Researchers Power Cryptocurrency Mining With Human Body Heat

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Today’s “say what now?” story comes to us from the Netherlands. A group of ethical scientists, have been studying a way to take waste human heat, the natural heat that the human body gives off, and use it for cryptocurrency mining. How exciting!

How to Earn 1 Bitcoin a Month

The oddly named Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO) is doing a very Matrix movie sort of study. They are capturing waste heat from test subjects and using that to power a cryptocurrency mining rig. The group states that, while at rest, humans generate about 100 watts. The majority, 80%, is released as heat into the atmosphere. The study is looking at ways to capture that heat and turn it into energy, which could then be used to power cryptocurrency mining and take stress off the electrical grid in some areas. The group is capturing about 0.6 watthours from every single volunteer every hour.

Extrapolating that out to a single mined Bitcoin means they would need around 4,600 volunteers to lie down for a year in order to capture the necessary energy. That would net them around 1.2 Bitcoins actually. So if they had 46,000 people, they could do it in a month. Seems reasonable, right? As reasonable as say, humanity being a power source for a race of sentient machines and a massive computer simulation…

Maybe what they should do is capture the excess heat energy of all the Americans that go to the gym and run on a treadmill or elliptical for a half hour or more per day. I imagine one could definitely generate enough energy for cryptocurrency mining. And let’s face it, mining Bitcoins isn’t that lucrative at the moment. They should totally be mining something like Monero or another altcoin.

The Impact of Technology

Manual Beltran, of IoHO recently was quoted as saying that many do not ponder the impact of their mining, or of embracing other new technologies. The ethical side of technology is sometimes ignored and something is built simply because it can be. This may be more evident in cryptocurrency mining than many other technologies. It has been estimated that the Bitcoin network requires more power than all of Bulgaria, so that’s more power than needed by just over seven million people.

The whole point of the study is to show that there are alternative ways to power technology and that we, as a race, need to look at the impacts of our adoption of new technologies.

Now, if we could just get all 46,000 of our friends on a treadmill and into one of those heat capturing suits, we could all make serious bank on some cryptocurrency mining. As an added bonus, we’d all drop some extra Christmas cookie pounds as well.

The Math

If we go back to the IoHO way of doing things. We would need 46,000 people to simply chill out for a month. Today’s value of Bitcoin is, at time of writing, $12,176 per coin. That means, if you paid each of them a share of the coin, they’d generate a little over a quarter for their time. Can’t really see people taking a month off of work to lie around every hour of every day for a quarter.

Time to Hit the Gym?

But, what if we take my example of people working out. For an hour, a relatively fit person can generate three watts per kilogram (about 2.2 pounds). That means, a person who is 176 pounds can generate about 240 watts. That is 400 hours of the IoHO lying about doing nothing study. But this is the actual energy output, we must then subtract the energy used to do the exercising.

However, if we had those people doing interval training, we could potentially generate up to 1500 watts per person in a very short time. An S9 uses about 1375 watts. If we could harness that much power from a treadmill or elliptical machine each hour you could get 12,930 GH/s (the estimated efficiency of a single S9 mining rig). If you had a gym with twenty-four machines, and each got used for an average of an hour per day, you could run an S9 off that power.

Now if you took that S9, which you wouldn’t be paying to run at that point, and used it for alternative cryptocurrency mining, you might actually generate a profit sooner or later. After the cost of the S9, the gym, the equipment, and all the other expenses that is. Seems like a legitimate reason to buy a gym, right? Plus, think of all the people you’ll be helping get fit while you are secretly using them to power your cryptocurrency mining!

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