Because of its high energy usage, bitcoin mining still has a negative reputation among legislators and the mainstream media. However, the Bitcoin Mining Council, founded by Michael Saylor, attempts to debunk this with its quarterly reports.
Bitcoin is fueled by about 60% renewable energy. However, even on a tiny scale, BTC mining can work wonders, according to a new MIT Technology Review report posted by Saylor through Twitter.
Virunga National Park is the world’s first national park to recognise the potential of Bitcoin mining to benefit the environment, the park’s endangered mountain gorillas, and the local community.
According to the article, the Bitcoin mine is powered by the massive hydroelectric plant on the same mountain that makes the national park in the midst of the Congo Basin the world’s second-largest rainforest after the Amazon. Thousands of powerful computers are stored in ten shipping containers strewn across the bush.
Bitcoin Saves the Park and Drives Sustainable Developments
The park’s 52-year-old director, Emmanuel de Merode, notes that Virunga is located in a turbulent region known for corruption and rising deforestation, where foreign investment is as scarce as power grids and a stable administration.
Due to the loss of tourist revenue caused by illness outbreaks such as Ebola, the COVID-19 lockdown, and kidnappings by rebels, the park has been financially strained in recent years. That is why de Merode chose to place a large wager on Bitcoin.
“We established the power plant and believed we’d build the network gradually,” de Merode explains and adds, “Then we had to shut down tourism in 2018 because of kidnappings.” Then, in 2019, we had to halt tourism due to Ebola. And the rest, as they say, is history with COVID. […] We needed to come up with a solution. Otherwise, as a national park, we would have gone bankrupt.
The cash generated by BTC mining pays not only for park staff but also for infrastructure initiatives such as roads and water pumping stations. Other hydropower generators in the park provide electricity to support “moderate business development.”
Virunga National Park, according to de Merode, will begin mining Bitcoin in September 2020. “And then the price of Bitcoin skyrocketed,” he continues. “For once, we were lucky.” When BTC was trading at $44,000 in March last year, the park director was expecting revenue of around $150,000 per month, which was roughly what tourism had brought in during its heyday.
However, even during the recent bad market, BTC was a huge help to the park. Everyday mining, according to de Merode, is pure profit: “So no matter how much Bitcoin varies in value, as long as it’s positive, it’s profitable.” Thus, BTC is a long-term game changer for the national park that might serve as an example for others to follow.
At the time of publication, the BTC price was $20,853, trading in overbought territory with an RSI of 89.