The decades-long battle over proposed large mines in Southwest Alaska may be catching up to modern
times, with a newly-discovered deposit of cryptocurrency worth billions
of dollars. Proponents are calling the newly discovered “Rubble”
cryptocurrency prospect, located near the site of the proposed Pebble
mine, the region’s next great hope for economic development, jobs, and
The Vancouver, Canada based junior exploration company Northern Dynasty announced their recent findings regarding Rubble on Monday, and unveiled plans to extract the highly variable digital currency using “really super efficient and safe methods that won’t disturb anything.”
“This is big,” said new Northern Dynasty CEO Brogan Putnam. “This is like kinda Scrooge McDuck doing the backstroke in a swimming pool of gold coins type big, picture it - but like, with crypto, so yeah maybe like that but with virtual reality goggles instead of the actual pool of gold coins, so yeah… and, there’ll be jobs!”
While it remains unclear what a cryptocurrency mine would actually look like or what it might mean for the southwest Alaska region, it doesn’t really matter since no one understands what cryptocurrency is anyway.
When asked why the mining company chose to transition from a traditional copper and gold mine to cryptocurrency mine, Putnam described a flexible investment strategy. “We don’t really give a $%*# what we’re mining for, we’re a mining company, we’ll mine whatever. As long as we’re pulling money out of the ground, we’re good.”
Officials described the Rubble deposit as containing multiple types of cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and traces of some rarer (yet real) currencies like Dogecoin and Finally Usable Crypto Karma Tokens.
According to digital-geologist Jon Roder, Rubble is known geologically as a “poryphory” cryptocurrency deposit; indicating it originated tens of millions of years ago from an anonymous Japanese computer programmer dwelling in a magma chamber several miles below the earth’s surface. The deposit, which consumes massive quantities of electricity just to exist, is estimated to currently be consuming power approximately equal to that of every single home appliance ever sold in the history of the world.
Long-time residents of the Bristol Bay region were quick to point out the Rubble deposit is situated at the headwaters of several major salmon-bearing watersheds, potentially posing an environmental threat to the region’s world-class salmon runs.
Robin Samuelsen is the (actual) chairman of the board of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation. Speaking to KTOO Alaska News recently, he said he has opposed projects like Rubble for more than a decade: “I’m not against mining, but that mine is in the wrong place,” he said. “It’s in the spawning grounds — the most productive spawning grounds in the world.”
Samuelson also explained that the community was already wealthy with the riches of wild sockeye salmon, and that they wouldn’t risk their way of life for the benefit of a foreign mining corporation. “Besides,” said Samuelson, “nobody out in our villages is stupid enough to think that Bitcoin is a real thing.”
However, some residents welcomed the idea of a cryptocurrency mine in the region. Lime Village mayor Sam Minn pointed to the example of Iceland, which has leveraged its abundance of cheap hydrothermally-generated electricity, reliable internet connection, and cool temperatures to become a hub for large-scale cryptocurrency mines. More electricity is now consumed by cryptocurrency mining in Iceland than by all the homes in the country combined.
“Why can’t we do that here too?” said Minn. “All we need is cheap electricity and reliable internet. Seems do-able,” he said before his phone cut out for the eleventh time over the course of a ten minute call.
In the week since Northern Dynasty’s announcement, the price of Bitcoin dropped by 323%, then rose 767%, then dropped 1043%, only to rise again by 10,235%, during which time the Icelandic National Treasury grew by 14.3 billion dollars. Weary investors were encouraged by Deep Horizon officials to “HODL.”
When asked to comment on Rubble, Alaska governor Mike Dunleavy described cryptocurrency as “nerd stuff” and referred to his recently launched lawsuit to overturn the US Army Corps of Engineers denial of another large mine permit in the region. “You know what they say, all that glitters is gold... and, jobs,” said the governor.
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