The viability and attractiveness of mobile Bitcoin mining containers has vastly increased in recent years. Innovations in the design of such containers, opportunities to tap into inexpensive, stranded energy sources, and the emergence of several companies offering such solutions has led to a proliferation in containers as a venture option.
Mobile Bitcoin mining container solutions began springing up as early as 2016; these solutions allowed Bitcoin miners to base their operations close to stranded energy sources such as oil and gas, or congested renewables. This allowed miners to tap into extremely competitive electricity rates, and continues to allow them to transition their hardware when more attractive opportunities arise.
Why do mobile Bitcoin mining containers make sense, and how are they becoming more prevalent in the Bitcoin mining industry? With other major players offering such solutions as the industry expands, it’s important to understand the detailed comparison between Wattum container solutions and those of other major manufacturers.
Why do Bitcoin Mining Containers Make Sense?
The large-scale Bitcoin mining model consisted of industrial data centres full of ASICs. This model required significant initial capital expenditure and a heavy reliance on favourable long-term mining conditions. This model can also be fragile in light of changes in regulatory conditions in the jurisdiction where the facilities are based. The China ban, energy blackouts in Lebanon, and soaring European energy prices show that adaptability and mobility are becoming increasingly important for Bitcoin miners.
What is the containerised mining model? The containerised model involves retrofitting marine containers to house ASICs in order to create a mobile Bitcoin mine capable of harnessing stranded energy at the source. Miners utilizing mobile containers actively seek out the cheapest energy available on the globe and can move freely by utilising the adaptability and mobility of this mining model. This new model can be easily monitored and managed remotely, reducing the operational costs that larger scale fixed mines are susceptible to. The containerised model has brought an interesting new dimension to the mining industry, and has given miners fluid mobility to become “Buyers of Last Resort” by tapping into abundant and stranded energy at the source.
The oil and gas industry has seen the competitive advantage that containerised Bitcoin mining offers by converting flare gas into electricity to mine Bitcoin. Bitcoin mining can serve as a methane capture that reduces emissions and creates instant monetary liquidity to gas that would otherwise be flared into the atmosphere.
The emergence of the containerised model has also breathed a new lease of life into older ASIC generations; the extremely low electricity rates associated with the use of stranded or “wasted” energy sources, such as flare gas on oil and gas fields, means miners can still remain profitable, even with older machines.
Mobile Bitcoin mining has created a harmonious relationship between energy producers and miners. Energy producers have an at-source liquid market for their energy, and miners have access to some of the cheapest energy in the world. Wherever cheap energy arises, Bitcoin miners with mobile containers can easily follow with a new “plug and play” model.
Bitcoin Mining Container Comparisons
Companies like Wattum, Great American Mining, and Upstream Data construct and ship custom containers to the cheapest sources of energy available. Wattum experienced first-hand how dangerous over-exposure to high electricity prices could be during the 2017 bear market, when several colocation builders were forced to turn off their facilities. Wattum identified and scoped out the market for a streamlined and mobile mining operation that can be easily moved to the cheapest sources of energy with minimal maintenance and labour costs. Steve Barbour of Upstream Data also began to see the competitive advantage of the containerised model in 2017, and began dropping these containers on well sites in various locations across the United States and Canada. There are now multiple competitors in the mobile container space, with a detailed comparison outlined in the following table:
|Company Name||Price||Capacity||Manufactured in|
|Wattum||$125,000 $90,000 $65,000||40x8 foot Container - 360 S19s|
20x8 foot Container - 175 S19s
10x8 foot Container - 90 S19s
|40x8 foot Container - 300 S19s|
20x8 foot Container - 207 S19s
|40x8 foot Container - 768 S19s|
20x8 foot Container - 384 S19s
|Digital Shovel||$15,000-$125,000||40x8 foot Container - 700 S19s|
20x8 foot Container - 350 S19s
|Hairf||$100,000-$150,000||40x8 foot Container - 336 S19s|
20x8 foot Container - 168 S19s
|RoxBox||No prices, only by quote.||40x8 foot Container - 560 S19s||China|
|ConexWest||No prices, only by quote.||20x8 foot Container||USA|
Wattum is a market leader in container manufacturing, with our containers having distinct advantages that set it apart from other options in the market. With over 60MW already deployed, our containers contain UL components and are therefore equipped to pass UL inspection. Safety and usability for our clients is paramount, which is why all the materials in each container are non-flammable, with only copper being used for all wiring and electric buses.
The container is also intricately designed to provide strong lighting for easy access and visibility to machines and wiring. All shelving and wiring comes distinctly labelled, and is ready for connection to any ASIC miner. The heat produced by ASIC machines is so extreme that industries are being built around repurposing it. As such, managing this heat in a compact containerised model is no easy task: the large amounts of heat being produced by these machines is efficiently managed in Wattum’s container through the use of specially designed shelves and fans which are mounted directly to the motor without the use of a belt. The Wattum container is also specially painted to reflect sunlight, and has a 25% reserve of air cooling capacity to ensure your miners are always running at an optimal temperature.
Innovation for Building to Last
Wattum has extensive expertise not only in air cooling and evaporative wall cooling, but we have also led the movement towards immersion cooling. Immersion cooling is a technique where Bitcoin mining ASICs are submerged in a specialized fluid, which is circulated to keep the ASICs’ integrated circuits operating at lower temperatures. The heat generated by the ASICs is absorbed by the fluid, and the heated fluid is pumped and circulated to assist in dissipating the heat via a secondary heat exchanger. The cooled fluid is then pumped back through the immersion tank. Immersion cooling allows miners to be “overclocked” and to produce a higher hashrate than that of a machine in standard temperature conditions.
Riot Blockchain recently announced that they would be trialing large-scale immersion cooling and expect an estimated 25% increase in hashrate. Immersion cooling also heavily reduces noise levels from these machines as the fans are removed when they are placed in the specialised fluid; Wattum has therefore been able to continue expanding our build-out service offering, constructing and scoping out facility locations in residential areas while minimizing the risk of noise complaints or local disruption, further allowing us to increase the number of co-location options for our clients.
Immersing the machines in this fluid also reduces maintenance costs significantly as their exposure to common issues, such as dust and dirt entering fans and the resulting overheating, is minimized. Immersion cooling will be especially important for customers that are co-locating at intermittent energy sources.
Intermittent energy sources can be ideal locations for these containers as customers can run entirely off of excess energy by remotely scaling hashrate up and down. From a profitability standpoint, intermittent miners need to maximise their reduced uptime. Immersion containers will allow miners to run overclocked at these sources, and thus produce greater hashrate in a shorter period of time than the standard setup. Wattum’s immersion cooled containers will allow miners to maximise their available energy and could pave the way for further co-located intermittent mining.
Through Wattum’s Energy division, miners can also make the most of container installation services, where their purchased containers can be deployed on one of our leased sites. In addition to containers, we also provide a selection of transformers and other gear designed for mobile Bitcoin mining to ensure an efficient and fully equipped mobile mining setup.
The containerised market has spawned a multitude of container builders, but only a select few offer the full containerised mining package. The container itself is just one piece of an intricate puzzle that will determine the longevity and sustainability of your mining project. The ability to maintain consistently high uptime and act quickly on unexpected issues with your miners is crucial.
Wattum goes above and beyond with management services to ensure you achieve maximum uptime with your container, while maximizing the return from your initial capital expenditure. We understand that the monitoring and maintenance of these machines and containers is an additional key component that is necessary for long-term profitability. Wattum’s extensive suite of services makes it easy to see why we have established ourselves as a market leader in the container manufacturing and management space:
● Staff management and on-site technicians
● Remote monitoring and machine reboot
● Equipment upkeep and part replacement
● Electricity meter reading
● Coin switching
● Monthly profit testing
The mobility and adaptability of the containerised model is only fully realized by a remote monitoring system like Wattum’s. Wattum gives customers full remote control of personnel access through video surveillance, and all containers are fitted with a high standard alarm system. The ability to remotely reboot, identify issues, and monitor machines in isolated locations anywhere in the world gives Wattum customers a notable competitive advantage.
Mobilize Your Bitcoin Mining
In a market that continues to rapidly expand and innovate, customers will increasingly look to identify areas for improvement in order to increase their profit margins. Miners with mobile container solutions will continue to push farther and farther into the unknown in the search for the cheapest energy they can find (because they can).
Wattum has mastered the execution of the containerised model and has identified that the real competitive advantage lies beyond the four walls of the container itself. The remote management and on-site maintenance of these containers and machines is where customers will maximise their uptime and profits. Wattum’s container, in tandem with our management, offers customers a full stack service that takes care of all moving parts in the containerised model and allows customers to easily establish a seamless and efficient mining operation that’s built to last.