A circular bitcoin economy in Guatemala is using resources that would otherwise be wasted to power a local bitcoin mining operation, giving its resident financial autonomy and demonstrating a viable economic path outside the government-controlled economy.
Patrick Melder, MD, founder of the circular economy coined “Bitcoin Lake”He told Bitcoin Magazine that this is so “Kaboom” bitcoin mining project. it is the result of the desire to help clean up nearby Lake Atitlán by providing a continuous source of income for the community.
“We don’t have large donations or donations to do what we’re doing,” he said, noting a stark difference with El Salvador’s Bitcoin Beach, which was founded in part thanks to a donation. “Bitcoin mining was a way to get bitcoin into the community.”
Prior to this project, many attempts had been made to clean up the lake, most of which suffered from the flaw of trying to fix everything at once. According to Melder, a review approach increases complexity and ends up reducing the likelihood of completion.
“Over the past five years, a major effort to clean up the lake that cost up to $ 300 million has failed because it was so complex with so many large stakeholders that they couldn’t agree on a solution,” he added.
Bitcoin Lake took a different approach by starting small with reusing cooking oil used to power bitcoin mining ASICs.
“This cooking oil would be thrown into the street or it would end up in the landfill which is several hundred feet above Lake Atitlán,” Melder explained. “Either way, it would find its way into the watershed and the lake.”
By initiating this initiative, Melder said he expects to trigger a snowball effect in neighboring communities as they realize that cleaning up the environment can not only be feasible but also profitable.
“All community leaders and citizens of the lake are concerned about the environment, but there are limited tools and resources to tackle the problem. So our goal is to create a “sliding scale” use of wasted / stranded energy to mine bitcoin and, in the meantime, clean the lake and create wealth in communities. It’s an escalator because in a small community, we might just have a “Kaboom-like” project or we might have small biodigesters collecting waste. “
Melder used to travel with his family to the city of Panajachel, Guatemala every summer during his daughters’ college years, but after they graduated from college, those trips to the Central American country came to an end. However, Melder and his wife continued to look for ways to return. It wasn’t long before he discovered Bitcoin Beach in El Salvador, which ultimately inspired him to travel to Panajachel once again and start Bitcoin Lake.
“My wish was to bring the Bitcoin Beach model to Panajachel, a beautiful city on Lake Atitlán in the Guatemalan highlands,” he wrote in a 2021 blog post who detailed his vision of the project.
In addition to cleaning up the lake, Melder detailed in that blog post the other goals Bitcoin Lake would have set out to achieve, including helping a local education center and creating economic opportunities for the “small but vibrant.” Guatemalan city “. Since then, Bitcoin has been at the forefront of the project’s work.
“Everything we do in the community is related to bitcoin. It is funded by bitcoin, teaches bitcoin, or is taught or implemented by bitcoiners, “Melder told Bitcoin Magazine.” Our three goals in the community are to teach bitcoin, create a circular bitcoin economy, and clean the environment by mining. bitcoin as an economic incentive “.
While Bitcoin Lake tackles the latter, the other two goals haven’t been sidelined. On the education front, the project helped introduce Bitcoin-related courses at the local Josué Educational Center.
“Children are taught every aspect of Bitcoin, from ‘what is money?’, ‘What is inflation?’, ‘Why was bitcoin created’, to the basics of bitcoin mining, to the creation of a node full bitcoin, etc. ”Detailed Melder. “We are proud to say that we have been doing this since January 2022 developing our curriculum along the way and we have had Bitcoiners from all over the world who came to help us.”
Work started at the local school has since spread to a wider audience in the city, Melder said, in an effort to help people of all ages learn more about the world of peer-to-peer digital money.
“We have held educational meetings on bitcoin for adults and entrepreneurs in the community and have made an effort to include leaders of the indigenous community as well,” he said.
With a better understanding of the technology, adoption is facilitated as users and business owners are not caught off guard or forced to use bitcoin. Rather, it initiates a movement, of course.
“Since we started in January of this year, we have integrated over 60 companies in and around Panajachel and in Guatemala as a whole we have around 200 companies that we have integrated to accept bitcoin,” Melder explained.
As awareness of Bitcoin grows and adoption continues, the community is set to continue expanding its initiatives. On the mining front, Melder plans to further develop the reuse of wasted and blocked resources to increase the community’s steady income and further improve the efficiency of lake remediation.
“Our Bitcoin environmental cleanup / mining initiative has just begun, but it will grow to the point in about a year that we can actually take unsorted landfill waste (new or old) and turn it into a clean energy source to mine bitcoin.” , Melder predicted. “We are working with a group outside the UK to bring this to life and it will have a major impact in Panajachel and Guatemala as we now have an economic incentive to clean up the huge waste problem that exists in Guatemala and most countries in way of development. We are proud to be the first to commercialize this technology ”.