There's a world in which water cooler gossip isn't just for talking about the new office memo or explaining why team so-and-so should fire their GM and start rebuilding. What if you and Lucy wanted to brag about how much Ether you mined last night while washing the dishes? Well, Coinmine, a Los Angeles-based company looking to simplify the world of crypto hardware, has launched the Coinmine One to bring blockchain mining to the masses.
Coinmine One, along with its Android- and iOS-compatible mobile apps, markets itself as the $799 solution to help "free our money and information from the hands of the few" and "make crypto easy." It is, quite literally, mining made easy, boiling the process down to three steps: plugging in the device, opening an app, and choosing which cryptocurrency to mine. From the app, users can choose between mining Ether (ETH), Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC) and Ethereum Classic (ETC), with options like Bitcoin Lightning node, Dfinity and Filecoin to come.
Although some of these features are "coming soon" without any specific date, the "over-the-air" upgrades only add to the user-friendly persona the Coinmine One is touting. Users will "receive software updates, for free, in order to participate in change protocols and brand new protocols." Just like the device will mine without you needing to know much about mining, the upgrades will allow you to continue to mine, or mine new cryptocurrencies, when protocols change without needing to know much about what is changing.
It's Like Tinder With Less, Um, Y'Know…
Coinmine's investors include Coinbase Ventures, Arrington Capital, and Morgan Creek partner Anthony Pompliano. These investors have helped make the Coinmine One a soon-to-be reality, but what does this device really mean for at-home miners?
Brian Norgard, chief product officer at Tinder and a Coinmine One backer, said:
"At Tinder, we removed the pain associated with setting up a dating profile so people could get to the action. When [Coinmine CEO and co-founder Farbood Nivi] initially came to me with the basis for Coinmine, I knew it was a radically novel solution to a messy problem – it was as they say, a perfect match. The limiting factor to scale in crypto continues to be complexity for the end user. Farb and the entire Coinmine team are one of the first companies attacking this problem head-on through a blend of hardware and software."
"Get to the action." That's an interesting concept when it comes to the world of crypto mining. Tinder has its issues, both technical and societal, but the app has had its impact on those looking to hook up and get to that "action." What, then, is Coinmine One's notch-in-the-bedpost equivalent? What is a home miner getting from swiping left or right on different cryptocurrencies?
It is probably not going to be much profit. A CNBC article today reports that using a mining rig that contains a GPU (as the Coinmine One does) went from a profit per month of "$150 last summer" to "$0 for November."
It doesn't look like it's necessarily the speed of the mining, either. Coinmine's website shows that ETH and ETC can be mined at 29 Mh/s, XMR at 800 h/s and ZEC at 290 sols/s. While it is almost $3,000 more, Qarnot's at-home GPU mining rig can mine at 60Mh/s (and it can be used as a space heater).
It also isn't clear, for now, how it helps users learn what to do with what they're mining. Coinmine's website talks about the cryptospace as a place where "money and information aren't controlled by just the few," and presents the Coinmine One as "built from the ground up to adapt to the future of crypto." It all sounds very good, and making a product that presents mining in a more digestible format is helpful, but what are the masses supposed to do with their coin? How can they use it or trade it?
The press release does state that users will be able to "add additional Coinmine devices to their account from an easy-to-read, centralized dashboard," and that may suggest that Coinmine has plans to integrate other products with the miner. The website also notes that users will be able to mine Grin, an ASIC-resistant cryptocurrency, and this may be where Coinmine One competes where its speed lacks, in anticipating ASIC-resistant mining.
Overall, Coinmine One's action – its left and right swipe – is hard to pin down. One could make an argument that it comes down to outright FOMO – fear of missing out. Fear of missing out on the cryptoworld, even if all this means is that the user is on the fringes as an at-home miner. But can $799 and the ability to tell Carl at the water cooler that they're mining ETC right now satiate one's FOMO? Probably not, but, at the very least, they're getting action, and for anyone who isn't looking for anything long term, maybe that's all they need.