Bhutan Embraces Bitcoin Mining with Green Energy

Bhutan, the small Himalayan kingdom, has been quietly accumulating and mining Bitcoin since April 2019. The country of less than 800,000 people is leveraging its abundant hydroelectric power to power its Bitcoin mining operations. Known for its focus on “Gross National Happiness” and picturesque landscapes, Bhutan has found ways to harness its immense hydroelectric potential, which accounts for 30% of its gross domestic product.

According to an exposé in local Bhutanese news and inquiries from Forbes, Bhutanese officials have confirmed that mining began when the price of Bitcoin was around $5,000 in April 2019. The price per Bitcoin has since soared to roughly $28,000 per coin at the time of writing. While the scale of Bhutan’s mining operations remains a mystery, some Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) employees have listed “crypto mining” as their tasks and skills on their LinkedIn profiles.

It is worth noting that the state-owned holding company DHI has invested millions of dollars in cryptocurrency holdings, with the funds managed on behalf of its people. The government is reportedly exploring partnerships to expand its mining operations further. One such partnership is with Nasdaq-listed mining company Bitdeer to secure 100 megawatts of power for a Bitcoin mining data center in Bhutan. This partnership would increase Bitdeer’s mining capacity by about 12%.

It is unclear why the government chose not to disclose this project to its citizens or international partners. However, Bhutan’s focus on green energy and sustainability makes it an ideal destination for mining Bitcoin. Bitcoin mining is the world’s cleanest industry, with more than 50% of its energy sources being renewable or clean energy. Due to cheap, abundant hydroelectric power, DHI reported that Bhutan is an ideal destination for mining Bitcoin.

Bhutan adds to a long list of regions from East Africa to Scandinavia mining Bitcoin with hydropower, one of the cheapest clean energy sources. The country’s commitment to green energy and sustainability is commendable, and it sets an excellent example for other countries looking to adopt Bitcoin mining. With its vast hydroelectric potential, Bhutan has the potential to become a significant player in the Bitcoin mining industry.


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Bhutan Sovereign Investment Fund Invests Millions in Crypto

The Kingdom of Bhutan’s sovereign investment arm, Druk Holding and Investments (DHI), has quietly built up a crypto portfolio worth millions of dollars without disclosing it to the public. DHI is a commercial arm of the royal government of Bhutan and is estimated to manage around $2.9 billion in assets.

According to a report released by Forbes, DHI’s crypto investments were brought to light following the crypto contagion in 2022 when companies like Celsius and BlockFi filed for bankruptcy. A Celsius filing showed that DHI withdrew over $65 million and deposited almost $18 million in crypto.

BlockFi lawyers filed a complaint against DHI to reclaim outstanding assets, alleging that the fund defaulted on its $30 million loan in March. BlockFi claimed that DHI refused to repay the loan in full after liquidating the 1,888 Bitcoin (BTC) collateral, worth $76.5 million at the time.

DHI CEO Ujjwal Deep Dahal said in a statement to Forbes that the issue with BlockFi is confidential and highlighted that the “matter with BlockFi has been settled.” However, the exact terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Celsius and BlockFi were two of the most prominent bankruptcy filings within the crypto space in 2022. On July 14, crypto lending platform Celsius filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, also known as a bankruptcy filing. Since then, the embattled crypto lender has been dealing with bankruptcy proceedings and is working on a restructuring plan. On Nov. 28, BlockFi also filed for bankruptcy after being affected by the infamous collapse of the FTX exchange.

Bhutan is a small landlocked country in South Asia, located in the eastern Himalayas. The country is known for its Gross National Happiness index, which measures the well-being of its citizens instead of just economic growth. Bhutan has been gradually opening up to the world in recent years, with a focus on sustainable development and environmentally friendly policies.

The news of Bhutan’s crypto investments is a reminder of the increasing interest in cryptocurrencies among governments and institutional investors. While many countries have been skeptical of cryptocurrencies and have implemented strict regulations, others have embraced them as a way to diversify their portfolios and hedge against inflation.

In recent years, countries like China, Russia, and Iran have explored the use of cryptocurrencies for international trade, while other countries like El Salvador and Ukraine have adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. The growing interest in cryptocurrencies from governments and institutional investors is expected to continue in the coming years, as the crypto market matures and becomes more mainstream.

In conclusion, Bhutan’s sovereign investment fund’s decision to invest millions in cryptocurrencies highlights the increasing interest in digital assets among governments and institutional investors. While the exact size and composition of DHI’s crypto portfolio remain undisclosed, the news is a reminder of the growing importance of cryptocurrencies in the global financial system. As the crypto market continues to evolve and mature, it is likely that more countries and institutional investors will follow Bhutan’s lead and invest in digital assets.


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Ripple Announces Partnership With Central Bank of Bhutan Using ‘Power of XRP Ledger’

The San Francisco-based payments company Ripple says its technology will power a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot project in Bhutan.

The nation’s Royal Monastery Authority (RMA) is collaborating with the crypto firm to roll out its very own CBDC as a way of improving the efficiency of cross-nation payments and increasing financial inclusivity, according to a post on Ripple’s website.



“The RMA believes that easier, faster and more affordable payments, both domestically and internationally, will help it reach its goal of increasing financial inclusion by 85% by 2023.”

Ripple says the project will utilize the XRP Ledger.

“The power of the technology underlying the XRP Ledger, combined with Ripple’s experience in cross-border payments and tokenization, will harness tremendous speed, cost and innovation advantages in support of this mission.”

Ripple says Bhutan, the world’s first and only carbon negative nation, is particularly interested in working with the blockchain developer because the XRP Ledger is highly energy efficient.

“In addition to the technology, Ripple’s commitment to sustainability [is] important for Bhutan. The CBDC solution is carbon neutral and, because it’s based on the public XRP Ledger, is 120,000 times more energy efficient than proof-of-work blockchains.”

After the announcement, the world’s sixth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap saw its price surge from a two-day low of $0.87 to $1.01, a 16% increase, before stabilizing at $0.96, according to CoinGecko.

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Ripple Labs to Provide Infrastructure for Establishing Bhutan’s Digital Ngultrum

Branded as the only Carbon-neutral country globally, Bhutan has tapped the services of blockchain payments firms Ripple Labs Inc to design its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the Digital Ngultrum.

As announced by Ripple, Bhutan’s central bank, the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), will use the XRP Ledger solution to launch its CBDC in phases.

The choice of Ripple stems from the company’s related commitment to sustainability processes and its extensive roots in cross-border payment solutions. The CBDC design will be Carbon-neutral and deployed as a veritable tool to fast-track the country’s financial inclusion drive.

As many Bhutan citizens are unbanked, the mountainous nation hopes the Digital Ngultrum will foster “easier, faster and more affordable payments, both domestically and internationally,” helping it reach its goal of increasing financial inclusion by as much as 85% in 2023.

“Beyond privacy, the CBDC solution is also custom-designed to handle payments at the volume of transactions required by a successful retail CBDC. This provides central banks like the RMA with the security, control, and flexibility they need to deploy a CBDC without compromising financial stability or monetary policy objectives,” Ripple said in the official announcement.

The company noted that the CBDC design will be cost-effective and “will enable the RMA to eventually access a network of CBDC ledgers for full settlement interoperability, while still maintaining monetary and technological independence.”

Many sovereign nations developing their CBDC solutions are employing the expertise of homegrown technologies, as being managed by their respective Central Banks. The choice of Ripple for its CBDC version is ripe as the company’s XRP Ledger infrastructure currently powers millions of cross-border transactions and will serve as a sustainable prototype for the 800,000 population in Bhutan.

Amongst the top apex banks designing a CBDC product include the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), amongst others.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Ripple is helping Bhutan pilot a CBDC

The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan is partnering with Ripple to pilot a central bank digital currency in the mountainous kingdom.

In a Wednesday announcement, Ripple Labs said Bhutan’s central bank would be taking advantage of the company’s private ledger to issue and manage a digital ngultrum. According to Ripple, the move was motivated by the Royal Monetary Authority’s, or RMA’s, effort to improve cross-border payments, expand financial inclusion for its residents, and “extend its commitment to sustainability as the only carbon-negative country in the world.”

With a population of roughly 800,000, Bhutan’s gross domestic product amounted to $2.5 billion in 2020. Although many news outlets report on the country’s “gross national happiness” as an alternative to traditional finance, thousands of Bhutanese citizens do not have access to a savings account or credit card. The RMA said that it plans to increase financial inclusion in the country by 85% by 2023 by making payments with a central bank digital currency, or CBDC, “easier, faster and more affordable.”

“Beyond privacy, the CBDC solution is also custom designed to handle payments at the volume of transactions required by a successful retail CBDC,” said Ripple. “This provides central banks like the RMA with the security, control and flexibility they need to deploy a CBDC without compromising financial stability or monetary policy objectives.”

The announcement comes more than six months after Ripple said it would be piloting a private version of the XRP Ledger to provide central banks a solution to launch a CBDC. Bhutan is one of the first countries to avail itself of this service.

Related: Ghana gearing for central bank digital currency pilot

Other CBDC pilots across the world continue with Indian officials hinting they will begin rolling out a digital rupee in December, and Nigeria’s central bank planning to launch a digital currency by 2022. However, China has seemingly led the pack, having started trials of its digital yuan in April 2020.