Using a Bitcoin miner as a heater. It sounds strange, but maybe it’s a revolutionary idea. An American Bitcoin company launched Heatbit: a heater that not only produces heat, but also mines bitcoins.
A normal electric heater basically only does one thing: heat. Electric heaters are efficient in this regard because almost all energy is converted into heat by the heater.
But many people don’t know that computers heat up nearly as efficiently. A computer needs power, but the calculations themselves ‘cost’ no energy. After all, in simple terms, a computer’s computation is just current flowing through electrical conductors on a computer.
The conductors are not perfect and always provide some resistance. The resistance creates heat (law of conservation of energy) and that’s where almost all the energy is converted – apart from a little bit of energy to keep the fans running and a flashing light here and there.
A computer, and therefore also a Bitcoin miner, heats almost as efficiently as an electric heater. However, a Bitcoin miner also generates income in bitcoin in addition to heat. A species Money back or a discount on your energy costs. Who wouldn’t want that?
The concept is therefore being experimented with in different places in the world. Bitcoin miners heat houses and greenhouses, dry wood and whiskey and various hobbyists showed their own experiments with Heating element or water boilers. Interesting, but until recently only reserved for technicians.
Warm a little
Nowadays, however, there is also a ready-to-use product for consumers: Heatbit. According to the website, “the first stove to mine bitcoins.”
plug & play: you just need to connect and install an app on your phone to operate it. The Heatbit has a nice design and is available in white, black-orange and wood-colored housings, so it wouldn’t look out of place in living rooms or offices.
Its consumption is 1400 watts, which should be enough to heat a room of 16 square meters. The noise output is low at a maximum of 42dB, which is quite an achievement, but it is not completely silent. User experience suggests that the sound output is slightly louder than a computer and slightly quieter than an oven.
Costs and revenues
You won’t get rich from it. Under the housing, the device contains the now obsolete Antminer S9, with a hash rate of 14 TH/s. Heatbit automatically connects to the NiceHash mining pool. The yield is currently around 5000 satoshis per day – around one euro at the current exchange rate.
On the other hand, however, there is a hefty purchase price of around €1100 euros. It will therefore take a while before you have even earned back the investment. Not to mention that mining returns will only decrease in the future as the network’s hash rate and difficulty continue to increase.
It is therefore better not to see Heatbit as a Bitcoin miner that heats, but more as a heater that also mines a very small amount of bitcoins. Nice for enthusiasts and collectors, but due to the high price less suitable for concrete cost savings, let alone profit.
For profitability, it is probably more interesting to buy a used Antminer S9 and use it for mining and heating. These today cost $100 to $200, making it a much better investment financially. However, it is not a consumer product, and you have to come up with a solution for design, operation and noise yourself.
Nevertheless, it’s an interesting development that makes one wonder when the first competitor will hit the market with a cheaper variant. Perhaps one day we will see a future where Bitcoin miners are the most economical way to heat electricity. The caveat is that other means of heating, via gas or a heat pump, are likely to remain cheaper and more efficient in many cases.
Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, wrote about it in 2010:
The heat from your computer is not wasted if you need to heat up your home. If you use electric heat where you live, then your computer’s heat is not a waste. It doesn’t matter if you generate the heat with your computer. If you have other cheaper heat than electricity, the waste is only the difference in costs.
Also check out practical experience review of Heatbit from Nordic Crypto below: