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Argentina Presidential Candidate Proposes Mining Bitcoin With Residual Natural Gas, Faces Skepticism

Argentina’s presidential candidate, Sergio Massa, has revealed his plans to leverage excess natural gas extracted from the Vaca Muerta oil fields for Bitcoin mining. However, this proposal faced opposition from the local cryptocurrency community, who expressed concerns about the government’s direct involvement in Bitcoin mining.

In late October, Massa introduced a concept to make use of surplus gas sourced from the Vaca Muerta Formation, colloquially known as ‘Dead Cow.’ This geological formation is renowned for hosting significant deposits of shale oil and shale gas.

The proposal was presented by computer scientist Santiago Siri during a recent meeting with Massa and the Minister of Economy. The meeting was shared on Instagram but garnered a considerable amount of criticism, sparking contentious discussions on various social media platforms.

As reported by local media outlet criptonoticias, Siri discussed the unique attributes of Bitcoin, including its portrayal as digital gold, and emphasized that Bitcoin is a deflationary currency with a capped supply of 21 million units.

Massa displayed receptiveness to the idea of utilizing residual gas from Vaca Muerta for Bitcoin mining during the conversation.

Growing Skepticisms

This meeting occurred in the midst of escalating criticism from the local cryptocurrency community, notably after Santiago Siri presented a prototype of Argentina’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Detractors within the community took to social media to draw comparisons between the CBDC and UBI, a token introduced by the Argentine scientist. It was noted that UBI had lost a staggering 99% of its value within just 24 hours of its launch in 2021.

A Venezuelan developer, Francisco Calderón, expressed his sentiments on Twitter, saying, “God raises them and they get together.” He also shared a meme characterizing the meeting as a “rug pull,” implying a sudden and deceptive financial maneuver.

On Twitter, another user raised “bigger red flags,” emphasizing concerns in response to the Massa-Siri meeting.

On October 27, Massa discussed crypto mining using Vaca Muerta’s resources in an interview with local media.

Opposing State’s Intervene in Crypto Mining

This topic sparked a discussion on November 1st in X-Spaces, featuring speakers, including Bitcoin miners. During the discussion, it was widely argued that Bitcoin mining should not be under the direct control of the State.

Miners also highlighted some of the challenges associated with a mining operation at Vaca Muerta, such as the high energy consumption and the need for costly infrastructure, particularly a reliable Internet connection.

According to José María Sarasola, the CEO of Cryptogranjas, a mining startup located in the Vaca Muerta region, the surplus gas presents a unique opportunity. He noted that when there is excess gas, traditional practices involve closing the well. However, his startup utilizes unconventional sources like pig and cow excrement as well as other organic and industrial waste to generate energy for digital mining. Sarasola pointed out that Bitcoin serves as the ideal partner in this context, as it allows the excess gas to be consumed and repurposed without venting it into the atmosphere, addressing both environmental concerns and resource utilization.

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