Bitcoin mining with hydroelectric energy arrives in Costa Rica

Key facts:
  • 150 clients, all local, benefit from the plant, called Data Center CR.

  • The hydroelectric plant invested USD 500,000 to be able to house the Bitcoin miners.

Bitcoin (BTC) mining is reaching more and more safe havens. The interesting thing is that many of these are settling in Latin America. The new example is Costa Rica, where hydroelectric energy has made it possible to develop the activity.

Leaning on the Poás River, which is 35 kilometers from the Costa Rican capital, some 650 miners, belonging to 150 clients, they are operating every day without stopping. The machines are distributed in eight containers and the electricity comes from the hydroelectric plant that is right next to the tributary.

The plant, called Data Center CR, reinvented itself after 30 years of operation, and digital mining was the market niche that revolutionized their activities. This, because during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of that Central American country stopped buying energy, since surpluses in the electricity supply were reported.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency, the president of this family company, which covers some 60 hectares, Eduardo Kooper, He stated that activities ceased for nine months, until he learned about Bitcoin mining.

“We had to pause activity for nine months, and exactly one year ago I heard about Bitcoin, blockchain and digital mining. I was very skeptical at first, but we saw that this business consumes a lot of energy and we have a surplus,” he explained.

The hydroelectric plant, which is made up of three plants (each valued at USD 13.5 million, on average), with a capacity of 3MW, made an investment of USD 500,000; enough to host cryptocurrency miners.

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Kooper noted that Bitcoin miners from other countries are interested in clean and cheap energy, as well as a stable Internet connection. Costa Rica, he said, has that. However, he called on the State to promote the activity, with the intention of attracting more investors.

At least 650 Bitcoin miners are operating from the Costa Rican hydroelectric plant.
Source: Reuters.

“More profitable than at home”

Reuters spoke with a Bitcoin miner, who operates from Data Center CR, where most of the connected clients are, essentially, locals of the country.

Mauricio Rodríguez, a 31-year-old computer security engineer, began mining cryptocurrencies with the intention of earning extra money from his home. with electronic equipment that is valued over USD 7,000.

However, for him it is more comfortable to operate from the hydroelectric plant, especially since you can mine at half the cost. “Installing it in this place is much more profitable than at home,” said the specialist.

Although digital mining in Costa Rica is not prohibited, it does lack regulations, just like the rest of the market. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t intend to. CriptoNoticias reported in October that the president of the Central Bank of that country, Rodrigo Cubero Brealey, He said that this new economy had to be regulated “to the extent necessary.”

The Poás River is 35 kilometers from the capital of Costa Rica. Source: Reuters.

“We have an attitude of vigilant tolerance. We do believe it is important to allow the fintech industry and the use of cryptocurrencies to develop, to allow a certain development without the regulation going to suffocate it prematurely. We consider it important to allow the industry to emerge, evolve and learn from it. It seems to us that this attitude of tolerance is fundamental,” said the head of the Costa Rican monetary entity at the time.

The fact is that Bitcoin has already gained a foothold in that country, to the point where radio stations they already dedicate spaces to the cryptocurrency economy, as recorded by this medium a few days ago.

IFinex supports the use of natural resources to mine Bitcoin

In the same context of Costa Rican mining, the CTO of IFinex, which is the parent company of the Bitcoin exchange Bitfinex, Paolo Ardoino; welcomed the activity. After assessing that “a small river in Costa Rica can provide energy to a hydroelectric plant that now feeds hundreds of computers connected to the cryptocurrency mining business.”

For Ardoino, the use of natural resources and environmentally friendly alternatives to boost bitcoin mining “will become more popular.”

“Some have even said that bitcoin will act as the biggest accelerator in the development of renewable energy with the start of these new initiatives in El Salvador and Costa Rica,” he said, according to an email sent to the CriptoNoticias newsroom.

It is not the first mining supported by hydroelectric energy

What is lived now in Costa Rica is something very common. In fact, hydropower is the most popular among Bitcoin miners, with more than 79% of the industry using it for their activities since 2019.

Recently, CriptoNoticias reported the scenario in Thailand, a country that, relying on the Chinese attack against Bitcoin mining and hydroelectric power in Laos (its neighboring country), has started producing cryptocurrencies.

Laos, which is north of Thailand and south of China, does not have good internet connectivity, but it does have a suitable electrical system. There, electricity is extremely cheap and is generated by several dams, which are distributed throughout the Asian country.

At least USD 500,000 was invested by the owner of the plant to be able to house cryptocurrency miners. Source: Reuters.

Given this, it is foreseeable that Bitcoin mining, starting from the energy coming from natural resources, grow and become a trend, especially in this year that is just beginning.

IFinex’s Paolo Ardoino puts it this way: “We believe this trend will have a positive cascading effect on laws to help drive innovation and financial freedom, as well as sweeping changes that will improve local economies and infrastructure.”

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