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Monks Seek US$500 Million Fund After Green Bitcoin Mining

Bhutan is seeking a makeover.

Photo by Aaron Santelices / Unsplash 

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The Himalayan country could soon be the land of Bitcoin and attract several crypto millionaires to the happiest country in the world.

Bhutan considered the happiest country in the world, is known for its serenity, spirituality, and now crypto.

Indeed, this landlocked Himalayan country is one of the few nations worldwide to own bitcoin.

Given that Bhutan uses a "Gross National Happiness" metric to measure economic performance, its entry into the volatile and occasionally scandalous crypto sector is important. Psychological well-being and ecological variety determine the level of life.

Bitcoin Mining Since 2017

Recent reports reveal the hilly nation has been using its hydropower to mine bitcoin. Bhutan has been mining Bitcoin since 2017 when the world's largest cryptocurrency by market cap traded below US$5,000.

That means the monks of Bhutan had discovered the crypto's potential even before investment bankers on Wall Street.

At Bitcoin's current value of just under US$30,000, the Himalayan kingdom has seen its investment return almost sixfold.

But that's not all; the crypto space is still nascent, with firms and investors constantly searching for jurisdictions where the technology is welcomed and promoted.

That could provide Bhutan's economy a fillip and propel it to do better than its neighbours - India and China.

But could crypto mining be a profitable business for Bhutan's economy?

Bhutan produces cheap energy, which could provide good returns if used to mine Bitcoin.

An Emerging Crypto Economy

While Bhutan exports 75% of its energy to India, its power transmission must be more stable for most crypto miners to maximize their investment.

That's because the country's rivers dry up for more than three months every year, which means the Himalayan nation has to import energy during these times.

When a country cannot provide a stable infrastructure to its investors, they usually hesitate to invest. That is the only issue in the way of Bhutan becoming a mainstream economy.

But experts suggest providing crypto firms tax breaks and incubation to develop crypto products in its jurisdiction could give Bhutan a first-mover advantage.

The benefits could go beyond just crypto returns. It could bring more investments into the country and help its citizens grow. It could also become an attractive tourist destination for crypto millionaires to spend their money.

But Bhutan has resisted the temptation to become a mainstream economy for many years. So, will its investment in Bitcoin change that image for the hermit country, or was this just a get-rich-quick scheme that the monks saw coming?

Fund for Green Bitcoin Mining

Now the country is seeking a US$500 million fund for cryptocurrency mining operations in the Himalayas.

The funds are being sought by Bhutan's investment agency and Nasdaq-listed startup Bitdeer Technologies Group to advance green crypto mining in the Himalayan nation.

According to a joint statement by Druk Holding & Investments (DHI) and Bitdeer Technologies, fundraising efforts aimed at institutional investors will go up at the end of May to establish carbon-free digital mining that utilizes Bhutan's plentiful hydroelectric power.

Ujjwal Deep Dahal, CEO of the investment arm DHI, said that mining is the least dangerous approach for Bhutan to harness crypto prospects and that, for the time being, the country would focus on Bitcoin.

What is Bhutan's Strategy?

Forest-laden Bhutan, a landlocked country between China and India, is home to around 777,000 people and has been trying to diversify its hydropower-dependent economy for quite some time.

Using a "future-facing" strategy, Druk handles the government's assets in equities, bonds, technology, energy, real estate, cryptocurrency mining, and investing.

Bitcoin miners compete by employing energy-intensive computer hardware to solve complicated mathematical riddles to generate a new token supply. Unfortunately, this has resulted in concerns about the environment being harmed by using filthy fuels to generate electricity.

As the price of digital assets plummeted last year, miners were hit hard by higher energy costs and fiercer competition. However, in 2023, things are looking up thanks to the crypto market recovery.

Bitdeer, founded in Singapore and now owned by Chinese entrepreneur Jihan Wu, operates one of the largest crypto-mining facilities in Texas.

After a protracted merger with a special purpose acquisition company was finalised last month, the business resumed trading on the Nasdaq.

A regulatory filing says Bitdeer plans to build a 100-megawatt operation in Bhutan in the second quarter and finish in July–September.

In an interview, Bitdeer CEO Matt Linghui Kong stated the business and Druk would invest in the new fund.

Dahal stated Druk began "sandbox" crypto mining when Bitcoin hit US$5,000. Druk's stakes in BlockFi and Celsius Network, both bankrupt US digital-asset lenders, were minimal and "settled," Dahal said.

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