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Argentina’s prospective president, Sergio Massa, has unveiled a visionary plan to harness the surplus natural gas extracted from the Vaca Muerta oil fields for Bitcoin mining. This audacious proposal, however, has ignited a wave of disapproval within the local crypto community, as many express concerns about the government’s direct involvement in the intricate world of Bitcoin (BTC) mining.
In the waning days of October, Massa presented his strategy to employ the excess gas derived from the Vaca Muerta Formation, colloquially known as the ‘Dead Cow.’ The Vaca Muerta Formation stands as a prominent host rock for significant reserves of shale oil and shale gas.
The proposition was initially presented by the erudite computer scientist, Santiago Siri, during a recent meeting with Massa and the Minister of the Economy. The meeting, which made its way to Instagram, sparked a chorus of criticism, particularly resonating across various social media platforms.
As reported by local media outlet criptonoticias, Siri expounded upon the fundamental characteristics of Bitcoin, emphasizing its portrayal as digital gold. He underscored Bitcoin’s deflationary nature, elucidating that only 21 million units of the cryptocurrency will ever circulate.
Amid this conversation, Massa exhibited a keen interest in the concept of harnessing residual gas from the Vaca Muerta Formation for Bitcoin mining, signaling his receptiveness to Siri’s proposals.
The reverberations of the meeting swiftly reached the ears of the local crypto community, fueling a growing skepticism, particularly due to Siri’s previous unveiling of a prototype for Argentina’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Detractors within the community drew parallels between the CBDC and UBI, a token introduced by the Argentine scientist. Notably, UBI suffered a catastrophic 99% depreciation within a mere 24 hours of its 2021 launch.
A Venezuelan developer, Francisco Calderón, took to Twitter, humorously insinuating, “God raises them, and they get together,” while sharing a meme characterizing the meeting as a “rug pull.”
Massa addressed the topic of crypto mining in the local media on October 27, underscoring the unique opportunity presented by Vaca Muerta’s abundant resources.
The controversial matter became the centerpiece of a panel discussion on November 1 within the X-Spaces platform, featuring prominent figures in the Bitcoin mining sphere. The consensus among the participants emphasized their strong belief that Bitcoin mining should remain outside the purview of the state.
The speakers cited several challenges associated with a mining venture at Vaca Muerta, including the substantial electricity consumption and the need for a robust internet infrastructure.
José María Sarasola, the CEO of Cryptogranjas, a mining startup situated in the Vaca Muerta region, noted that excess gas often necessitates well closures. His venture employs unconventional energy sources such as pig and cow excrement and other organic and industrial waste to power digital mining operations.
In his words, “Bitcoin emerges as the ideal partner in this context, as it offers a sustainable solution for repurposing this stranded gas, thereby preventing its release into the atmosphere.” This environmentally conscious approach aligns with the global trend of harnessing renewable energy sources for cryptocurrency mining while tackling environmental concerns.
In the intricate dance between politics, technology, and environment, Argentina’s endeavor to leverage surplus gas for Bitcoin mining stands as a compelling narrative with both ardent supporters and vocal detractors, underscoring the dynamic nature of the cryptocurrency industry.