On May 3, 2023, Druk Holding & Investments (DHI) and Bitdeer Technologies Group (NASDAQ: BTDR) (“Bitdeer”), announced the formation of a strategic partnership between the two to develop environmentally sustainable, carbon free digital asset mining operations in Bhutan. A joint statement from the two also said that DHI and Bitdeer expect to launch the Partnership through establishment of a closed-end fund with an estimated size of up to US$500 million (the “Fund”) and that fundraising is expected to commence at the end of May, 2023, with the goal to attract investment from the international community.
Speaking about it, DHI’s chief executive officer (CEO) Ujjwal Deep Dahal said that it is a collective goal of the two partners and that they are confident of raising US $ 500 million. “Moreover, we are talking about carbon-free digital mining,” he said. As was mentioned by the CEO to the Bhutanese local media earlier, he reiterated that mining is the least risky way for Bhutan to tap crypto opportunities and for now the nation will focus on Bitcoin.
“As has been quoted by Bloomberg and mentioned to you all, too, it’s really important for us to look at assets that are low volume, high value, or digital assets for that matter, and try to position ourselves in a way that we can be competitive globally over time to build our economy,” DHI’s CEO told Business Bhutan.
Concerning Bloomberg’s information that Bitdeer expects to set up a hydro power operation in Bhutan, with construction slated to start in the second quarter, which would be completed in July through September, DHI’s CEO said that everything that is important, necessary and required is being done.
Additionally, DHI’s CEO has also told Bloomberg that there are no issues whatsoever with US digital-asset lenders and that everything has been settled.
Picking from Bloomberg’s article, international media has said that mining cryptocurrency has long attracted criticism for the energy-guzzling nature of the process. “But now a unique approach to this problem may be on the horizon. The investment arm of Bhutan along with Nasdaq-listed company Bitdeer Technologies Group is seeking investors to set up a fund of up to 500 million dollars. The fund will then be used to develop green crypto mining in the Himalayan kingdom,” WION reported.
In 2021, cryptocurrency investors and companies launched an initiative dubbed the Crypto Climate Accord, pledging to transition their operations by 2030 to renewable energy sources. The initiative, modeled after the Paris Agreement on climate change, has since attracted more than 250 members. Industry players also have developed eco-friendly talking points, seeking to cast miners in a new light. Data centers can serve as “catalysts for clean energy” development by soaking up excess renewable energy and spurring investments in more generation, crypto company executives told a congressional hearing in January. And cryptocurrency operations can provide grid stability by curtailing operations during times of high demand.
Last year, dozens of companies united under the umbrella of the Crypto Climate Accord, pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. According to international media, two US firms — Block and Blockstream — are preparing to launch a fully solar-powered bitcoin mine in June.
Meanwhile, when asked about his reaction to the partnership and the article by Bloomberg, a businessman who did not want to be named but said that he had bought ethereum a long time back said every Bhutanese who understands the country’s strengths and weaknesses should know how important “this leap” is. “Some experts had told your paper that we cannot miss the boat and that we need to seize the opportunity. A perspective from a common citizen in the same issue of your paper has in the simplest of terms explained the same. DHI has consistently been saying that their portfolios are spread and that everything is being done after a lot of study. What more do our people want,” he questioned. “And remember, we are now being told about environmentally sustainable, carbon free digital asset mining operations in Bhutan,” he added.
One of the global leaders in digital mining, Bitdeer has been providing digital mining solutions since 2018. It has 5 mining farms worldwide and members across over 200 countries/region and offers 10+ industry-leading, mineable crypto-currencies through its extensive network of mining farms.
Jihan Wu, Chairman of Bitdeer Technologies Group known chiefly as a translator of Satoshi Nakamoto’s original Bitcoin whitepaper, was one of the first cryptocurrency evangelists to introduce Bitcoin to early adopters. In 2018, he was recognised by Fortune Magazine as one of the ‘40 young people under 40’ as being on the leading edge of Fintech and transforming business. Wu has been the chairman of Matrixport since 2019. This startup which he co-founded, reached unicorn status in 2021 with a $1B valuation. He also started Bitdeer in Singapore. Bitdeer Technologies Group commenced trading on Nasdaq on April 14, 2023. Wu’s lengthy tenure within the crypto space makes him one of the most credible and influential figures in the industry.
DHI, called as the commercial arm of the Royal Government of Bhutan is the largest and only government owned holding company in Bhutan, holding shares of 21 different domestic companies operating in diverse fields. DHI’s wider portfolio contains investments across a range of asset classes that deliver exposure to traditional sectors and the industries driving the modern economy. This includes global equities, fixed income and venture capital investments in promising startups; domestic and international real estate; renewable energy including hydropower generation; healthtech, biotech, life sciences and agritech; and digital asset mining and investment.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s article of May 3, 2023 states that Bitcoin surged to a record high of almost $69,000 in a pandemic-era crypto boom that peaked in 2021. The largest digital asset then sank below $16,000 in 2022 but has since rebounded to about $28,500.
Ugyen Tenzin from Thimphu