Virunga National Park, the second largest equatorial rainforest on the globe, managed to avoid bankruptcy after Bitcoin mining started in the region.
Placed on the eastern side of Congo, this national park contains 50% of Africa’s mammals and 30% of the mountain gorilla population, an endangered species. Following Ebola, COVID-19, and a spree of kidnappings, the national park experience a dramatic drop in tourist numbers. However, bitcoin mining allows it to keep working on its conservation activities. According to a MIT Technology report, the park’s director stated that tourists avoidance caused revenues to drop 40%. Congo’s government contributes just 1% of the funds required for the park, so solutions had to come quickly or else.
Emmanuel de Merode, the park’s director, explained that he and his colleagues planned to use the park’s hydro plant to supply the necessary power for bitcoin mining systems. The rigs are worth USD 200k. This project was the last hope of the park’s caretakers to save it from going bust.
Currently, there are 10 bitcoin mining systems, each containing 250-500 rigs, all of running on power from the hydro plant. Cashing in on the gorilla’s popularity, the park partnered with CyberKongz to create an NFT collection. The gorilla NFTs were auctioned at Christie’s and managed to raise USD 1.2 million.