If you ever wanted proof that necessity is, indeed, the mother of all inventions, you’ll need to visit the Siberian town of Irkutsk, where two local entrepreneurs, Ilya Frolov and Dmitry Tolmachyov, came up with an ingenious way to heat their homes. According to reports, they started using cryptocurrency mining rigs in lieu of specialized heating equipment for respite from the brutal cold. The enterprising duo say that they have connected their ‘cryptofarm’ to an underfloor heating system, and the prototype is apparently working perfectly.
So how can the duo afford to use mining rigs to heat up their homes? The answer lies in the price of electricity in the region. Apparently, power is extremely cheap in Irkutsk – about five times less expensive than in Moscow – which means cryptocurrency mining is pretty popular there. Over a thousand local families are reportedly engaged in the occupation and, knowledge about cryptocurrencies is so widespread in the town that even some cafes there reportedly accept Bitcoin payments.
In case you’re wondering how anybody can use a computer to heat their home, you need to know that powerful, commercial-grade machines used for mining consume a lot of electricity and generate an inordinate amount of heat, and require heavy-duty cooling equipment. Which makes areas like Irkutsk with super-cheap power and sub-zero temperatures around the year, ideal for the purpose.
Speaking to reporters about their ingenuity, Frolov had this to say: “Usually mining machines are cooled by blowers; the heat is then released to the atmosphere. We consider this not rational or ecological. That’s why we’ve implemented a concept where the heat from computing operations is used for peaceful purposes of warming houses“. He’s also revealed plans to increase their cryptocurrency mining operations by building around 2,000 ‘cryptohouses’ by 2020. It will be interesting to see if the residents of Irkutsk will ‘downgrade’ to boilers and radiators any time soon, but something tells me we probably shouldn’t be holding our breath for it.