Bitcoin Startup Hotmine Creates a Bitcoin Mining Heater

News and Analysis

Ukrainian Bitcoin startup Hotmine has presented a Bitcoin-mining device combining a very useful function of heating. The solution became possible with ‘Smart heat’ cauldrons.

The device is a water heater complete with BitFury’s mining chips that heat up the water in the course of their operation. Upon reaching a particular temperature, the water heats up premises; the function remains available even after the miner ceases being profitable.

ForkLog talked with Alexander Momot (AM), one of the startup’s founders.

FL: Your solution is pretty unusual. How did you come up with that idea? What was it like to create this kind of miner?

AM: The idea dates back to 2013, when we noticed chips generated too much heat, and we had to do something about it. We experimented with different kinds of cooling, namely copper tubes with water, multi-layered structures, water coolers, or a container. Finally, we developed a third-generation device, a cauldron. It works on specific dielectric liquid where hash boards are immersed. The liquid heats up and transfers the heat to regular water in the heat transfer unit in the bottom of the cauldron. The water is then used to heat the room. This scheme also allowed us to do without noisy coolers and make mining process almost soundless.

FL: What are the ‘water miner’s’ advantages against traditional devices?

AM: We made a 28 nm prototype for 10 Terahashes, and had a harsh test drive for it during several months. We tested different situations involving pump failure, water reaching the boiling temperature, discontinuation of the server part, i.e. modeling of abrupt de-energization, and termination of water supply.

All those instances have proven the system is more viable and reliable than traditional air-based one. None of the boards or chips has failed, while the hash-rate, having decreased under extreme conditions, restored in a few minutes’ time as the temperature reached normal values. The worst thing we had to do is to reboot the server. And, certainly, we had to keep a close eye on internet connection’s stability.

FL: So, what was the miner’s resulting heating effect?

AM: During the tests we checked the cauldron’s heating capacity. In winter, it had to heat a 60 sq.m room with high heat loss rate (over 100 W/sq.m). Eventually, it turned out even better than we expected. The indoor temperature was +20 Centigrade while it was -10 Centigrade outdoors. When it was -25 outside, it was +12 in the room. We used fan heater for heating the room. Now we know for sure that a 28 nm cauldron is applicable in warm floor systems of 50 sq.m. A 16 nm cauldron may heat at least a 30 sq.m room (water would be hotter in this kind of cauldron).

FL: Anyway, the main question our readers are probably asking themselves now is whether the device is profitable.

AM: The cauldron was designed to exclude any replacements during the profitable mining period, several years in our opinion. Its major advantage is that mining with this kind of device remains profitable for a longer term than the competitors’ as it has an alternate application, i.e. act as a heater.

Alexander exemplified his words with a specification for the most powerful device with 16 nm chip:

  • Consumption: 3.3 kW for areas up to 50 sq.m (with fan heater);
  • Power: 28 Terahash with 16 nm chips by BitFury
  • Water downstream temperature: 65 degrees Centigrade
  • Use-cases: warm floor, heating, hot water supply, re-heating

The release of the model in question is expected in September 2016, with 55 nm chip miner for 4 Terahash to be released in April. In addition, 28 nm / 10 TH model will be released in June. All models are available for pre-ordering.

by Andrew Asmakov

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