Bitcoin mines bring revenue for Africa’s National Park

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By A D

Eastern Congo’s Virunga National Park turns to bitcoin mining for forest preservation and wildlife recovery. Using hydro-energy, the natural resources of the park are being utilized to bring in essential gains.

An essential component of the security of Proof of Work blockchains is cryptocurrency mining, which is typically made possible by a graphics processing unit (GPU) or an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) to set up a mining rig. The concept of cryptocurrency mining has evolved over years- from creating new tokens to verifying tranactions and maintaining security of the network. All of the bitcoins were created by miners, with the exception of the ones created by Satoshi Nakamoto through the genesis block (the very first block). The Bitcoin network would continue to function normally in the absence of miners, but no new bitcoins would ever be created.

In 2020, the administration of the oldest national park in Africa installed Bitcoin mining equipment inside the forest. The facility is powered by three on-site hydroelectric dams, a renewable energy source that was already being used to power neighbouring regions. There are currently 10 containers that are powered directly by the four-meter turbines at the factory, each container accommodating 250–500 rigs. The profits are used to revive the continent’s biodiversity and natural beauty, which have been negatively impacted by local militia group attacks and the ongoing pandemic.

Bitcoin is the ideal high-tech industry to put in a nation that has plenty of clean energy but isn’t able to export a product or produce a service with that energy

Michael Saylor, American entrepreneur & bitcoin enthusiast

Regardless of how the price of Bitcoin changes, the park’s director, Emmanuel de Merode, notes that every day of mining represents pure profit. The Virunga mine has been hailed as a long-term successful endeavour because it satisfies the criteria for the ideal cryptocurrency mine: electricity, equipment, and capital. De Merode adds, “We’re not speculating on its value; we’re generating it. If you buy Bitcoin and it decreases, you lose money. We’re making Bitcoin out of surplus energy and monetizing something that otherwise has no value.”

bitcoin mined by bitcoin rigs, machines that power computing og hashrates
Bitcoin hashrate remained stable, even as the crypto winter ate into the cryptocurrency’s network. photo credits: beincrypto

On January 15, 2023, at block height 772,128 the mining difficulty for bitcoin increased to a record high of 37.73 trillion, an increase of 10.26%. The network is currently at an all-time high in difficulty. This indicates that, on average, it requires 37.73 trillion hashes, or attempts, to locate and add a legitimate bitcoin block reward to the blockchain.
Currently, Bitcoin Network Hash Rate stands at 289.81M, up from 192.63M one year ago, a 50.45% increase.

2022 may have been a temperamental year for cryptocurrency, yet Bitcoin’s hashrate remained constant. In fact, according to data from Blockchain.com, the hashrate for Bitcoin reached a record high in November. While BTC lost more than two-thirds of its value over the course of the past year, the hashrate of bitcoin increased consistently. That represents for many a demonstration of confidence in the network’s long-term success.

Companies have been intervening to stem losses and provide the struggling professional mining sector with much-needed funding. Although the mining industry is bordering on uncertainty, it is unlikely that it will disappear completely. Mining will continue because of the mining industry’s global expansion, the sector’s devoted activist investors and advocates, and the expanding significance of mining within the hydrocarbon and larger energy sector. And perhaps the recent difficulties have improved the company.

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