Possibly the greatest asset the expansion of blockchain technology has could come from applications that lead those who are unfamiliar or inactive with the tech to use it to their benefit. Products that show everyday consumers, who might be dismissive about actually applying blockchain technology, the benefits available can only increase respect for, and acceptance of, the technology. It’s easy to preach to the choir, but true growth comes when the message reaches outsiders.
With their new QC-1 crypto heater, the team at Qarnot Computing is poised to do just that.
Founded in 2010 by Paul Benoit and Miroslav Sviezeny, Qarnot is a Series A venture that has raised 4.5 million Euros in two funding rounds. Building on the basic idea that computers generate a lot of heat, which is wasted and which can be reused, the company released Q.rad, a computer radiator that silently distributes computer heat to warm houses and buildings.
Qarnot’s first Q.rad heater was released in 2013 and has been praised internationally for its design, technology, and positive environmental impact. Winner of the CES 2018 Eureka Park Climate Change Innovators Award and Popular Mechanics’ CES 2016 Editors’ Choice Award, among others, the Q.rad line has 500 successful installations in France and has tested well in other international markets. Among its other clients, Qarnot serves banks, financial institutions, research labs, and 3D graphic animation studios.
The software platform allows computations to dispatch from companies to infrastructure, and the distribution platform allows the Q.rad to distribute computing to the end user according to heating needs.
With the QC-1, a unique crypto heater, the company is now expanding the technology to include the blockchain. Being based on a GPU rather than a CPU calls for a different business model for the QC-1 than the Q.rad. A B2C product rather than B2B, the QC-1 is designed for the consumer market.
Strategy and Marketing Manager Eloise Emptoz says the unit is designed to offer customers a way to mine cryptocurrencies and earn money while they heat their homes. The QC-1 can meet both of those needs, and it’s designed for those who are not expert in cryptocurrencies. The customer doesn’t need to know anything about cryptos to mine Ethereum, Bitcash, and Monero. Still, the product is open source and can be configured to mine other coins if the customer knows the coding technology.
The QC-1 will go live in the weeks ahead. The company has also come up with a visually pleasant way to mine crypto, as it took great pains to focus on design, so customers can collect the value of the cryptocurrency without looking like a miner or having some unsightly rig in their living room.
Emptoz points out that Qarnot is not a developer of blockchain-based technology; rather, the company designs and sells a silent heater-miner. “We don’t develop blockchain; we are providing a machine and the ability to mine the crypto to heat the home.” Reiterating that the customer doesn’t have to be code or computer savvy, she says that being comfortable with, and believing in, crypto is enough.
Such is the case with Qarnot. Being computer experts, rather than blockchain experts, doesn’t stop them from believing in the technology, and while other companies are focusing on developing blockchain apps and crypto apps, Qarnot is focusing on the infrastructure behind the technology.
Of the constantly changing blockchain and crypto landscape, Emptoz says that early on the big question centered on how the technology would be used. Now, she says, it’s evident that it can be anything and that it’s only going to keep growing, which creates questions of regulation.
Qarnot is trying to discern ways to make the infrastructure sustainable in an economic and technological manner. The company is working on cryptocurrency apps and cloud applications as well, but right now the main focus is on making the current products right for the market and marketing the products well to build a larger client base.
Competition for QC-1
Emptoz tells us that there are other companies out there who are selling similar heaters and there are companies selling crypto miners, but Qarnot is the only company that has combined the two as of now. So, where competition is concerned, at present there simply isn’t any.
Less than three weeks ago, the company launched the pre-order of QC-1. They have currently sold a few dozen of the units. The heater is only selling in Europe right now, mainly in France. Emptoz says that the company is ready to launch in other areas, as well, but the U.S. is not presently one of them, as they are holding off on launching in the U.S. until they are certain they can meet the regulations.
For blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to go mainstream, the message has to get out to the masses, and products like this will help greatly to those ends. You mention Bitcoin to an average person and they might respond to you with something about how it’s only the stuff of criminals. When you mention cryptocurrency markets, you might hear something about a Ponzi scheme. If you tell people you’ve found a way to help them heat their homes more affordably and to earn money while they do it, it shouldn’t be long before they start to listen.
Written by Paul Keenan.