French startup Qarnot unveiled a new computing heater specifically made for cryptocurrency mining. You’ve read that right, the QC1 is a heater for your home that features a passive computer inside. And this computer is optimized for mining.
While most people use laptops, back in the golden days of computer towers, you could heat a room with a couple of desktop computers. And heat is still one of the biggest challenges when you’re building a data center. You have to cool thousands of computers that run 24/7.
Qarnot started thinking about edge computing for data centers back in 2010. The company has built three generations of computing heaters with multiple CPUs and sold them to construction companies looking for heaters for their new buildings.
At the other end of the equation, companies such as BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Air Liquide and Blender rent those servers for their own needs. In other words, Qarnot has built a decentralized data center.
“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. That’s why Qarnot can offload some of the computing to traditional data centers. That could be particularly useful for the Summer.
From CPU to GPU
And now, the company is selling its first devices to end users directly. The company thinks it’s the perfect use case for cryptocurrency mining. The QC1 features two AMD GPUs (Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX580 with 8GB of VRAM) and is designed to mine Ethers by default.
You can set it up in a few minutes by plugging an Ethernet cable and putting your Ethereum wallet address in the mobile app. You’ll then gradually receive ethers on this address — Qarnot doesn’t receive any coin, you keep 100 percent of your cryptocurrencies.
If you believe ZCash or another cryptocurrency is the future, you can also access the computer and mine another cryptocurrency. It’s a Linux server and you can access it directly.
If your home is cold and you desperately need to turn on the heaters, the QC1 is going to turn on the two GPUs and mine at a 60 MH/s speed. There are also traditional heating conductors in case those two GPUs are not enough.
Qarnot heaters don’t have any hard drive and rely on passive heating. You won’t hear any fan buzzing in the background. You can order the QC1 for $3,600 (€2,900 TTC) starting today — you can also pay in bitcoins. The company hopes to sell hundreds of QC1 in the next year.
With the current price of Ethereum, Qarnot says you can expect to mine around $120 per month (€100). That doesn’t take into account your power usage.
But that’s where the Qarnot QC1 stands out and could be the crypto miner we’ve all been waiting for. Mining has become increasingly harder if you have to pay the electricity bill. But you still need to heat your home during those cold days of winter. So why not mine at the same time.
Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.