Cryptocurrency mining used to give many people in Lebanon hope that a life void of financial anxiety was within their reach. Now, this hope is quickly turning into disappointment amid the electricity shortage crisis in the country. To mine valuable cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, crypto miners need two essential things: suitable mining hardware and a reliable source of electricity necessary to power it.
The first requirement alone is difficult to meet these days because GPUs (Graphics Processing Units), which most smaller miners and many large-scale miners rely on, are either unavailable or ridiculously expensive — and not just in Lebanon.
The second requirement, however, is something that has been making many crypto miners in Lebanon rethink their strategy. “Before the electricity crisis, each GPU used to mine $10-$20 worth of Bitcoin every four hours,” said Alaa Ayash, the co-owner of a gaming-turned-mining lounge in Mar Elias, Beirut. “Now they mine about $1-$5, almost a quarter of what they used to.” he added.
In an effort to keep their mining rigs running 24×7, some miners have started producing their own electricity using diesel generators, but obtaining enough fuel without paying an arm and a leg for it is becoming difficult every day, that’s if it can be obtained at all.
“One gallon (20 liters) of diesel used to cost around 30,000 Lebanese pounds. Now it costs somewhere between 100,000 pounds and 150,000 pounds in the black market, if not more,” explained Ali Mortada, a Syrian janitor responsible for several large buildings.
Of course, diesel generators are the exact opposite of environmentally friendly. In fact, diesel engine exhaust is classified as carcinogenic to humans because it’s linked to an increased risk of lung cancer. Several countries in Europe and South America are currently looking into cleaner and more sustainable energy solutions to power their equipment in efforts to continue mining in an eco-friendly manner.
The only thing that could realistically help Lebanese crypto miners in the short term is a substantial increase of Bitcoin’s price, and alternative cryptocurrencies along with it, but the current bear market doesn’t make this seem like a realistic possibility.
LEAP 2024 Will Shine A Light On Female Innovators In Technology
Women comprise nearly a third of the event’s speaker lineup alongside a dedicated program of high-level content, investment, and mentorship.
LEAP 2024, a premier global technology event, will highlight the achievements of women in the technology sector as it returns for its third edition at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Centre in Malham district from March 4 to 7.
Hosted by Tahaluf, a strategic collaboration between Informa PLC, the Events Investment Fund (EIF), and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones (SAFCSP), LEAP 2024 will feature a dedicated program titled “Women in Tech”. The program will offer enriching content, investment opportunities, networking sessions, mentorship programs, and a special startup award.
The initiative aims to inspire women to actively participate in the technology industry, aligning with broader diversity efforts. Reflecting the Kingdom’s commitment to equality, the focus on “Women in Tech” coincides with the increasing female participation at LEAP events.
Annabelle Mander, Senior Vice President of Tahaluf, emphasized the event’s commitment to gender inclusivity, stating, “Female representation is across all of LEAP’s features and reflects the event’s mission of driving economic diversification and providing market access to international business. Within Tahaluf itself, half of our team members are women, and women make up half of our SMT, too”.
The “Women in Tech” program will feature distinguished speakers including Nadine Hachach Haram, CEO and Founder of Proximie, and Sahar Albanarna from IMPACTIQUE Bahrain, who explained: “Over 26 million women worldwide with professional experience and degrees are not in the global workplace. This demographic includes a huge pool of untapped talent which technology can help unleash to fuel the co-creation of exponential solutions across multiple sectors. To help women access productive employment, we urge industry leaders to support high-impact female entrepreneurs as a means to boost their economies and accelerate the UN’s sustainable development goals by promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth”.
The event will also provide a platform for female-led startups and entrepreneurs to pitch for funding and support through various initiatives such as the Women’s Investor Forum, Entrepreneur Mentorship Scheme, and the Aviatrix Award at the Rocket Fuel pitch competition, offering a prize fund of US$150,000.