Viewpoint: Should Paraguay invest its energy wealth in bitcoin ‘mining’ or fighting poverty?
By Lawrence Blair
Shotgun-toting guards patrol an anonymous warehouse on the outskirts of Ciudad del Este. Perched on the triple border where Paraguay meets Brazil and Argentina, the melting-pot city is often associated with smuggling, cartels and drugs.
But inside, a new hot commodity is piling up by the second. Dozens of dismantled CPUs and internet-connected circuits whirr away in the gloom, LEDs flashing, adding to the subtropical heat.
They are just a few of an estimated 20,000 units citywide, mostly mining the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum in an industry that has sprung up almost overnight.
Behind the boom is the monolithic Itaipú dam the country shares with Brazil, stretching across the Paraná river just north of the city. It is the world’s most powerful hydroelectric facility, and its abundant energy supply makes Paraguay an ideal setting for bitcoin “mining”.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.