Inside The Bitcoin Surge Of A Tiny Himalayan Kingdom








Nestled in the Himalayas, Bhutan, known for its focus on Gross National Happiness, is making a bold wager in the world of cryptocurrency. The country is rapidly expanding its Bitcoin mining capabilities in anticipation of the upcoming halving, an event programmed into Bitcoin’s code that cuts the number of new coins awarded to miners in half.

This strategic move comes after Bhutan’s economy, heavily reliant on tourism, was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. With foreign exchange reserves dwindling and unemployment rising, the government is looking to Bitcoin mining as a potential source of revenue.

Bhutan’s foray into cryptocurrency mining began in 2023. Now, the kingdom is partnering with Bitdeer Technologies Group, a Nasdaq-listed company, to significantly boost its mining capacity. By 2025, this collaboration aims to triple Bhutan’s current capabilities, bringing its total mining power to a staggering 600 megawatts – a 500-megawatt increase.

Bitcoin Halving Spurs Mining Expansion

The driving force behind this expansion is the upcoming Bitcoin halving, expected in April 2024. This quadrennial event directly impacts miners’ profitability. By reducing the number of new Bitcoins awarded per block mined, the halving essentially cuts miners’ potential income in half. Bhutan’s strategy is to counteract this decrease by significantly increasing its mining volume.

This approach mirrors a global trend. Data from Coin Metrics reveals a staggering 60% surge in global Bitcoin mining energy consumption this year, possibly reflecting miners worldwide seeking to hedge against the halving’s impact.

BTCUSD trading at $66,897 on the 24-hour chart: TradingView.com

Challenges For Bhutan’s Bitcoin Gamble

However, Bhutan’s path isn’t without challenges. While the country boasts a clean energy advantage, relying heavily on hydropower for mining, the environmental implications of such a large-scale operation remain to be thoroughly evaluated. Experts caution that the energy demands of this endeavor could strain Bhutan’s hydropower capacity, potentially impacting the supply available to the population.

Bitdeer's new bitcoin mining facility in Bhutan. Image: Shutterstock

Additionally, the success of Bhutan’s gamble hinges heavily on the price of Bitcoin. If the price fails to rise significantly after the halving to compensate for the reduced rewards, miners, including those in Bhutan, could face financial difficulties. The cryptocurrency market is notoriously volatile, and a price slump could significantly impact Bhutan’s return on investment.

Related Reading: Bitcoin Champion Max Keiser Blasts Argentinian President’s Crypto Stance

Bhutan’s decision to enter the crypto mining arena marks a significant shift for the nation. While the potential economic benefits are undeniable, the long-term sustainability and profitability of this venture remain to be seen.

The coming months will be crucial as the world observes how this unique experiment in the lofty heights of the Himalayas unfolds. Bhutan’s gamble could pave the way for other developing nations to explore cryptocurrency mining as a revenue stream, but questions regarding environmental impact and market dependence will need to be addressed for this strategy to be truly sustainable.



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