Cryptocurrency Miners Help Keep Tiny Swiss Village Alive

The Swiss village of Gondo on the Italian border was once a haven for gold miners. Now, after decades of economic stagnation, it’s become a hot spot for miners of digital gold.

Over 100 years ago, the southern Swiss village of Gondo was famous on the European continent for its gold mines. These days, the tiny Alpine location is becoming famous for its cryptocurrency mining operations.

Gondo only lays claim to a population of roughly 50 people but has become the site of a cryptocurrency mining gold rush — not entirely dissimilar to what took place nearly a century before. “What we are doing is very much like the gold rush back in the day,” Alpine Mining’s 26-year-old chief executive Ludovic Thomas told AFP from his undisclosed mining operation in a windowless, secure bunker.

“It is very interesting from a historical perspective,” Gondo’s deputy president, Paul Fux, told AFP. He added, “We had gold mines that were famous all over the world. Now we have a new breed of miners.”

The deputy president also admitted he had no idea what Thomas and his business associates were talking about when requesting permission to start their mining operation in Gondo. “I had never heard the word blockchain before,” Fux told AFP, “I had to google it.”

Now, Thomas is looking to expand operations in the Alpine village — which has been largely welcomed by the village that saw a torrential downpour destroy various buildings and kill 13 inhabitants in 2000. Since the disaster, Gondo has struggled to survive, with tourism virtually non-existent and the village serving as merely a pit-stop for truckers.

Gondo’s inhabitants are happy to have cryptocurrency miners joining their community. Fux told AFP, “They have already survived a first winter, which is not easy.” Thomas, likewise, claimed that the villagers “are happy to see young people, that life is coming back.”

Still, Gondo — which reportedly “houses no school, shop, bakery or cafe” — may not be able to accommodate Alpine Mining’s growing needs. The village has only one single electrical transformer, of which a full third goes directly to Alpine Mining. Explained Thomas:

Mining is often compared to the gold rush. Right now, there is a crypto rush. We’re not prepared to wait six to eight months for a new transformer.

What do you think of cryptocurrency mining as the new gold rush? Do you think villages with power to spare could benefit from incentivizing cryptocurrency mining operations? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, PxHere

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