Forbes recently revealed the existence of four secret state-run mining sites in Bhutan, a revelation made possible through satellite imagery from Planet Labs, Satellite Vu and Google (NASDAQ: ) Earth, as well as internal disclosures. These facilities are strategically located near the Dochula Pass with its sacred memorial temples, the rugged landscape of Trongsa, Dagana and the desolate Education City initiative. They are believed to have begun operations around 2020 and are equipped with sophisticated mining units linked directly to hydroelectric plants.
The Himalayan kingdom is currently struggling with economic challenges, including a decline in tourism and high youth unemployment. Furthermore, the country is suffering from brain drain due to increased migration rates. In response to these pressures, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has supported cryptocurrency mining initiatives similar to those in El Salvador. Bhutan’s hydropower, mainly exported to India, currently fuels these energy-intensive activities. As a result, the country’s electricity imports increased to $20.7 million this year.
The strategic location of these mining centers across remote areas demonstrates Bhutan’s significant investment in cryptocurrency as a means of economic support. The move is part of a broader trend as countries with abundant renewable energy resources explore digital currencies to boost their economies. The king’s initiative reflects a strategic pivot as Bhutan adapts to global economic changes while seeking new paths to financial stability.
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