The intensifying energy consumption of the bitcoin network is becoming a concern for environmentalists who have begun to question whether digital currencies should be considered a socially responsible investment. As we pointed out last month, Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index stood at 29.05TWh.
That’s the equivalent of 0.13% of total global electricity consumption. While that may not sound like a lot, it means Bitcoin mining is now using more electricity than 159 individual countries, including Ireland and Nigeria.
As the share of the world’s electricity consumed by miners of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rises, miners will likely face pressure – both economic and social – to find efficiencies wherever they can.
In anticipation of this trend, a crypto startup called Comino is marketing a mining rig that also functions as a heater.
Back in October, the Next Web published a report about the company and their new product, the Comino N1. In launching the product – priced at an affordable $5,000 per rig – the company is hoping t make it easier for novices and those who have only a glancing familiarity with crypto technology to start mining coin.
A reporter from The Next Web tested out the miner – and found that it both the heating and mining functions worked well. He even used it to heat his room during the winter.
After running the crypto-heater for a little over a month now, we are finally ready to share our experience with the device...
Once we installed the mining rig in our office, which practically included connecting the crypto-heater to the internet via the web-based dashboard system developed by Comino, it automatically created a wallet and began mining Ethereum. As easy as this.
Of course, if you already have a wallet, you still have the option to connect it to the dashboard. You can also connect any other mining rig to the Comino dashboard, in case you want to follow all of your mining efforts in one place.
Among other things, the online dashboard shows a number of statistics the Comino developers had programmed to monitor, including the current and average hashrate at which the miner is solving cryptographic puzzles, the current and average temperature at which it operates, as well as the unpaid balance of Ethereum you’ve accumulated. It also shows stats for the temperature of each separate GPU.
Throughout this one-month trial, the only issue I experienced with the miner was that – for some reason – its ambient temperature sensor inaccurately picked up the temperature of the GPUs inside (which had just taken a break from mining); this prevented the device from booting up again, until it cooled down a little.
And in case you were wondering about how reliable the Comino was as a heater : it certainly kept the temperature high enough to save some energy on heating bills, but not enough to make you turn on the air conditioner. Which is exactly what you want from a a machine that was built to bank on crypto.
The Comino N1 maintains an average hashrate of about 200 MH/s, and an average temperature of approximately 60 Celcius – about 140 degrees Farenheight.
Since installing the miner on Nov. 16, TNW reported that it has so far transferred a total of 1.2 ether to the company’s designated wallet. Since Ethereum is currently trading around $700 a coin, the miner would pay for itself in eight months, assuming the value of Ethereum doesn’t crash, or that an influx of new mining capacity decreases the miner’s efficiency.