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Bhutan’s Hidden Bitcoin Mining: A Report Uncovers Secret Sites

TL;DR

  • Forbes Investigation revealed that Bhutan, known for its environmental commitment, is secretly operating Bitcoin mining facilities.
  • The discovery, made using satellite imagery and insider information, contrasts with the country’s image as a carbon-negative country.
  • The venture into Bitcoin mining suggests economic innovation but raises environmental concerns due to the high energy consumption of mining activities, challenging Bhutan’s reputation for sustainability.

 

 

In a groundbreaking revelation, the Kingdom of Bhutan, known for its seclusion and pristine environment, has been discovered to be operating a series of undercover Bitcoin mining facilities. The surprising development in the cryptocurrency world was brought to light by a detailed investigation conducted by Forbes.

Forbes’ investigation, which employed advanced techniques, including the analysis of satellite imagery from Planet Labs, Satellite Vu, and Google Earth, revealed the existence of these clandestine mining operations.

Uncovering the hidden operations

The investigation utilized a combination of satellite imagery from Planet Labs, Satellite Vu, and Google Earth, along with insider information regarding Bhutan’s investments in cryptocurrency. The approach led to the identification of what appears to be four crypto-mining facilities across the Himalayan nation, previously undisclosed to the public.

These satellite images exposed the existence of long, rectangular mining units and sophisticated data center cooling systems. These facilities are strategically concealed amongst the dense forests and rugged mountainous terrain of Bhutan. Additionally, the imagery revealed high-capacity power lines and transformers extending from Bhutan’s hydroelectric plants directly to these mining sites.

The locations of these covert operations are as intriguing as their existence. One facility was found near Dochula Pass, an area revered for its 108 memorial shrines. The other sites are situated in Trongsa, a central mountainous town; Dagana in the south; and an area known as “Education City,” a site of a failed $1 billion government project aimed at economic revival. Forbes’ investigation suggests that the construction of these sites likely commenced around 2020, inferred from the tracking of earth-moving and building activities in these areas.

The impact of Bhutan’s crypto ventures

The revelation of Bhutan’s involvement in Bitcoin mining, a process known for its high energy consumption, has significant implications. Bitcoin mining globally consumes about 91 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, a figure surpassing the energy usage of many countries. Bhutan’s energy imports and usage have seen a notable increase in recent years. Despite traditionally selling its surplus hydropower to India, the country purchased electricity worth $20.7 million in 2023, a move possibly linked to its new crypto-mining endeavors.

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Bhutan’s monarch, has reportedly been fascinated with cryptocurrency for some time. His interest is driven by a vision to leverage the digital currency platform to avert potential economic crises in Bhutan. The strategic move into the realm of digital currencies is an effort to diversify the nation’s economic strategies in the face of various challenges.

Bhutan’s economic landscape and the crypto solution

Bhutan, often referred to as “The Last Shangri-la,” has faced its share of economic challenges in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted its tourism sector, a significant source of revenue for the country. Additionally, the nation grapples with rising youth unemployment and a worrying trend of brain drain due to increasing rates of emigration.

The foray into cryptocurrency mining is an innovative, albeit unorthodox, approach to bolstering the nation’s economy. By tapping into the lucrative world of digital currencies, Bhutan could create new revenue streams and employment opportunities, addressing some of its pressing economic issues.

However, the venture into Bitcoin mining is not without its controversies. The environmental impact of such operations, particularly in a country celebrated for its commitment to environmental conservation and being a carbon-negative nation raises questions. Moreover, the secrecy surrounding these facilities and the potential implications for Bhutan’s energy policies and international relations add layers of complexity to the development.

Conclusion

Forbes’ investigation into Bhutan’s secret Bitcoin mining operations opens up a myriad of discussions regarding the intersection of cryptocurrency, national economic strategies, and environmental sustainability. As the world increasingly embraces digital currencies, the actions of a small Himalayan kingdom could have far-reaching implications, both locally and globally.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Haseeb Shaheen

As a Web Researcher and Internet Marketer, Haseeb Shaheen delivers relevant valuable content for audiences. He focuses on financial and crypto market analysis, as well as technology-related areas that help people change their lives.

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