It's been a year of retreat and punishing losses for Bitcoin miners—but undeterred, Tether is stepping into the breach.
The stablecoin issuer has unveiled plans to invest in "sustainable Bitcoin mining operations" based in Uruguay, and will partner with a licensed company on the ground.
The South American country may seem like an unusual choice at first—not least because its share of network hashrate is negligible when compared with the U.S. and Kazakhstan.
But given how Uruguay generates more than 98% of its electricity from renewable sources—predominantly wind and hydropower—Tether believes there's an opportunity to adopt a much greener approach as BTC becomes increasingly scarce, with another halving event less than 12 months away.
"Our unwavering commitment to renewable energy ensures that every Bitcoin we mine leaves a minimal ecological footprint while upholding the security and integrity of the Bitcoin network," Tether's chief technology officer Paolo Ardoino said in a news release.
Tether is also planning to hire energy experts to drive its ambitions forward—and as job losses mount in the crypto sector, the company's launched a recruitment portal to attract talent.
It's unclear how much Tether is planning to invest in this new venture, and the company hasn't disclosed the name of its partner in the region.
But it comes as the firm behind the world's biggest stablecoin continues to gravitate toward Bitcoin.
Earlier this month, Tether announced it would use up to 15% of its monthly net realized operating profits to build a BTC warchest. At the time, the company said this would "strengthen and diversify" its reserves—and holdings wouldn't be entrusted with a third-party custodian.
But there have been long-running concerns about the state of Tether's reserves—with John Reed, a former SEC enforcement attorney, likening the stablecoin issuer to a "mammoth house of cards."
Reed accused the company of issuing opaque financial statements, and while Tether does release assurance reports on a quarterly basis, a long-promised full audit is yet to materialize.
Those with (relatively) long memories may react with alarm to Tether's plans to build a Bitcoin stash.
The Luna Foundation Guard accrued approximately 80,000 BTC to safeguard UST—but later engaged in a multibillion-dollar dump after the doomed algorithmic stablecoin lost its $1 peg and crashed.