Students in a South Korean college are earning crypto mined from the energy generated from their excrement.
“Shitcoin” may no longer be solely a term used to describe altcoin projects with questionable value propositions, as one South Korean university professor has taken the term to a more literal dimension.
Cho Jae-weon of the National Institute of Science and Technology in Ulsan, South Korea, has created an eco-friendly toilet system that produces fertilizer and energy from human excrement.
Jae-weon, a professor of urban and environmental engineering, said the toilet system incorporates a vacuum pump that redirects human waste into an underground tank to produce biogas (methane).
The professor’s experiment is reportedly utilizing the biogas to power a university building, gas stoves and water heaters among other things.
“If we think outside of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure. I have put this value into ecological circulation,” the professor said.
Jae-weon’s experiment also has a digital currency component with a native token called Ggool, which is used to incentivize the adoption of the eco-friendly toilet. Students earn 10 Ggool per day if they use the toilet and use the digital money to buy coffee, bananas and even books on campus.
Detailing the viability of human excrement as a power source, the professor stated that the excrement produced by an average person could produce up to 0.5 kilowatt-hour of electricity, which is sufficient to power an electric vehicle for up to three-quarters of a mile.
Crypto mining stakeholders are moving toward more eco-friendly power sources, especially amid the current backlash from policymakers over the supposed carbon footprint of the process. The Bitcoin Mining Council estimates that 56% of Bitcoin mining is currently using sustainable energy sources.