When I was mining Ethereum in 2017, I was doing so in my parent’s basement. The room had a cement floor, and a makeshift clothesline. The miner was running across the room from the clothesline where my mother would hang clothes to dry.
One day she made a comment about how all the clothes seemed to be drying faster ever since I started running these miners. I was heating my basement by mining cryptocurrency. It had never occurred to me that the miners had some secondary uses apart from mining ether.
This was the seed that I needed in order to look into this a little further. Sure enough, others on the internet had documented their mining setups where they were using the heat for all sorts of secondary purposes.
Fast forward 4 years, and there are entire businesses built around heating your home with bitcoin. Smart people running large bitcoin mining companies have opted to use the heat generated from the computers for all sorts of secondary purposes. This is the beautiful thing I love about the bitcoin community, there is an entrepreneurial spirit afoot that sees an opportunity, and opts to build systems that monetize otherwise untapped resources.
HeatBit: Heating your Home with Bitcoin
We don’t have a sponsorship with HeatBit, nor is this a promoted post. I just love the idea of creating a heater that generates bitcoin that can be shipped to the masses. One of the best ways to get people introduced to the idea of Bitcoin is by owning it. If people aren’t willing to go out and buy it, maybe they’re into the idea of running a heater that produces it.
HeatBit is a company that has created a bitcoin heater. A standalone, plug and play device that heats your home and sends bitcoin to an app on your phone. I’ve been waiting for a product that comes onto the market that does exactly this. It’s something my grandfather could do!
Up until now, you’ve had to build your own miner and re-route the heat on your own. Also, miners can be loud, but this device has noise-reducing components that keep it quiet (according to the specs). They’re on pre-order right now and I think I will be getting myself one of these things!
Check out their calculator to see how much bitcoin you could earn from heating your home.
Heating Greenhouses with Bitcoin
What if you’re not a hobby miner but an industrial miner. You operate 10,000 miners that generate a significant amount of heat. Well, this heat can be re-routed into a greenhouse to heat it in the winter. It could also be used to dry herbs, spices, or medicinal plants.
I want to highlight a couple of companies that recycle the heat on the off chance that it inspires you to seek out opportunities within your own bitcoin community.
MintGreen in Canada
MintGreen is using heat from bitcoin miners to create flaked salt, and whiskey. That’s right, just drying salt and selling it as well as using heat to help in the production process of whiskey. Both of these things would need heat, so why not get paid to produce the heat?
Keeping Chickens Warm in the Winter
This other farm in Canada uses heat from bitcoin mining in a variety of ways on their farm. From redirecting the heat into greenhouses to pumping the heat into the chicken coup. There is no shortage of uses for excess heat in the cold Canadian winters.
Despite bitcoin’s apparent inefficiencies, this cohort of people decided they were willing to use the “heat waste” to accomplish regular tasks on the farm. If you’re going to use electricity to heat a building, you may as well get paid to do it.
Natural Gas Flaring
There is a growing trend in the oil & gas industry to place a bitcoin mining facility alongside an oil well. The reason is that natural gas is a by-product of the oil extraction process. In the event that the well cannot send that natural gas into a pipeline, they typically “flare” it. This means they just burn it. Natural gas can be used to heat homes, or power generators, but that’s only if you can bring the gas to the source. What if you bring the source to the gas?
The oil extraction process is going to be taking place in any number of oil fields anyway, why not mine bitcoin with generators powered by natural gas? Instead of getting 0 economic benefit from flaring, the idea is that the gas can actually go to powering these bitcoin mining rigs.
In many cases, companies are unable to build a pipeline, or feed their gas into an existing one due to environmental or regulatory concerns. So instead of building pipelines to transport the gas, bitcoin enables these companies to install a “digital pipeline” of sorts that lets companies directly monetize their commodity. Burning it in a generator is also 2% more efficient than flaring, so the more ecologically responsible thing to do (all things considered) is to burn it in a generator and turn a profit.
Mrugakshee and I recently interviewed Jacinda Brown, founder of CryptoKnight Energy. Look out for the release of the podcast where she goes into extreme detail about how mining works with natural gas.
The Evolution of Bitcoin Energy Projects
These bitcoin energy projects aren’t going away. I am personally looking forward to more consumer-facing products (like HeatBit) that allow people to participate in bitcoin, and get direct use and utility from the network at the same time.
I think this is largely just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to innovation and creative use for stranded energy. Bitcoin can liberate this energy and turn it into an economic benefit that produces jobs and energy infrastructure. Then the heat can be used in one of the ways mentioned above, or in any manufacturing or production process that requires a modest amount of heat. The possibilities are endless.
Here are some more links worth checking out: