El Salvador's Bitcoin Mining: Nearly 474 BTC Mined Since 2021, According to Reuters

By Xalyur Immudetes
Published in News
May 18, 2024
2 min read
El Salvador's Bitcoin Mining: Nearly 474 BTC Mined Since 2021, According to Reuters

According to a recent Reuters report, El Salvador has mined around 473.5 bitcoins since 2021, the year BTC was declared legal tender by the authorities. Powered by geothermal energy from the Tecapa volcano, this mining endeavor has flourished (this volcano is a natural wonder nestled in the municipality of Alegría). As of today, the mined bitcoins are valued at over $31 million.

It’s worth mentioning that, based on The Bitcoin Office’s information –an organization backed by the government of El Salvador to oversee its Bitcoin venture–, the country currently possesses 5,751 BTC. At the time of writing, this amounts to over $380 million. The data is readily accessible through a newly launched platform by TBO… The announcement was made on May 12th.

In late February, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele took to his social media platform X to criticize journalists who had attacked his vision when BTC’s value was low, citing supposed million-dollar losses. The head of state mentioned that, if they were to sell all their BTC reserves, they would make a profit of over 40%, but they had no intentions of doing so. According to CoinMarketCap data, Bitcoin is currently trading at $66,108.

In Bukele’s own words:

“When Bitcoin’s market price was low, they wrote literally thousands of articles about our supposed losses. Now that Bitcoin’s market price is way up, if we were to sell, we would make a profit of over 40% (just from the market purchases), and our main source of BTC is now our citizenship program. We won’t sell, or course; at the end 1 BTC = 1 BTC (this was true when the market price was low and it’s true now); but it’s very telling that the authors of those hit pieces, the “analysts”, the “experts”, the “journalists”, are totally silent now. Remember this, next time they spill lies again about El Salvador”.

When the president mentions a nationality program fueled by Bitcoin, He’s referring to legislation that grants citizenship to foreigners who donate BTC to social programs. According to Reuters, the law passed on December 21 states that eligible individuals won’t have to undergo a 5-year permanent residence process if they come from a non-spanish-speaking country (just two years if they have a Salvadoran spouse).

After taking a 6-month leave of absence (the constitution doesn’t allow immediate re-election), Bukele ran in the presidential elections on February 4th. He clinched a resounding victory, securing 84.65% of the votes.

geo plant
Source: Salvador Melendez (apnews.com)

According to Reuters, the Bukele administration has set up around 300 processors to mine Bitcoins, using the energy from the Tecapa volcano. From the 102 megawatts (MW) generated by the geothermal power plant, 1.5 MW is specifically designated for crypto mining.

In 2021, Daniel Álvarez, who oversees the plant as head of the Río Lempa Hydroelectric Executive Commission, told the press:

“We don’t spend resources that contaminate the environment, we don’t depend on oil, we don’t depend on natural gas, on any resource that isn’t renewable”.

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