WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Can we harness everything that has computing power to mine crypto and make real money? Some people think so …
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Increasingly there are a number of companies tapping into the trend of being able to use everyday objects, from cars and routers to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, to mine cryptocurrency. And now we can add a space heater to the list. However, even though the quantities of Bitcoin mined per heater is tiny, as we hook in more IOT devices and gadgets over time I have to wonder if the rise of this particular trend mind give us a way to create a fundable Universal Basic Income (UBI) for everyone as AI tries to take our jobs … It’s worth musing over especially after Miami cashed out $30 Million in crypto with their sucessful-unsuccessful crypto mining project.
The new fangled device looks like a high-end space heater but in its case uses integrated circuitry to process Bitcoin transactions.
In the cold dark winter the firm, Heatbit, says its innovative space heaters can warm a room the size of a small studio apartment while mining enough Bitcoin to offset at least a portion of a homeowner’s monthly electric bill.
Heating your home with Bitcoin!?
The two-year-old startup introduced its sleek, multi-colored heaters – about the size of an extra large PC computer tower – earlier this year. So far, it has sold nearly 1,000 units globally, but it has been encouraged enough to begin planning a wider roll-out.
“Is it a gold mine? Does it make a lot of money quickly? No, definitely not,” said Alex Busarov, co-founder of Heatbit. “Is it something that’s going to be quietly mining some cryptocurrency for you? Well yeah, at some point it’s gonna pay off.”
Heatbit looks like other high-end heaters. But integrated circuits inside the device quietly process Bitcoin transactions and perform trillions of calculations per second. That activity not only generates Bitcoin rewards – courtesy of bitcoin mining pool Nicehash – but also heat.
That heat, according to the official Heatbit site, is enough to warm 500 square feet of space. The kicker is, if you run the heater 24 hours a day at a Bitcoin price of $20,000, the device will put $30 back into your pocket every month to help cover your electricity bill. Given the jump in energy costs last year, that capability may offer consumers some incentive.
Heatbit isn’t cheap. Despite the low noise, cool aesthetics and Wi-Fi compatibility, the $1,200 price tag still elicits sticker shock – even from crypto insiders. But Busarov is quick to defend his invention by pointing to other high-end heaters at similar prices that don’t mine bitcoin.
“I think it’s comparable to something like a $700 Dyson heater. And frankly, other heaters don’t pay for themselves,” Busarov explains.
Heatbit isn’t the first mining heater. Four years ago, Qarnot, a French startup, rolled out QC1 – a “Crypto heater” optimized for mining Ether. The device cost $3,600, but it’s unclear if it was ever commercialised.
More recently, Coinmine, the company behind Coinmine One – an at-home crypto miner that also focused on cryptocurrencies such as Ether, but was not a heater – discontinued operations right after the Ethereum Merge – customer tweets seem to imply Ethereum’s switch to Proof-of-Stake was the deciding factor.
But Busarov doesn’t seem fazed by these historical busts.
“We have a pretty good margin right now. We were very lean with our costs. We could just keep selling the same device,” Busarov said. “But that’s not the path of growth. We want to make a bit of a revolution.”