Amidst a growing trend of do-it-yourself (DIY) home heating with cryptocurrency miners, commercial space heaters are commercially available that also mine cryptocurrencies, or actually, cryptocurrency miners that also act as space heaters.
“On a cold Colorado night with a foot of fresh snow and temperatures down to (zero Fahrenheit), our oven didn’t need to be turned on even once,” one user said of Twitter. “I opened the fresh air intake, put the HVAC fan on all day, and the bitcoin mining twins heated the house.”
While it is true that heat generation is a byproduct of cryptocurrency mining, since a cryptocurrency mining rig has not received safety certifications, it is not recommended as a primary heat source for a home.
Enter Heatbit, an electric radiator that, instead of blowing air through a heated coil, uses the heat generated by crypto mining specifically to heat a home, while simultaneously mining bitcoin to offset electricity costs.
“In fact, there are quite a few people using DIY mining heaters and we’ve been inspired by them from the beginning,” said Alex, a spokesperson for Heatbit, a space heater that also mines bitcoin.
Security issues a concern
“I was worried about potential security issues,” Alex added. “ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) miners are not designed to function as heaters on their own, they did not pass heater-related safety tests.”
The Heatbit heater, which retails for $1,150, can heat up to 170 square feet while simultaneously mining bitcoins at a hash rate of 14 terra seconds using 1,300 watts of electricity. Based on current bitcoin prices ($44,000) and assuming an electricity price of $0.10 per kilowatt-hour, this equates to approximately $47 per month, or $557 per year, to offset home heating costs.
“Heat is an existing byproduct of calculations performed by integrated circuits. Essentially, energy goes from electrical energy to heat through those calculations,” said Heatbit’s Alex. The spokesperson requested that his last name not be used in the article.
Heatbit is not the only crypto heater
Heatbit is not the only company that has developed a space heater for crypto mining.
In 2018, French startup Qarnot launched the QC-1 crypto heater specifically for digital currency mining. in a blog postQarnot described the QC-1 as a “plug-and-play” heating and crypto mining device. The heater-miner was initially priced at $3,600 (£2,660.40).
In 2017, Avi Aisenberg, operator of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based South Florida Distillers, developed a heating system to mine cryptocurrency with ASIC miners and speed up the rum distillation process. Aisenberg already had some technological background, as he studied electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University in New York.
“Now I think there are endless industrial heat applications that could benefit from bitcoin mining in addition to heating rooms,” he said. bitcoin.com.
Crypto mining spurs innovation
Rutger van Faassen, head of innovation, new markets and industrial ecosystems at New York-based data intelligence firm Curinos, suggested that Heatbit shows how crypto mining can have a positive environmental effect.
Large-scale crypto mining operations have come under heavy criticism and regulatory scrutiny due to their large physical size and high power requirements.
“I think (crypto mining) has created a lot of innovative solutions,” van Faassen said. “Many new ways of using renewable energy have been introduced in the crypto mining space. There was always that kind of thing where (people say) ‘Oh yeah, mining bitcoin takes as much energy as the Netherlands or Sweden use in a year.'”
“But I think there’s been a lot of development there to say, ‘Hey, how can we do this renewablely?’ How can we extract and still not waste a lot of energy and (not) use energy that is polluting?”
Environmentally friendly way of mining
“I believe that using heat as a by-product is the only truly environmentally friendly way to mine bitcoins,” added Heatbit’s Alex. “For example, electric space heating consumes more than 600 (terawatt hours) of electrical energy per year, that’s three to four times more than all Bitcoin mining.”
“If 25% to 30% of the warming was done by mining bitcoin, it would be really environmentally friendly.”
Of course, since one only needs heating in the winter months, could cryptocurrency mining be integrated into other household appliances? The answer is yes, but with a catch.
“Bitcoin mining technology can be integrated into many other devices,” said Heatbit’s Alex. “Those (appliances) that produce heat: irons, underfloor heating, water heating.”
Due to the inherent nature of embedded chips generating heat as a by-product, cryptocurrency mining devices may not be integrated into more commonly used appliances, such as a refrigerator, which is always plugged in and can be connected to the Internet.
“The cooling devices are doing something completely different and having a heat source in the form of ASIC circuits just doesn’t help,” Alex summarized. “So the idea of integrating bitcoin mining in a refrigerator doesn’t work.”
Curinos’ Van Faassen noted that the Heatbit crypto miner is “very small in scale” compared to large, professionally run data centers with “a lot of computing power to do the mining.”
And, he added, it would be interesting to see how space heater crypto mining plays out on cold days in New York and Canada.
“It could be a fun way to duplicate,” he said.