In autumn 2017 Russia-based startup Comino presented a cryptocurrency miner that leverages the heat it generates from stacking cryptocurrency to heat the house. Comino says the first batch has been sold out, and the company is preparing thousands more of devices to ship to new users. The co-founder and CEO of the company Evgeny Vlasov discusses how Comino’s business is going now and whether a mining-powered heater will appear in every home soon.
Comino is marketed as the first of a new class of plug'n'play mining devices, its distinctive features being liquid cooling and the specially developed software that makes it possible to earn on cryptocurrency mining without any special knowledge.
The device itself is essentially a powerful computer that can also be used for 3D rendering or setting up neural networks, but mining, specifically Ethereum (ETH/USD) mining, is currently the most financially profitable way to use it.
The device, which is fully developed by Comino’s engineers, is based on eight nVidia P106-100GPUs and a proprietary controller that adjusts the liquid cooling system and renders the information on the display. As a general rule, manufacturers offer warranties of no more than three months for GPUs that are used for mining. Comino, however, offers a year warranty on its devices.
Thanks to liquid cooling, its rigs are able to work in 24/7 mode at an average temperature of 55℃, which means the GPUs are unlikely to fail or to require replacement.
The effective heat dissipation makes it possible to provide stable mining at 210 Mhash/s (± 5%), while solving the noise problem: a device operating at full power generates a noise level of no more than 30 dB, that is, not louder than a whisper.
Comino has customers all over the world, including Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Denmark,Estonia, Spain, Britain, USA, Japan and many other countries. Most of them are new to the world of mining, so they are looking for a turnkey solution instead of DIY rigs.
However, the device, designed specifically for people with little to no expertise in cryptocurrency, has also attracted interest from experienced miners.
“Those who know what it's like to spend hours every day maintaining a DIY rig or to constantly replace failed equipment, immediately appreciated the plug'n'play approach of Comino. We see more and more like them, sometimes ordering dozens of devices at once," says Vlasov. "And I even know of several customers who bought our device as a state-of-the-art object of cryptoeconomics.”
Now the company is preparing to enter a promising new market, as not only individuals, but also companies and even states are showing growing interest in mining, and the problem of effective cooling becomes especially important as the scale grows.
Production and plans for 2018
From the very beginning the team set a goal to make the device as reliable as possible. This required the most high-quality components and a high production culture.
That's why Comino uses only components from leading suppliers, and the main production facilities are located in Germany, while the Moscow office is responsible for product and software development, as well as beta-testing.
The Comino team is about 50 people strong and growing. By the end of 2018 the startup plans to manufacture and sell more than 10,000 devices at a price of 4,999 euros per unit.
The company is also considering the launch of new products for home and professional use, such as a desktop computer with a Comino’s signature cooling system.
Regulatory issues remain the major area of concern when it comes to cryptocurrency, and to mining in particular. Vlasov notes that the startup always considers the risks associated with the possible regulatory measures, although the chances of any problems are unlikely: despite being one of the most effective mining rigs available at the market, the device is intentionally designed to fall under the definition of a personal computer, so it will always be regulated according to this definition only.
Even if mining is to become a taxable activity, it will not become less profitable, argues Vlasov. Taxes imply clearer market rules, which in turn will increase interest from big investors who are currently reluctant to make investments in a completely unregulated area, starting a new rally on the market.
Mining, as well as the IT industry at large, isn’t particularly power-efficient. The heat produced by mining rigs and data centers could be effectively used in heating systems,both for home and agricultural use. Some customers, having tested our devices in real-life conditions, even share with us their plans for heating entire houses or cowsheds with Comino mining rigs exclusively.
In the future Vlasov sees a company that not only turns profit, but also solves the problems of sustainable use of energy resources of our planet. At some point in the future, they hope to create products which will use for good 90-100% of the heat generated.