Even Our Appliances Are Mining Crypto

Mar 21, 2018  David Kieve, Cryptopunk

Mining mania

As soon as Bitcoin became the media’s obsession in 2017, part of the hype focused on how Bitcoins are created. Specifically, they are “mined” by using computers to solve complex mathematical problem: in the simplest terms, the first one to solve a problem, gets one Bitcoin. Unlike coal mining, for example, Bitcoin mining can be done anywhere in the world with any computer.

It’s getting (mining) hot in here

The problem with using your computer to mine Bitcoin (any other coins using the mining, aka Proof of Work, method) is that you are competing with all the other computers to solve this math problem. And the most obvious way to gain an advantage is to have a more powerful computer. And power heats up - a lot. That’s why you can hear your computer’s fan get louder every time you’re playing a videogame or doing anything else that require a lot of power. To make sure their super-powerful computers don’t melt or blow up, many crypto miners operate in the colder areas (bonjour, Quebec!). But what if you can actually use the heat instead of fighting it?

All I want is hot stuff

Enter a French company called Qarnot (because, why not? - couldn’t resist), who are now selling a home space heater that mines Bitcoin while heating up your room. All of a sudden, running hot is a good thing. Just turn the heater on and feel your crypto investments grow.

Pouring some cold water

Making money from just staying warm - awesome! But since it’s all about that math (that math, no physis), let’s look at the numbers a bit closer. That company is selling their heaters for around $3,570 per unit. That’s right, over three thousand dollars - not $19.99. And the value in Bitcoin (actually, it mines Ethereum, but crypto potato crypto potAHto when making money, right?) that it mines every month is expected to be around… $120. That’s not one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, just $120. So to pay off the cost of the unit would take about 30 months. That’s 2 ½ years of heating your room, including summer months. If you count just the cold months… it’s a long road to profit.

So… to (crypto)heat or not to (crypto)heat?

To be fair, the price of Ethereum is down significantly right now because of a crypto bear market. If the market, and Ethereum specifically, makes another run for the moon this year, it could change that profit math dramatically.

Try this crypto price simulator that is actually realistic about how crypto markets work - at what price of Ethereum would the heater be profitable for you?

Also, the need to heat our houses is not going to go away in the next few decades (until we invent smart, self-heating walls or tiny nano-robotic dust that flies around setting the perfect air temperature). So if it takes you a few years to turn your heater from an expensive toy into a cozy money maker, so what?

The next and possibly bigger question is what other appliances could we use to mine crypto? Toaster oven? Microwave? French press? Let’s speculate together - leave a comment with your best theory.