Bitcoin (BTC) miners emit a lot of heat.
Some miners use this heat to heat swimming pools, dehydrate meat to make beef jerky, and even dry wood on Swedish hydroelectric bitcoin farms. In Ireland, a “bitcoin farmer” jokes about hanging his laundry to dry in front of a bitcoin mining machine.
— ₿ Business Cat (@_business_cat) August 12, 2022
Miner heat is not new to the bitcoin industry.In Bitcoin’s early days, enthusiasts would use their everyday computers to mine the cryptocurrency, leading to overheating and disturbing stories Warm environment.
Bitcoin mining has changed since its early days. As the difficulty of solving hash calculations on the Bitcoin blockchain increased significantly, miners ditched the ubiquitous graphics processing units in favor of more powerful application-specific integrated circuits (ASICS). However, heating and cooling remains an issue.
In Homage to a Future That Harveses Waste Heat, Satoshi Nakamoto shared Show predicted messages:
“If you need to heat your home, the heat from your computer isn’t going to waste.”
So why not take that heat and put it to productive use? That’s exactly the kind of experiment I wanted to experiment with this winter at my home near Lisbon, Portugal.
DIY solutions to harness the “waste heat” of bitcoin miners at home are gaining popularity. However, this can be tricky. The hashtag #mine4heat on Twitter boasted that Bitcoin enthusiasts can rewire and soundproof Bitcoin miners without getting electrocuted.
One savvy miner used airflow to heat their mobile home, while others found clever ways to mine Bitcoin and keep their homes warm:
Proud DIY basement miner guy who uses garbage bags end to end to drain the heat when I don’t need it 🙂 pic.twitter.com/S1XTz3T08p
— Barcinthedark (@Barcinthedark) April 21, 2023
However, for a “regular guy” like me, it seems daunting. I’m a technically backward Bitcoin enthusiast who spent years running a node. So while the idea is appealing, I worry that I might burn the house down.
There are several heater-cum-bitcoin mining companies, such as Heatbit and BitHeater, that recognize the ability of bitcoin miners to make money while heating spaces, but also realize that there may be pent-up demand for plug-and-play solutions.
Heatbit founder Alex Busarov told Cointelegraph that while the ease of use is attractive, the ambient use case of Bitcoin miners drives the mission: “We want to make mining really green,” he said.
“The claim that ‘xx%’ of the energy used in mining comes from renewable sources” is misleading, Busarov said. While this figure may sound impressive, it ignores the fact that if not used for industrial mining, this renewable energy is being added to the grid. “
“Bitcoin mining is only truly green when combined with heating; in this way, mining does not consume additional energy.”
Busarov pointed to statistics and statements issued by bitcoin mining advocates, including that bitcoin is the greenest industry and that bitcoin mining has spurred the construction of renewable energy. Still, even if the waste heat is used for production purposes, Bitcoin miners consume a lot of heat.
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Personally, I am more concerned about the power consumption of Heatbit bitcoin miners. If it used less electricity than my standard electric heater, it would be a no-brainer to use it in the winter – so I got one and tested it.
The result: For four months, I used the Heatbit to heat my small apartment in Portugal.
The package arrived in mid-November, during an unseasonably hot period. I lugged it upstairs, unboxed it and went through the instructions. It seemed too good to be true. These instructions are idiot-proof.
I connected the Heatbit to power, downloaded the Heatbit app and it found the Heatbit device and synced in no time. I selected the heat setting, and immediately felt a warm draft blowing from the vents on the top. I put my ear close to it and was surprised how quiet it was.
Bitcoin miners are very, very loud at full throttle. Some residents of the small Norwegian town have even complained about the noise of a nearby industrial-scale bitcoin mine, but my fridge is far noisier than a Heatbit.
I waited until a satoshi was mined (less than a penny), which took about 15 minutes. At that time, the balcony wall in my apartment was uncomfortably warm, so I turned it off.
Over the next few months, I turned the heater on and off and moved it around the apartment on the two rear wheels.
Can you make money with it?
Technically yes – but practically not. I made 30,000 Satoshi over the winter, which is a little over $10.
Most nights the miners would be humming along for a few hours while I was home in the morning. Sadly, I don’t have much time in Portugal, with winter trips to Senegal, Poland and Cape Verde. If I’m at home, I get about 50,000 more satellites of “heat”.
Also, my electricity bill is slightly lower than it was last winter, which is a small success considering Portugal’s double-digit inflation.
However, this misses the point. Heartbit is a heater first and a bitcoin miner second. Heats up smoother than my regular heater and requires zero maintenance (so far). Also, as Busarov pointed out:
“We want to decentralize mining. It is unlikely that Satoshi Nakamoto envisioned the concentration of mining on large farms. The ideal would be ‘everyone contributes a little bit.’”
Heatbit contributes to the Nicehash mining pool. Some critics claim that mining pools lead to mining centralization – a problem that the Bitcoin community is trying to overcome with the upcoming launch of mining pools. Stratum V2 Mining algorithm upgrade. Still, running a bitcoin miner has other unintended consequences.
Living with a Bitcoin Miner
Central heating is rare in Portugal. Most homes I’ve lived in use either oil heaters or electric heaters. The Heatbit quickly replaced my electric heater which is more expensive due to its higher power consumption. The miners are also quieter and emit consistent and less intense heat. However, it is also 10 times the price of my electric heater.
Interestingly, the size and height of the Heatbit elicited concerns and questions like “what’s that?” from friends who visited my apartment. Guests were surprised to find out that the white boxes were mining bitcoins, as they always thought bitcoin mining was done in giant data centers. I showed them how much money I made on my phone, and the heater was the orange pilling aid in a way.
As Busarov explained, Heatbit’s purpose “is to grow the Bitcoin community.” “There are far more people using electric heaters than miners,” he said. Tools like the easy-to-use home bitcoin heater miner are another step toward wider adoption.
The downside is the price tag and size. The unit was big and heavy, and cost over $1,000 brand new. Since in Portugal I use the heater four to five months a year, the Heatbit becomes a big paperweight from April to October.
Ultimately, in a warm country like Portugal, it will take several years to pay for itself at current price levels. Of course, if Bitcoin hits six figures, that’s a different story.
Also, on Reddit and YouTube comments, some users have reported issues with usage and usage. to worry about About customer service.
Plus, the mainstream and plug-and-play nature of Heatbit runs counter to the ethos of DIY bitcoin miners, who believe that companies make money off of things people can do themselves. Fundamentally, Bitcoin was first and foremost spread by enthusiasts, so this is understandable.
To its credit, Heatbit listened. The company has a smaller heater, the “Heatbit Mini,” starting at $299 for next winter in Europe. Busarov explained:
“We’ve also added an air-purifying feature, allowing the device to be used year-round. And, as the name suggests, the (Heatbit) Mini is small in size, less than 50cm tall, so it can be conveniently placed in any room.”
The Heatbit Mini draws 300 watts for mining and air purification, which can be boosted to 1,300 watts of heat in winter. The 300 watt setup can still deliver 10 terrahashes per second, while the original Heatbit hashrate drops with less power.
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This means you can use it as an air purifier and heater all year round. Of course, I also signed up for one.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed as legal or investment advice. The views, ideas and opinions expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.