El Salvador mined 0.00599179 bitcoin, or about $ 269, with the energy extracted from a volcano.
President Nayib Bukele – who has bet his political future on a nationwide bitcoin experiment – tweeted early Friday morning that this was the country’s maiden voyage in volcano-powered bitcoin mining.
On Tuesday the President did posted an eye-catching 25-second teaser video, which includes footage of a state-branded shipping container full of Bitcoin mining rigs, technicians installing and connecting ASIC miners, and expansive landscape shots of a power plant in the middle of a forest bordering a volcano.
The video, which has now gone viral with more than 2.3 million views, has the simple subtitle “Getting Started …”
If the Central American state does indeed mint a new coin, it means that Bukele has honored a promise made in June to when he said that He had directed the state-run geothermal electricity company LaGeo SA de CV to “come up with a plan to provide facilities for #bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable energy with zero emissions from our volcanoes”.
Bukele stated in his tweet on Friday that the mining project is still in the works and that they are in the process of “testing and installing” new mining equipment.
The president also provided a breakdown of mining rewards to date.
Volcano-powered bitcoin mining has been a thing for a while.
“It’s just geothermal energy,” said bitcoin miner Alejandro de la Torre, who recently moved to Texas from China. “Iceland has been doing it since the beginning of Bitcoin mining.”
El Salvador is literally called the “land of volcanoes”, and according to official figures, geothermal energy already accounts for almost a quarter of domestic energy production.
El Salvador’s move is also a boon to the larger debate about Bitcoin’s carbon footprint.
“A fully renewable, untapped energy resource was used solely because of Bitcoin, “said Bitcoin mining engineer Brandon Arvanaghi.” Bitcoin is the greatest accelerator of renewable energy development in history. “
This foray into mining comes just weeks after El Salvador became the first country to declare Bitcoin legal tender.
As part of the rollout, the government added hundreds of bitcoins to its balance sheet and launched its own national virtual wallet – called “Chivo” or Salvadoran slang for “cool” – which offers fee-free transactions and fast cross-border payments.
CNBC reached out to President Bukele to ask about his future plans for state-sponsored bitcoin mining and we didn’t hear anything.