Remote mountain kingdom secretly mining bitcoin – Forbes — RT Business News

Remote mountain kingdom secretly mining bitcoin – Forbes — RT Business News

Bhutan, a South Asian nation nested in the Himalayas, has secretly developed world’s largest state-owned cryptocurrency mines, Forbes has revealed.

According to the magazine’s investigation released last week, the Bhutanese government has quietly spent millions of dollars to build its bitcoin-mining operation.

Forbes used satellite imagery from Planet Labs, Satellite Vu, and Google Earth, as well as sources with knowledge of Bhutan’s crypto investments to uncover mining units and data center cooling systems hidden in forests and mountainous terrain across the country. Other images reportedly showed high-capacity power lines and transformers running from Bhutan’s hydroelectric plants to the mining sites.

“Bhutan has been quietly transformed into a crypto Shangri-La with its government dedicating land, funding and energy to operations like these, which it hopes will avert a looming economic crisis,” Forbes wrote.

According to the report, the remote mountainous nation, which has an abundance of hydroelectricity, had historically sold its surplus of hydropower to India. However, crypto-mining operations have driven Bhutan’s power demand up in recent years. The country has massively boosted imports this year, purchasing $20.7 million worth of electricity so far. Officials recently said this bill would balloon to $72 million over the coming winter, with imports needed for five months to cover demand.

Bhutan is reportedly betting on crypto to boost and sustain its economy in the future, as the nation has been hit with declining tourism since the Covid pandemic.

Bhutanese officials have reportedly never disclosed the location or scope of the mining facilities. They first commented on digital asset investments following an earlier report by Forbes on the kingdom’s multi-million-dollar portfolio, which was exposed by the bankruptcies of fallen crypto lenders BlockFi and Celsius.

The Central American state of El Salvador has been the only country in the world known to run state-owned crypto mines. The world’s first state to make bitcoin legal tender, El Salvador uses multiple renewable-energy sources to power its mining sites.

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