.
President Bukele tweeted to celebrate by dividing the total amount of bitcoin mined so far, which is far from a full bitcoin. The tweet also includes a section called “payment pending,” which is listed separately from the number of bitcoins received through mining.
In this section, 0.00483976 BTC is sent to the account as a “Pending Payment” – at the time of creation this is equal to $ 231.18. At the time of writing, the account contains a total of 0.01083155 BTC, which is equal to $517.36.
President Bukele’s tweet also indicated that volcanic energy-based mining projects are still in the “test and installation” phase, which may be why the total number of bitcoins (or satoshis) is quite small.
Environmentally Friendly HODLing and Mining
The new facility will help El Salvador hold as many bitcoins as possible. Less than two weeks ago, the country bought another 150 bitcoins, bringing its total holdings to 700. Just days after the country became the first country in history to legalize BTC as a means of payment.
It is also an environmentally friendly mining method that uses untapped energy in the volcano with no carbon costs. Many people criticize Bitcoin’s proof-of-work system for being environmentally harmful because of its energy consumption. However, the environmental damage caused by the largest cryptocurrencies is often exaggerated, as almost half of the computing power comes from sustainable sources.
Even Elon Musk, who stopped accepting Bitcoin payments in May due to climate issues, admitted that the network has become more sustainable.