Tonga is planning to use Bitcoin as legal cash and to mine Bitcoin using volcanoes.

Tonga, a small Pacific island, might recognise Bitcoin as a legal means of trade by the second quarter of 2023. It may also recognise Bitcoin mining by the third quarter of 2023. Lord Fusitu’a, a former Tongan parliamentarian, has revealed a possible timeline for the country’s adoption of Bitcoin. Fusitu’a, a Tongan aristocrat, had previously revealed the four-step approach, which was a carbon duplicate of the Salvadoran Bitcoin playbook.

The first step is remittance, the second is legal money, the third is Bitcoin mining, and the fourth is converting national treasuries to Bitcoin, thereby converting the country to a Bitcoin standard.

Fusitu’a gave additional insight on steps two and three during a Twitter exchange, outlining a schedule for when these changes may take effect.

In an interview, Lord Fusitu’a stated:

“Let’s say the [legal tender] bill is passed in beginning to mid-October. After this, the bill goes to the palace office for three to four weeks. HM [His Majesty] will either give or not give royal ascent by mid-November.”

The bill is subsequently returned to the government for the “gazette” procedure. The purpose of the gazette is to keep the public informed about developments. Given that Tonga’s prayer week occurs in the first week of January, Lord Fusitu’a is optimistic that the gazette will be issued by the second week of January 2023. For the enactment of the legal tender bill:

“Conservatively, the earliest date realistically is the beginning to the middle of February as the activation date. It could be much, much earlier if the last three steps are rushed through — which I have seen before.”

Lord Fusitu’a arrived to the conclusion that “all things being equal, let’s say mid-February”.

The potential for the country’s Bitcoin mining businesses is enormous.

Tonga has 21 volcanoes (another Bitcoin coincidence) that generate more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity each year. Tonga has “a potential 1960 MW with nothing to do” since the national grid utilises 40 MW each year.

However, in order to mine efficiently, the government may need to be involved, and internet infrastructure must be reliable. Fortunately, according to an agreement reached with the international financial agency The World Bank over eight years ago, broadband infrastructure will not be a barrier to increasing internet and mining activities.

Lord Fusitu’a’s mother arranged a telecoms arrangement with The World Bank that successfully “futureproofed” their broadband infrastructure. Lord Fusitu’a’s legal training came in useful during talks, as he was able to manage the transaction due to his extensive knowledge of the country’s fibre cable infrastructure.

To put it simply, Tonga has “enough bandwidth to grow for the next 100 years”.

Furthermore, since practically every house in Tonga has fibre connection because the cable is connected “to the door”, home mining is a feasible option. As a result, Tongan families might mine at home using inexpensive excess volcanic energy in the 2020s.

The government must be on the side of the country in order for it to attain a national level of Bitcoin mining. Lord Fusitu’a has said that Bitcoin mining might begin “as soon as Q3 2023”. It seems that the government is also likely to support it.

“The mining activities might be run privately or in partnership with the government”. “A new state-owned business may be required for it to take off”, he remarked.

Bitcoin mining businesses interested in seeing the Tongan Bitcoin narrative unfold have now handed Lord Fusitu’a mining gear in 40-foot shipping containers to test capacity. The firms’ identities are kept private.

Nonetheless, the publicly announced attempts to promote Bitcoin acceptance in Tonga are gathering momentum.

 

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