Signs of the Times: Mining Cryptocurrency With Your Body Heat
The innovation behind bitcoin and blockchain technology is continuing to grow. But is it really possible to mine cryptocurrencies using only your body? A Dutch art/research group grabbed attention last week by saying yes you can. Of course, it’s more complicated than that — but it raises serious questions about where all this is leading.
Mining With Body Suits… Really?
A Dutch startup called the Institute of Obsolescence (IoHO) studies biological and data production through extensive research and art projects, but with entities like bitcoin striking such exorbitant numbers, several companies are wanting in on the action, and the Institute is no exception.
Executives claim they’ve built a body suit that can “harvest the excess heat generated by your body.” This heat can then be used to mine cryptocurrency.
OK, so essentially you’ll still need the same computers with GPU rigs or ASIC chips to perform the complex hashing functions that mine cryptos. Your body is essentially a low-powered battery that serves only to power the machines.
That sounds ominously like a certain Keanu Reaves movie that was popular in the late 1990s — though it’s reassuring to know the human body isn’t the most efficient way to do this.
The Institute’s founder Manuel Beltran believes the future has arrived, and many people just don’t see it. He’s confident that at some point in time, robots and artificial intelligence will take over the labor force, and Beltran wants to ensure people can fend for themselves.
“I met a lot of people who have pessimistic feelings about the future. Politics are out of control and we have no say. We are ruled by algorithms which we don’t even understand. We don’t know whom to fight and how we feel. Maybe art can help us to imagine and to start the fight.”
Could Bitcoin Bring Everything Crashing Down?
“Pessimistic feelings” is right. Despite all that Bitcoin’s done to prove itself, despite the constant jumps and the fact that it’s trading for over $18K at press time, many remain skeptical and refuse to believe in its power and possibilities.
A few so-called experts have even claimed that Bitcoin will bring about Armageddon, and lead humans back to the Dark Ages. Financial analyst Alex de Vries, for example, stated: “The energy-consumption is insane. If we start using this on a global scale, it will kill the planet.”
Citigroup analyst Christopher Chapman also called cryptocurrency a “dirty thing to produce.”
Stuff and Nonsense, According to Beltran
Despite the negative hype, Beltran isn’t deterred. He believes his new suit is a revolutionary product, and he’s already putting it to work.
Thus far, the company has completed over 200 hours of “work” with the help of 37 workers who served as guinea pigs to Beltran’s suit. As the first ones to try it out, the employees have harvested over 127,000 milliwatts of electricity and mined nearly 17,000 coins.
The yields included cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Lisk, Vertcoin and Startcoin. Bitcoin itself would probably require more power than the workers could produce, though given the current rewards, we wouldn’t put it past someone to try.
Beltran showed his gratitude by giving over 80 percent of the mined profits to the workers who took part in the experiment. The rest has gone to expanding the Institute.
“I think art is able to explain abstract things and through art, you are also able to trigger something,” Beltran mentioned. “With this project, I want to generate questions or sparks.”
Do you think anyone will actually mine cryptocoins with Beltran’s suits in the real world? Post your comments below.
Images via Pixabay