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Bhutan’s Bitcoin Boom: How the Himalayan Kingdom is Harnessing Hydropower for Crypto Mining

Bhutan, a tiny nation famed for measuring Gross National Happiness, conceals a tech-driven secret behind the towering peaks of the Himalayas: a booming Bitcoin mining business.

In a story published earlier today by Forbes headlined “The Kingdom Of Bhutan Has Been Quietly Mining Bitcoin For Years,” it was discovered that Bhutan has been mining Bitcoin utilizing its plentiful hydropower resources. According to Forbes, the rivers fed by old Himalayan glaciers supply the electricity for this clandestine operation, elevating Bhutan to the forefront of the cryptocurrency mining sector.

According to Forbes, Bhutan’s aspirations to build state-run mining activities begin in 2020. The goal was to utilize hydropower plants in the nation to power Bitcoin mining equipment, which solve complicated mathematical problems to earn Bitcoin incentives. According to Forbes, Bhutanese authorities have admitted that mining began a few years ago when Bitcoin was worth about $5,000.

The specifics of this operation, however, remain unknown. According to Forbes, the Bhutanese Ministry of Finance has not disclosed details on the scheme’s start date, location, or profitability, raising concerns about its transparency.

Bhutan is also in negotiations with the Nasdaq-listed mining firm Bitdeer about a possible cooperation, according to Forbes. According to Forbes, this collaboration might result in a Bitcoin mining data center in Bhutan powered by 100 megawatts (MW), considerably increasing Bitdeer’s mining capability.

According to Forbes, despite its dedication to “gross national happiness,” Bhutan has been discreetly developing a sizable crypto portfolio. Druk Holding & Investments, a state-owned holding corporation, is said to have invested millions in cryptocurrencies without disclosing it to the public.

Forbes has noted a large increase in computer chip imports in recent years, implying the expansion of Bhutan’s Bitcoin mining business. However, Forbes notes that concerns have been raised about the country’s trade deficit and the resulting decrease in foreign currency reserves.

Ripple announced cooperation with Bhutan’s central bank (called “Royal Monetary Authority”) on September 22, 2021, with the latter employing Ripple’s CBDC technology to pilot a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in stages.

Ripple’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) solution will be used in the project to support efficient retail, cross-border, and wholesale transactions for a digital Ngultrum.

According to Ripple, the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) of Bhutan expects to reach its aim of expanding financial inclusion to 85% of its people by 2023 by enhancing the convenience, speed, and cost-effectiveness of both domestic and international payments.

Ripple’s commitment to sustainability was an important issue for Bhutan. Ripple stressed that their CBDC solution is carbon-neutral and 120,000 times more energy efficient than proof-of-work blockchains since it is built on the public XRP Ledger.


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