We have to move ahead

It is wise to refrain from commenting on subjects one is not very clear about. This is especially important for people who have large followings on social media as the wrong information is passed. Further, if those reading the information also do not know about the subject, then matters become worse. Due to this, I hardly comment or write on topics I am not very aware of. But today, I think that I need to write as wrong information on what DHI has done seem to be circulating. I am not an expert. But by reading social media posts etc, I feel I know more than most of the people.

Firstly, let us talk about the article by Forbes and then what others wrote. Forbes should know that Bhutan has no boundaries with Nepal. Based on Forbes story, other papers began to write that Bhutan has “secretly” invested in crypto. I fail to understand this. Is there an international body where individuals and others who are involved in mining need to report to? Just because the papers did not know, they have said that we “secretly” did it. Are we obligated to inform Forbes and others about all Business we are involved in? Are we not a sovereign country?

Now let me give some information about the global structure. These are from reputed and recognized media outlets. 

The United States remains by far the world’s largest crypto miner, boasting 3-4 gigawatts and Russia’s generating capacity reached 1 gigawatt in January-March 2023.

Texas is home to the largest Bitcoin mining sites in North America, and fast achieving status as the undisputed Bitcoin mining capital of the world. This was said by Texas Blockchain Council President Lee Bratcher at an industry summit in Austin in November 2022. Texas has about 1.5 gigawatts of crypto mining capacity, mainly Bitcoin, operating with about 37 gigawatts vying to connect to the state grid as of Oct. 20, according to the most recent data available from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

European mining giants have settled in Norway and according to a report by Norwegian analytics and research company Arcane Research, Norway has grown into a thriving Bitcoin mining industry despite its small population and geographical location.

There are many other countries. But let me stop here and go into another area. After China banned crypto currencies in 2021, most miners went to the US. This is the reason why there was a boost in the US.

For good or bad, the US is the world’s strongest nation. Now, if there is no future for crypto, why would the US become the number 1 country involved in mining? This is a question for those who do not seem to have looked at all aspects of this business.

Let us come home now. We are a GNH country. We are a carbon negative country. The world claps. But do we get anything substantial from these claps or whatever? I am not undermining GNH or our environmental policy. We have gained international recognition. But what we have to understand is that there are trade offs or opportunity costs.

Self sufficiency in several fields have been our goal for several years. It has not materialized because of several reasons, one of which is our location. We are landlocked. We cannot compete with our two big neighbours. This is why even today we depend on others. Like small children we are given chocolates now and then. The above claps and recognition could not stop hundreds of our people from going to other countries for better opportunities. If we had money, sufficient money to enable our people realize their aspirations, they would be here today. At the end of the day, everything boils down to money.

DHI’s investment is business. In business risks are there. In business we do not reveal everything. Further, DHI’s mandates are huge. I am against DHI companies selling things such as refrigerators etc. This can be left for the private people. DHI has to do bigger things, like what it has done with the investments. This is also something we have to understand.

The other question is why should we step aside when others are in this business, especially so when we have nothing much to generate income from, except electricity. We cannot compete with our two big neighbors in other fields. Crypto mining is an area where we have opportunities that will not only benefit the present but also the future. Sadly, we need money like every other country and if we do not bank on something that has the potential, what do we do?

I am also happy that apart from few people, most of our citizens that I interacted with is with DHI. We should be as DHI is doing everything for us. Those who are against it should look at all angles. 

Finally, I wish DHI and the team the best of luck. Our prayers are with you. 

Tandin Wangchuk, Olakha, Thimphu