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El Salvador’s Bitcoin Mining ‘Volcanode’ Takes its ‘First Steps’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: A video screenshot

The President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele has wowed the Bitcoin (BTC) world with a short video that appears to show BTC mining rigs going online at a geothermal power plant that harnesses energy from the nation’s active volcanoes.

Bukele did not explain how many machines were now online or how much electricity was being allocated to the BTC mining effort, but simply wrote that the project had taken its “first steps” toward becoming a “volcanode.”

One witty punster quipped:

“Ashrate is rising.”

On Reddit, posters were generally very impressed, with one predicting that El Salvador was “moving towards being [the] richest country in the world.”

Another called the news “rad,” while another noted that it was “hard to imagine this headline existing even a few months ago.”

And a surprised poster wrote:

“[Today I learned] El Salvador has volcanos and mines bitcoins with them.”

But while Bukele basks in the international spotlight, he is fighting fires at home, where the controversy over alleged government plans to pay employees in bitcoin, rather than fiat USD, is continuing.

BTC adoption has received a lukewarm reception in El Salvador, with many expressing confusion about how the token works and questions over its volatility. Opposition leaders have further stoked claims that BTC adoption will fuel money laundering in the nation.

Earlier this week, Bukele refuted the notion that the state will seek to pay pensions in BTC or let companies pay wages in anything other than fiat dollars.

But reports continue to surface suggesting the government does indeed want to boost adoption by seeking to allow some firms to pay staff in BTC.

And opposition MPs have leaped into action – although Bukele’s supermajority in parliament means that their efforts to bring about policy changes will almost certainly fall flat. reported that the opposition ARENA party MP René Portillo Cuadra took exception to comments Bukele made on Twitter.

Bukele had stated that “wages and pensions, the law states, must be paid in dollars.” 

Portillo Cuadra pointed out that “there is no law that says [pensions or wages] must be paid in United States dollars.” So the MP proposed creating an amendment to the relevant law and “putting it to the vote” in the lower house.

But the same media outlet claimed that Bukele’s party, Nuevas Ideas, simply “ignored” the proposal, which won just 16 votes in favor with one abstention – way below the level needed to spark a full vote.

Meanwhile, the opposition GANA party MP Romeo Auerbach told reporters that no matter what the government decides, he “would prefer to receive his salary in USD than BTC.”
Learn more: 
Latin America, Caribbean Could Use Thousands Volcanoes To Mine Bitcoin
Bukele Teases Volcano-powered Bitcoin Mining Center as Exchange Arrives 

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How Bitcoin Mining Might Help Nations With Domestic Energy Production