Heatbit Is the First Space Heater That Mines Bitcoin, Founder Says
The newfangled device looks like a high-end space heater but uses integrated circuitry to process bitcoin transactions.
‘Tis the season to be freezing, but in the cold, dark winter, 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.
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, during a CoinDesk interview. “Is it something that's going to be quietly mining some [satoshis] 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 commercialized.
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 Merge (customer tweets seem to imply Ethereum’s switch to proof-of-stake was the deciding factor).
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.”
Busarov is planning to raise capital to build other product lines. He toyed with the idea of manufacturing heated toilet seats that also mine bitcoin, but has since settled on developing a fanless Heatbit version. Busarov also envisions the company building its own computer chips. Further in the future, the company may even venture into all-season products.
“There is water heating – water for washing dishes or taking a shower, Busarov said. “That's the one [product] that people use all year round.”
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