The spark between the Navajo and Bitcoin has been ignited.
This was revealed in a video recently published by Compass Mining, whose reporters went to the Navajo Nation‘s mining farm to see first-hand how the Navajo are reclaiming their sovereignty through Bitcoin.
Navajo people are mining Bitcoin
The Navajo Nation is the world’s largest Native American reservation, but it is also one of the poorest communities in the United States, with a third of its residents living below the poverty line, and chronic unemployment at around 48%.
As the video reveals, however, things are changing, as the Navajo Nation is now mining Bitcoin.
The reserve (also called the Navajo Nation) is located between the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, in the southwestern United States. It has an area of 71,000 km² with a population of around 300,000.
Bitcoin mining in this area is spurring healthy economic growth, which the region has needed for far too long.
How it all began
It all started in 2017 when a Canadian company contacted the Navajo people about setting up a mining farm on their land. In early 2021, the mining farm was doubled to 15 megawatts of installed capacity by tapping into the area’s energy resources. It is estimated to mine about 400 BTC per year, worth about $26 million at current prices.
However, according to many of those interviewed by Compass Mining, the farm also creates other growth prospects, such as in the areas of finance and energy, which have long been considered a thorn in the side of the Navajo community.
According to tribal delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty, the community’s poverty has very ancient roots, dating back to the 1868 treaty by which the United States government established the reservation. The heavy legacy of this treaty would still be very much alive today, particularly with regard to the Navajo’s relationship with the banking sector.
For these reasons, Bitcoin could allow them to aspire to the sovereignty they were promised, but never actually got.
Crotty says that while the Navajo pay federal taxes in dollars, they do not have access to normal financial instruments created for use in dollars, and this situation has led them to explore alternatives.
Why Navajo land is ideal for mining BTC
Navajo land is rich in both non-renewable and renewable energy resources, such as coal, hydroelectricity, natural gas and sunlight. As the demand for bitcoin mining with renewable sources increases, the Navajo may find themselves at an advantage, as their farm is already 59% powered by renewable energy sources, compared to the average 19% in the US.
For now, however, Bitcoin has yet to gain the trust of much of the Navajo community, although more mining farms are expected to come online in the coming months. If Bitcoin adoption increases further, there will probably be a greater awareness that Bitcoin could also be a resource for sovereignty.