Cryptocurrency mining rigs often put out a lot of heat as a result of the powerful hardware used. One French startup is looking to channel that heat output into homes in order to offset energy costs.
Qarnot created a new type of computing heater that's specifically optimized for crypto miners. The QC1 can heat a miner's home safely with a powerful, functional computer inside.
"Make heating a source of revenue, not an expense," the QC1 slogan promises.
"The heat of your QC-1 is generated by the two graphics cards embedded in the device and mining cryptocurrencies or blockchain transactions: While heating, you create money,” the QC1 product description reads. “You can watch in real time how crypto markets are trending, on your mobile app and on your QC-1 LEDs."
There are companies that rent out similar systems for those looking to try them out. However, Qarnot seems to be the only formal company that's actually selling these units to miners.
"We provide computing capacity with an extremely hard constraint, which is the heating needs of consumers," co-founder and COO Miroslav Sviezeny said in a press conference. The QC1 includes two AMD GPUs -- Sapphire Nitro + Radeon RX580 -- that has 8GB of VRAM. Technically, the rig is primed to mine Ethers, but it can be outfitted to accommodate for other cryptocurrencies thanks to a Linux server. The company also makes it clear that Qarnot receives none of the coin or earnings from using its products, so miners can mine freely without having to worry about the potential losses.
Qarnot's Paris-based development team created the GPU, CPU, and PSU system comfortably and safely nestled in a mixture of materials that are all meant to optimize and dissipate comfortable heat.
The Qarnot QC1 currently retails for $3,600. Given the current value of Ethereum, it would take a while (try over five years) to make up that money with a rig. However, miners are going to experience heating from their rigs, so why not make the most of it, Qarnot's website mentioned.
The crypto heater was originally released in 2013, but the product was reimagined and debuted again at this years CES. It even won the CES 2018 Eureka Park Climate Change Innovators Award, and in 2016, it took home Popular Mechanic's Editor's Choice Award.
This isn't the first time that crypto rigs have been leveraged to heat homes. Last November, Interesting Engineering reported on an entire cottage in Russia heated with bitcoin mining machines.
And the crypto heater isn't Qarnot's first foray into computational heating. In fact, the company specializes in embedding energy technology with high-performance computing systems. Last year, the company debuted a fusion between a supercomputer and a heater called the Q.RAD.
While Qarnot's tech won't get new miners the same millions of earnings that it did toward the beginning of the cryptocurrency boom, the QC1 still offers a unique alternative to energy that will certainly attract miners looking to make the most of a money-making passion.