One national park in eastern Congo has chosen to use its natural resources to mine the leading decentralized finance (DeFi) token as cryptocurrency mining grows in popularity as a way to access digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC).
Virunga National Park
In particular, the management of Virunga National Park has identified bitcoin mining as a perfect option. Due to numerous setbacks over the years, the park is in critical need of financing to safeguard its forests and wildlife.
The plan is to use the park’s hydroelectric power to mine Bitcoin. This is to help the park recover and grow after years of violence and theft by militias, deforestation, pandemic lockdowns, diseases, and little help from the government. The park, which is home to endangered mountain gorillas, is Africa’s oldest protected park.
De Merode, the park’s director, and his colleagues came up with the plan to invest $200,000 in Bitcoin mining equipment that would be powered by the park’s hydropower, which would generate the necessary earnings and offer a practical use for this energy.
Early in 2020, the park acquired used servers with the aid of investors, and construction on the world’s first known Bitcoin mine that is controlled by a national park and uses sustainable energy began.
The Luviro hydro-station, one of the river-run hydro plants in the park open since 2013 (with a fourth one under development), provides the energy for the mine with minimal environmental impact by utilizing the river’s continuous flow rather than impeding it with dams and reservoirs. No matter how much the price of Bitcoin changes, every day of mining is pure profit.
A new profitable model
The Virunga model is the ideal high-tech industry to establish in a country that has an abundance of clean energy but is unable to use that energy to generate or export goods or services.
According to De Merode, the park is “creating Bitcoin out of excess energy and monetizing something that otherwise has no value,” making this “an exceptionally fantastic investment for the park” because “we’re not gambling on its value; we’re generating it.”