Here’s why a run-of-the-mill cooler is actually the perfect home for a dorm-based bitcoin miner.
The humble university dorm is a place for graduating students to study, relax, make new friends, host wild dorm parties, and of course Bitcoin has a place for me
. . . .
Blake Kaufman, a master’s student in market research and a self-described “data guy,” has attached an S9 bitcoin miner to the bitcoin network.
He won an S9 miner in a raffle at the Central Michigan Bitcoin Fair and immediately set about learning how to use it.
During a video call with Cointelegraph, Blake joked that he knew nothing about mining before the raffle. The moment he won, he raced to the nearest location to provide him with a power cable and an Ethernet connection for his experiment, his father’s office.
“We turned it on, never heard one [S9] before. And if you know, when they start, they immediately rev up to 100% and we’re all just in the room like — oh — this thing is loud! We probably drove for two hours and it was hot when we got into that office.”
The hot and noisy interview kicked his brain into gear. With Michigan winter fast approaching, his university offers free electricity. Why not take advantage of waste heat by mining bitcoin from a hostel? One small but audible obstacle had to be overcome. “How can we fix the noise?” he questioned.
“I just looked online at, like, how to noise cancel the S9, and this image of a cooler popped up on Pinterest. My dad and I were like, ‘Let’s build it. Why not?’ So we bought a $5 cooler on the Facebook Marketplace and we had tubes in our attic and we spent about two hours digging a hole and the job was finished.”
The pair created the Bitcoin mining cool box, which now occupies Blake’s dorm residence. The finished product wouldn’t look out of place in any dorm room, “actually quieter than an air conditioning unit,” he explains.
Two corners of the cooler-covered bitcoin miner.
But aren’t there rules against this sort of thing in the university? Wouldn’t an energy-hungry bitcoin miner put a well up on the university’s electricity?
The AI Crypto Platform delivered an average of 17 winner alerts per month in 2022
“So a miner is about 900 watts per hour, a small fridge is about 60 to 100 watts per day. So it draws a decent amount of electricity there. I looked at all the rules and it doesn’t say you can’t mine bitcoins or use a bitcoin miner anywhere. So if they say you can’t do this, I’d be like, OK, you didn’t say I couldn’t.”
In short, none of Blake’s laws are violated. What’s more, at a large university, home to thousands of students, a single miner in a dorm is unlikely to arouse suspicion. It’s an ode to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper’s famous saying that sometimes “it’s better to apologize than to allow”.
ASIC S9 is now hovering away, generating roughly 0.000001 BTC or 100 satoshis — the smallest amount of bitcoin — per bitcoin block, which on average happens every 10 minutes and translates to “about a dollar a day” in fiat-money. It’s a small amount but not to be sniffed at as a student.
Blake’s total cost to start his bitcoin mining venture a coolbox and a few cables was less than $20 and he can probably reuse the cooler come summer.
Mining cooler interior.
Incidentally, Blake’s next challenge is what to do when the weather improves and the mercury rises. Peak summer days in Michigan can reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius). As a result, the outside air temperature will not cool the miner, which is an important part of its job:
“So I will have to think of something, maybe put it in an ice cube box and then something like that. I don’t know yet.”
Blake has already considered using a bitcoin miner to heat his family’s home after graduation. The idea, Blake explains, is to experiment to see if he can offset the cost of gas at home and make it profitable. “It’s just unfortunate because, in Michigan, our cost of electricity is $0.14 per kilowatt hour.”
In the US, Michigan’s energy costs are relatively high, as shown in dark purple. Source: Chooseenergy.com
Electric heating costs are higher in Michigan than in energy-producing states like Texas. Using waste heat from bitcoin mining could be a way to offset energy costs.
Related: Bitcoin shitcoin machine: BTC mining with biogas
Indeed, bitcoin miners tapping into waste heat is a growing trend, especially prevalent at home or for “chicken vegetable miners,” as they are known. Cointelgraph by BTC Gandalf of the Brains marketing team