The crypto craze has had its ups and downs, but blockchain, the technology behind such currencies as Bitcoin and Ethereum, is gaining in steam across multiple industries, from solar energy to healthcare applications. Blockchain, which is a distributed ledger technology that records transactions in a decentralized manner across many computers, requires energy for complex calculations such as “mining” of cryptocurrencies. In 2017 Bitcoin mining required as much energy as the total energy consumption of Greece.
Paris-based Qarnot Computing, whose q.rad products use distributed computing power to heat homes (see our 2016 piece), has now developed a “crypto-heater” called QC-1 that uses cryptocurrency mining to generate heat and cryptocurrency revenues at the same time. The device is a dual-use alternative to the noisy mining “rigs” with huge fans that clutter up cryptominers’ homes or apartments.
The default configuration of the QC-1 is designed to mine the most profitable of 3 top currencies: Ethereum, Zcash and Monero. The company will push updates out in order for the system to adapt the evolution of the markets. For those users with coding skills, Qarnot will provide GitHub access to allow use of the graphic processing units (GPUs) to mine other currencies.
The QC-1 conducts its mining using 2 of AMD’s SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RADEON RX 580 8G GPUs. Qarnot says the product is absolutely noiseless, as it has no fan or hard drive. Like its predecessor the Q.rad, it is made of anodized aluminum and wood. A mobile app allows users to set up and personalize the QC-1 once connected to power and to the internet. The company calls the product “plug-and-mine,” as it just needs a connection and access to an offline wallet.
With a mining power of 60MH/s (that is the hash rate, or the number of short signatures for a piece of data – in this case 60 million per second), the heater will allow its users to generate an estimated revenue of 100€ per month (Qarnot’s estimate as of March 2018). This would provide the user with 1200€ in revenue per year while heating the house. The company sees heating becoming a source of revenue rather than an expense. The unit draws about 650W of power, about the equivalent of a small space heater.
The price of the QC-1 is 2900€ (about $3600) and of course, you can pay in Bitcoin.