El Salvador has officially used volcanic energy to mine Bitcoin. President Nayib Bukele announced on October 1 that the so-called "Volcanode" mined its first BTC shortly after mining equipment was installed at the geothermal power plant.
Bukele's announcement was short on details. He didn't reveal how many rigs were installed at the Volcanode site, how much of the plant's electricity was devoted to Bitcoin mining, or how the project would move forward now that it's operational.
We’re still testing and installing, but this is officially the first #Bitcoin mining from the #volcanode 🌋October 1, 2021
But he did show Volcanode's initial haul: 0.00599179 BTC. That's worth about $286.50, based on Bitcoin's current value of roughly $47,831. Prices have fluctuated since Bukele's announcement, but not enough to make a significant difference.
Bukele first announced his plan to mine Bitcoin with volcanic energy in June, shortly after the El Salvador Congress approved his proposal to accept the cryptocurrency as legal tender, which the country made official on September 7.
I’ve just instructed the president of @LaGeoSV (our state-owned geothermal electric company), to put up a plan to offer facilities for #Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos 🌋 This is going to evolve fast! 🇸🇻 pic.twitter.com/1316DV4YwTJune 9, 2021
That move was marred by issues with Chivo, the El Salvador government's official crypto wallet, as well as significant drops in Bitcoin's value. But the country moved forward anyway, and Bukele said on Sunday that Chivo now has 3 million users.
Using "very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy" to mine Bitcoin could help El Salvador adjust the public perception of the cryptocurrency and its counterparts as an environmentally hostile way for its supporters to get rich.
That all depends on how successful the project is, however, and if Bukele's claims about this volcanic energy prove accurate. Even then, many will argue the energy could be put to better use, but at least El Salvador's trying to address the problem.