Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has created history, as per a report by MIT Technology Review. It became the first national park to launch a Bitcoin mine.
After years of financial hardship, the park sought to protect its forests and wildlife by implementing crypto mining. It was proven even more relevant by a drop in visitor numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Ebola outbreaks. The latter had previously constituted 40% of the park’s revenue.
In 2019, Sébastien Gouspillou, the CEO of Big Block Green Services, discussed a potential opportunity with Emmanuel De Merode. The director of Virunga National Park and a Belgian prince. He suggested that Virunga utilize Bitcoin mining to turn unused resources into income.
At the beginning of 2020, the mining operation was established, with the park’s initial coins mined in September. The park’s Bitcoin mine is run by nine full-time employees and is driven by one of its three hydro units. The park owns three of the ten shipping containers, which vary from 250 to 500 mining rigs. Gouspillou owns the remaining seven.
In the bull market of 2021, the park earned about $150,000 each month, virtually offsetting the tourism losses. This Bitcoin mining plant is part of a larger strategy to provide power to adjacent villages while also mining additional Bitcoin. The financial group of the park is in charge of the Bitcoin wallet and regularly sells the funds for maintenance.
The mine utilizes energy from one of the three hydroelectric plants within the park, making it an eco-friendly power source. It has employed nine full-time staff members to oversee the operation of 250-500 rigs housed in ten cargo containers, seven of which are owned by Gouspillou.
Bitcoin Mining To Protect The World’s Biodiversity
Bitcoin mining has been used at Virunga National Park as an innovative approach to making money without harming the park’s natural biodiversity. Rather than rely on non-renewable, energy-draining sources of power, the Bitcoin mine runs solely on clean. Also, it was sustainable energy, creating a green, environmentally conscious operation.
Despite the prolonged bear market, De Merode maintains unwavering confidence in the project. To reduce the risk of the mined coins being wiped out, a portion of them is regularly sold to support the park’s maintenance.
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Critics are unsure of the tie between conservation and crypto. But, according to De Merode, this mining proposal is more than that. Since it can harness extra energy and ensure Virunga’s future.
However, Virunga National Park has set a remarkable example with their choice to run a Bitcoin mine, using crypto to sustain biodiversity and create revenue.