Braiins visited miners in Paraguay to understand the future of mining in this energy-rich region. Here’s what we learned.
The Braiins team recently traveled to the heart of South America to see firsthand what Paraguay has to offer to bitcoin miners. Paraguay is at the beginning of its rise to prominence in the bitcoin mining world, a major regional trend worth watching that can create a veritable oasis for bitcoin miners.
The country’s Itaipu Dam has been the focal point of attention for miners who have been eyeing Paraguay as a place to set up operations. Considered the second largest dam in the world after China's Three Gorges Dam, the Itaipu Dam has an overproduction of 5500 MW of hydroelectric power, most of which is currently being sold to Brazil at a relatively low price.
Paraguay will finish paying off the debt for the construction of the dam in 2023, but Brazil’s government is still planning for most of the dam’s excess energy to be sold to them. Itaipu’s technical advisors say the biggest challenge facing Paraguayan leadership is "to be able to utilize more of this energy in Paraguay and for all Paraguayans to benefit."
After our visit, the Braiins team is convinced that bitcoin mining can be a huge component in solving that challenge. This article explains why.
Paraguay already has one of the most important ingredients to attract bitcoin miners: incredibly cheap electricity. Paraguay’s power costs currently average around 0.033$/kWh. But the power costs aren’t just low. The country also has one of the most stable electricity tariffs in the world, having remained constant for 10 years.
And with Paraguay having nearly repaid all construction costs for Itaipu, power prices could drop even lower. In fact, studies are being carried out to implement a larger-scale flexible demand option for local electricity consumers. These programs are already in operation at a much smaller scale in cities like Villa Rica, which could justify far lower electricity prices for miners willing to participate.
Demand response programs create electricity buyers that are willing to reduce or altogether stop their power consumption at certain times to supply more energy to the grid. These programs help the grid better support peak demand periods by making it economical to produce more energy than is typically required during lower demand periods, since the miners can soak up the excess.
Miners are the ultimate demand response resource due to their location independence and ease of adjustment in power consumption (from 0 to 100% and vice versa in under 1 minute). Many miners participating in demand response programs elsewhere in the world already adapt the energy consumption of their operation with our autotuning firmware, Braiins OS+.
But what do miners gain from volunteering to occasionally shut off their power? The answer is simple: an unbeatable power price (less than $0.02/kWh), making them competitive with the largest, most efficient institutional miners anywhere in the world.
Cheap power isn’t the only feature necessary to a favorable environment for mining though. Friendly and reliable regulation is important too, and Paraguay offers this.
On July 14, 2021, a bill regulating the industry and commercialization of virtual (read “crypto”) assets was presented in order to guarantee legal, financial and fiscal security to businesses derived from their production and commercialization. This bill should decrease the risk of importing expensive mining hardware to Paraguay and make the process of building infrastructure in the country much easier.
Paraguay is already a relatively easy place to build mining infrastructure. This is thanks in part to cheap and fast permitting as well as a lot of open land around substations. But the local climate can be taxing on mining hardware.
Paraguay’s temperatures run hot all year long. There’s also no shortage of reddish-brown dirt blown every direction when the wind picks up, which presents obvious concerns for maintaining clean and efficient mining facilities. These and other climate conditions suggest that Paraguayan miners could soon begin to transition en masse to immersion infrastructure similar to the trend currently happening in Texas today.
Although Paraguay will certainly lag far behind Texas for a while, the benefits of immersion seem too great to ignore given the climate and environment. Immersion can help more safely and efficiently overclock hardware, which is important for many miners to boost revenue and remain competitive. Immersion also means the ability to extend hardware lifespan and reduce maintenance requirements.
The Braiins team visited Paraguay not just to see first hand the country’s enormous potential as a hub for mining, but also to strengthen relationships with lots of current Braiins miners and build new and important partnerships for the future.
Our team’s goal is to continue offering industry-leading products and services to miners and we are eager to aid miners in Paraguay that are building the region into a premier mining destination. Miners with at least 1 MW of capacity who don’t already mine with Braiins should reach out for more information and to let our team help you optimize your operations, reduce inefficiencies, and boost revenue.
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Final thought: As hashrate continues shuffling around the world and relocating to new regions, the future of bitcoin mining in Paraguay cannot be ignored.
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