By December 31, 2017 there were 4,156,932,140 Internet users in the world, a number of computers and devices is twice or bigger, respectively. Just imagine all these billions theoretically can mine cryptos. But there is a huge problem - mining uses too much energy.
Today’s estimates suggest that mining operations are now consuming as much or more electricity than the entire nation of Ireland or Austria. Mostly due to generating too much heat.
But is it possible to use all the power of a computer in silence and cold? Yeap. Meet a hardware startup Comino that specializes in energy-efficient machines and liquid cooling systems for home and business. Comino’s first world liquid-cooled supercomputers are perfect for any operations requiring high processing power, such as big data analysis, neural networks, AI, mining ETH and other cryptocurrencies.
By raising $10 million last year Comino’s crew launched a production in Germany that sold several thousand devices and projects 10.000 units by the end of the year. Today Future Times asked some questions their CEO Evgeny Vlasov and his team consisting of true researchers and engineers.
What is your market? Who is your common customer of Comino?
We started off developing a product for retail so that’s what we made first: Comino versions N1 and N4 with different cards inside. There were 8 cards, 8 GPU modules per 1 Comino inside. It is important to mention, that (First of all we were focused on the retail market, but) during retail market deliveries, we got a lot of requests from businesses, (customers more so than businesses, actually) who ordered more than 70 miners. They wanted to buy many devices with GPUs inside just for mining data-centers.
In other words, these orders were for data-centers and even though many times they came from real people instead of businesses they still weren’t for personal use. During that time we analyzed the market and saw that people buying miners for data-centers – that is where the money is.
We created Comino Grando – rack ultra-compact solution for data centers. Talking about market though, we are focused on B2B market now. To be more exact – mining for data-centers. Nevertheless, we still produce a small number of miners for personal use. Lately, we provided a Comino Grando solution for B2B market.
There is an opinion that domestic mining will go out of style and we’ll be left with industrial mining. How do you envision future for mining?
We think it’s safe to assume that only data-centers will mine coins, especially, efficient data-centers. Personal mining will take the back seat because of electricity costs, growing blockchains and so on. However, home mining, promising high profits, will be available for new coins, but the higher the profit the higher the risks. We don’t know what’s in store for this coin and probably in times when the electricity price skyrockets (and this time it will happen again) domestic mining can be profitable. However we are not focused on short periods of time, plus we are building a big company and strive to have long-term clients with great opportunities.
In the nearest future, is it possible to combine your technology with solar energy – using solar panels for mining?
Now we are ready to collect energy from solar panels but as we know they aren’t as efficient as it was expected. It would probably be much better to use wind electricity stations. Solar panels are pretty expensive and the energy they produce isn’t as green as we all thought it would be. As far as I know, there was a program in Germany aiming to provide support for buildings and businesses that are buying solar panels, but it closed due to the ineffectiveness of said panels. Maybe in the future it will all be different. Though countries with specifically warm climates already use it and that’s where we can propose our solution as well. And if we talk about green energy, the one produced by solar panels, wind, electricity stations or other stations can be recycled using Comino Grando and then later used for warming up anything from liquid to houses, buildings and even countries.
Is it realistic to solve northern cities heating problems with your technology?
Yes, we can solve this problem, using the energy from data-centers which is being wasted right now. We are building an infrastructure where heat can be recycled so we can’t account if it is used for other purposes. There is no way to save all the energy because there are plenty of other areas in each city\country where it’s constantly being wasted.
What is your personal motivation for developing this idea?
I am really proud to have started building a big international company or corporation and I am glad it’s being built using liquid cooling technology. Producing something you can really touch, feel and assemble using real manufacturing is very peculiar. No, it’s fantastic. As for me, I always wanted to find something, that’s not just programming but designing programs with something tangible. For me, it holds great value.
We don’t just have a common production, we use the latest technologies in liquid cooling like deformational cutting and so on. We build our own technologies as well, to stop assembling from the parts produced by other companies and work with our own. That is also really important to me.
So what’s my personal motivation you ask? My company, my people, and development of technologies. Of course, one of the most important aspects of it all is that we are creating a green company and we would love to turn this world green starting with mining. Everyone, who understands the levels of energy consumption know, that it should be changed. We are not ready to waste this much energy, like Vitali Buterin, the creator of Ethereum network, said: “We should change Blockchain code not to waste such amount of energy”. This is probably the number one reason to change the proof of stake algorithm.
If people massively start getting a passive income because of your miner, will it make them lazier or rather create more time for something useful?
I tend to believe, that it will free up a chunk of time for something useful. Though, it takes a lot of time getting acquainted with this sphere, mining infrastructure maintenance in particular. You should monitor everything, spend a good chunk of your evenings learning about mining, liquid cooling and so on. It is like a whole new world. Anyway, people here are divided into two: ones find something effective in mining and the others gather money. They don’t know much about mining and they just want to build something; that’s it. It won’t affect them, because if they are building a common cooling farm, they will just spend more money on maintenance and using our system, they will save money for support making it a long-term investment, though it will still be the same in both situations. If we talk about home miners, here is where you will directly see the effect because home miners usually build their farms driven by their enthusiasm, trust, and belief in cryptocurrency. Obviously, if your mining farm works well on a day to day basis, you spend more time investigating cryptocurrency.
When it comes to those who just earn good money in mining, they will have a lot of free time to spend it correctly.
What’s your forecast for digital currencies market? What kind of future are we looking at in 10 years?
The first cryptocurrency appeared just about 10 years ago. Obviously, no one could imagine what would happen in 10 years. It is impossible to make next year predictions. For example, Ethereum was created just two years ago and now it is the second valuable cryptocurrency on the market, after Bitcoin. Right now as you are reading this article many people are creating an infrastructure, like wallets, data-centers and many other things. Some of them are going to the parliament to sign a petition or something to declare cryptocurrency on the country level, as they want it to be allowed everywhere. If it happens, there is no doubt that in the near future we will see cryptocurrency working.
Actually, we don’t know how money work, but we know how cryptocurrency works. And jurisdiction knows about cryptocurrency a lot, they can see everything in the blockchain, it is open for everyone, everyone can the way transactions work. New generation uses cryptocurrency a lot. Those, who were 15 years old at the time when Bitcoin appeared, are now about 27 and very much used to it. They may think it’s unacceptable to have a world with no common money. Cryptocurrency in already being used in the USA and Japan, more so, many countries have ATMs for cryptocurrency and shops, where you can pay with it. They use it, it is comfortable. It’s the future.
Some data-centers and IT-infrastructure should exist to support blockchains. But it should be green and have more legal rights, restricting inefficient data centers. I know, that such centers in Europe will have to comply with many laws, rules and regulations; creating data-centers with high PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) would be permitted. Of course, it won’t happen overnight or in a month because in countries like Russia, we can wood with no consequences and it is a common thing. Some countries, however, restrict it. First of all, Europe will ban inefficient data-centers creation. And we are ready to provide the technology required to build the next generation of green and efficient data-centers and IT- infrastructure using liquid cooling.