Digital Asset Mining – An Investment for all Bhutanese

Is it because Bhutanese really do not understand the aspects of digital mining and its benefit? Or is it because Bhutanese are least bothered?

An expatriate here asked this question after Druk Holding & Investments (DHI) confirmed that it is into digital mining. Similarly, there was no excitement when DHI’s partnership with Bitdeer Technologies Group (NASDAQ: BTDR), was announced, apart from a few who admit that they do not know what digital mining is all about, but have many questions, assumptions and conclusions.

We jump and comment on almost all issues – beginning from chilly prices to taxi fares. Yes! People must be doing it as it affects them directly. But we (especially the literate lot) should realize that digital asset mining is also linked to every Bhutanese. DHI, the commercial arm of the Royal Government has ventured into it, not to generate revenue for DHI alone, but for all Bhutanese, today and tomorrow and as per its mandate enshrined in the Royal Charter.

In the simplest of terms, what we need to understand is that it is an investment, based on our comparative advantages, especially our potential in hydropower, which we have not optimally harnessed. All countries, multinational corporations and industry base what they do on comparative advantages before producing and selling, for it is a competitive world out there.

Bangladesh’s cheap labour, its comparative advantage, has made it a giant in the textile industry. Jaran Mellerud, bitcoin mining analyst with Luxor had told Forbes that it’s no surprise that entities are mining bitcoin in Bhutan. He had said that Bhutan has a massive hydropower capacity compared to its small population and produces a similar amount of electricity per capita as the United States — a much wealthier country. He also added that this cheap, stranded hydropower is undoubtedly alluring for miners whose sole job is turning undervalued electricity into bitcoin.

History is testament that Bhutan is cautious in extending our hands for developmental collaborations or choosing partners. Our five year plans (FYPs) began with Indian assistance, which gradually led to the germination and fortification of excellent, time tested relations with India. As we face shortages of STEM teachers today, we have again sought assistance from India.

Similarly, DHI would not have immediately jumped to partner with Bitdeer Technologies Group (NASDAQ: BTDR), without weighing the costs and benefits. Bitdeer is one of the global leaders in digital mining. 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.

“It is a slap on Satoshi Nakamoto,” a Bhutanese executive said in humour about the Bhutanese public’s lackluster response and voices from those who comment without any knowledge about the subject. For those that don’t know, Satoshi Nakamoto (whom I call The Phantom) is a pseudonym for the person or people who helped develop the first bitcoin software and introduced the concept of crypto-currency to the world in a 2008 paper.

The Bhutanese public may question why they should be interested in such projects. The reason is simple – it is our project. As mentioned in the Constitution, “Bhutan is a Sovereign Kingdom and the Sovereign power belongs to the people of Bhutan and the rights over mineral resources, rivers, lakes and forests shall vest in the State and are the properties of the State, which shall be regulated by law.” Thus, every Bhutanese is an entity of digital asset mining and only by knowing about the project will we be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses and then accordingly question agencies involved in it.

We just cannot shoot an arrow in the dark.