In Costa Rica, a 30-year-old hydropower plant that was on the verge of closure received a shot in the arm after the owner decided to utilize the energy generated to feed hundreds of computers hooked up to the cryptocurrency mining business. The plant according to Eduardo Kooper was forced to revamp itself after three decades as the government stopped purchasing electricity during the pandemic due to surplus power supply, where the state has a monopoly on energy distribution.
Kooper, president of the family business that owns the 60-hectare farm Data Center CR and the plant said,
We had to pause activity for nine months, and exactly one year ago I heard about Bitcoin, blockchain, and digital mining. I was very skeptical at first, but we saw that this business consumes a lot of energy and we have a surplus.
The mining center which has roughly 650 machines operate non-stop from eight containers powered by the plant next to the Poas River, 35 kilometers from the capital San Jose. Interestingly Costa Rica generates all of its energy from green sources. The hydroelectric company, with its three plants, are valued at $13.5 million and a three Megawatt capacity, invested $500,000 to venture into hosting digital mining computers.
Last year, Costa Rica hosted a new circular bitcoin economy after being inspired by the Bitcoin Beach project in El Salvador. On December 10th of 2021, a project called Bitcoin Jungle launched its own version of the Bitcoin Beach smartphone app at the local farmers’ market in Dominical where vendors accepted the first payment for products in Bitcoin. Apart from that, Costa Rica has not seen any major developments in the crypto scene compared to El Salvador.
Costa Rica ‘s government indecisive stance
Kooper said global crypto miners are looking for clean, cheap energy and a stable internet connection, which he claims Costa Rica has plenty of. However, he said the government should be more aggressive in its efforts to attract more crypto mining businesses. Unlike El Salvador, Costa Rica lacks regulatory clarity for cryptocurrencies. Its Central bank said it was providing space for technological innovation to allow a Fintech industry to take shape and was constantly monitoring developments.