Business

Why is a Guatemalan Mayor Mining Bitcoin? Fighting FUD with biogas and BTC

The Bitcoin (BTC) community is at it again, dismantling FUD and orange-pilling officials in far-flung targets.

At the foot of Lake Atitlán, an idyllic but impoverished region of Guatemala, a bitcoin project has managed to get a miner into the hands of the local mayor. The process has increased local income while improving air quality.

In Panajachel, Guatemala, a community of nearly 20,000 people is coming to bitcoin after local mayor Cesar Piedrasanta was gifted an old S9 bitcoin miner. It is the first community in Central or South America to mine BTC.

blank
Bill Whittaker and Patrick Melder present a miner to the mayor. Source: Corvette Medium67

While this is exceptional in itself, there are two important consequences. First, mining with a “5-year-old” miner helps “address the e-waste (or ‘e-waste’) narrative associated with Bitcoin mining,” Bill Whittaker, part of the Bitcoin Lake team, told Cointelegraph.

E-waste refers to the replacement of physical mining infrastructure with newer, more efficient models. A New York mining moratorium recently addressed the reported issue, and a Science Direct report claims that one bitcoin transaction produces 272 grams of e-waste, mostly due to old mining equipment. However, the mayor of Guatemala gets along well with his old S9.

Second, the team hopes to use the proceeds from the Bitcoin miner to solve problems affecting the sewage treatment plant.

blank
The sewage treatment plant to which the first two s17 miners will be connected. Source: Twitter

The waste treatment plant (WWTP) is a major polluter, “due to ruptured seals on the plant’s digester, there is not enough pressure to flare off the plant’s methane emissions.” As a result, the unpleasant and smelly pollutants pollute the air.

Whittaker and the team intend to repair the sewage treatment plant and then capture the leaked biogas to use as an energy source for power generation. It’s a win-win-win: cleaner air, renewable energy, more bitcoin.

Whittaker explains, “Poorer countries/communities don’t have the resources to generate expensive electricity from fossil fuels, but they generate a lot of methane-generating waste.” This waste can not only mine Bitcoin, but consequently generate a monetary return for local people :

“The goal of this proof of concept is to capture the wasted fuel and convert the biogas into electricity/bitcoin.”

Biogas as an energy source for bitcoin mining is becoming increasingly popular: a Slovakian bitcoin miner is getting the garbage to work, while the Guatemalan project is just flexing its muscles.

Whittaker is keen to highlight the “real stars of the show” involved in the project: two high school seniors named Madaket and Kate. They “came up with the idea of ​​focusing on sustainable bitcoin mining for their high school senior project.”

Related: Gas heater broken? I’ll just heat my trailer with a bitcoin miner

In this Instagram video, they explain why Bitcoin is “the currency of the future”. It’s clear the girls are determined to undermine the negative misconceptions surrounding bitcoin and bitcoin mining. Whittaker says: “They will be presenting two additional ASIC machines (s17+) to the city of Panajachel. These machines will be ramped up in the waste treatment plant.”

blank
Madaket and Kate are working to bring the Bitcoin miner to Guatemala. Source: Twitter

Ultimately, capturing cheap wasted energy is the name of the game when it comes to small-scale bitcoin mining. Even Senator Ted Cruz says bitcoin miners do well to collect wasted resources and put them to good use.

For Whittaker, projects like the Panajachel mining show how impactful grassroots movements from within the bitcoin community can be:

“Greenpeace and Chris Larsen are spending $5 million on ‘Change the Code’ FUD, these two girls are self-funding research and development in carbon-negative Bitcoin mining while making the decentralized network stronger and broader.”