The Heatbit is a new space heater that allegedly uses the energy produced by calculation-intensive Bitcoin mining to heat your home. It also costs $1200, though the company insists that it will cover "100% of your electricity bills" through the payments you receive by allowing it to run calculations that verify cryptocurrency exchanges. In my other life, I oversee the Wirecutter guide to space heaters, so the idea of this sort of thing has been on my radar for a while. Consider this 2018 Vice article about using cryptomining to make money and stay warm during a Nor'easter:
As I've written elsewhere, the mining rig consists of six GPUs and gets pretty hot when it's running. Each GPU runs at a temperature between 100 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit and when they're placed in close proximity to one another it's kind of like having a small fire in the room.
Most cryptocurrency miners look at the heat waste from mining as a problem, since it usually requires a large investment in cooling apparatuses (A/C, weed tents, etc.) to keep ambient temperatures around the rig from soaring. But for people who are already living in cold climates, this extra source of heat from mining cryptocurrency is a sort of bonus.
Of course, back in 2018, the value of popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum was steadily rising. In addition to being a hot computer mining process, they were also hot commodities. Over the last year, however, crypto prices have been dropping at wild fluctuations. Although things have largely leveled out in recent months, there's an argument to be made that public confidence and curiosity in crypto has also dropped, thanks to things like the FTX scandal.
While Heatbit was presumably in the works for a long time before now, this still makes it an unfortunate time for a product launch. At the current value of Bitcoin, it'll only earn you about $20 a month, according to the company's own calculations. It's not clear if this is supposed to be $20 on top of covering the rest of your electric bill, but I'm skeptical. That's hardly the only red flag either. The Heatbit's safety features are incredibly vague, which is deeply concerning as well. As I wrote on Wirecutter:
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, space heaters are involved in more than a thousand home fires every year. The National Fire Protection Association puts that figure into even starker context, noting that space heaters factor into about 43 percent of home heating-related fires (which includes items like water heaters and fireplaces) and 85 percent of associated deaths.
So yeah, I wouldn't necessarily trust this space heater to run safely. Although it does supposedly use only 1400 watts, instead of the 1500 watt average high running power of most electric space heaters. It's unclear if that's a consistent heating level, but hey, if it does that and makes you a little extra cash? I guess crypto is already a risk, so it's a small leap to risk your home electrical fire safety, too.