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I'm trying to start a business in my house: Cryptomining. Essentially, I will be buying many big power-hungry computers which will print money out of thin air. It's a very lucrative business.

6000+ amperes of powa!!!
(source: coindesk.com)

Right now my house's utility supply is 200A 120v + 200A 240v, which is 72 kW 48kW total. This means I should be able to use ~32 kW for my equipment aside from all the household appliances. The equipment can accept both voltages and actually is more efficient on 240v.

Can the public electricity supply to my home be upgraded? The house is located in a development off the main road. The wiring runs underground for about 1000 ft. until it connects to the utility pole on the main road. So my guess is a solid "no".

I have considered renting a small warehouse and starting the business there. The problem is, most of the properties I find on real estate search engines (like Loopnet) only have 100 or 200 amp service. I need at least 120 kW in order for moving out of the house to be worthwhile.

What are my options? I know heat dissipation will be a big problem as well, but let's set that aside for a moment.

EDIT: My location is central New Jersey, U.S.A., and my house was built in 1998.

  • Where in the world are you located? 120V implies North America but I've never heard of having separate 120V and 240V services. – DoxyLover Aug 25 '17 at 6:43
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    If this is a standard US 200A service, you have misunderstood how it works. You have 200A on each of two 120V phases. Loads connected across both phases get 240V, but take current from both phases. You have a total of 48kVA available, but can only load to 80% of that for a continuous load. – Someone Somewhere Aug 25 '17 at 6:51
  • 120kVA service is large enough that a new transformer is probably going to be on the cards pretty much anywhere you move. – Someone Somewhere Aug 25 '17 at 6:52
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    A 400 amp service is not a 200 amp service. You're still confused. – Tyson Aug 25 '17 at 11:33
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    I thought the cryptomining business was all sewn up by businesses in low-wage economies like China, where mining hardware and (presumably) electricity is dirt cheap. – RedGrittyBrick Aug 25 '17 at 14:03
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This is an economics game. Electricity is #1.

So the very first conversation you need to have is with the electric company. And you need to cast your nets far and wide: Read this discussion of this rate in Georgia and think about the impact that has on your profitability. For instance the example I mentioned was a 2000 watt continuous load (1440kw/month) - cost $27 (1.8 cent/kwh) winter, and $84 (5.8 cent/kwh) summer. Have I got your undivided attention?

So you need to shop, not even locally, but nationally, for rates like that. And then, you need to go to wherever those rates are. I suspect commercial is out of the question; they'll never give a business rates like that, but ask. And don't give them your real name. Now, moving to another state for those rates may seem unreasonable, but run the numbers before you say that. If you'll make $50k/year extra for doing this in Georgia instead of California, you can learn to like Cracker Barrel and calling all sodas Coke.

Second, think about service into the building. 400A residential service is actually common where all-electric homes exist. That's because the heat pump needs an auxiliary heater, typically 140 amps, for when it's too cold outside for the heat pump to work. Your servers are your aux heat, and your bigger problem is removing heat; your heat pump will be running in A/C mode even in the winter, and you'll need supplemental A/C in the summer. (or better yet, shut it off during the heat of the day; that will dovetail nicely with avoiding those peak load charges.)

Third, think about other uses of the building. I would consider several houses as your facility, to capture those amazing residential rates. That has "AirBnB" written all over it: get a portfolio of vacation homes on a Georgia beach that have back rooms you can secure without wrecking their AirBnB value... and you're making money two ways.

I'd also think about equipment cooling. One very effective strategy is water-cooling the relevant parts. You interchange that outside either to an automotive radiator from a junkyard, or you interchange heat with water drawn from a ground source, or river, lake or ocean shore. Which implies riverfront, lakefront or beach property :)

A few numbers

You want to do this at, at least, 120kw. A 400A home has 96kw of service, so let's get 2 of them, using 60kw and leaving 36kw for household loads and the A/C you'll need. 60kw run continuously is 43200kwh.

In California (.16/kwh) that would cost you about $7000/month x 2 houses = $14,000.

That Georgia rate (.01/kwh and 6.64/kw): $830/month x 2 = $1670.

I don't know how much money you're making from the coin, but saving $12,300 a month is huge.

And even if your venture in cryptocurrency ends up a big bust-out, you've got vacation rental income, and you own some nice properties.

  • You really did your research! However, I don't want to enter the real estate business and don't have so much capital. So I've decided to rent a small warehouse close to home with 200/400/600A 3-phase service for now, and expand from there. Power cost would be $0.035/kWh which is much better than the $0.125 I'm paying right now. We might take advantage of it by choosing energy-intensive ASIC mining instead of GPU, which is more capital-intensive. – Hammereditor2 Aug 26 '17 at 18:50
  • "you can learn to like Cracker Barrel" -- hey...I already like Cracker Barrel! I guess I'm halfway to being successful as a cryptominer. :) – Peter Duniho Oct 27 at 5:45
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Can the public electricity supply to my home be upgraded?

Sure, contact you electrical utility. Our utility has an upper limit of 350 amp service for a residence but yours may go to 400 amps. I doubt they will go higher but it is possible.

Most utilities will not bring more than one service to a single owned property. Also, most utilities do not have 3 phase service available in residential areas. Your mileage may vary.

If you want to launch this business large to start with, then a 3 phase 400 amp, 480 volt service in a commercial area is probably the minimum entry level. Look for a light industrial, commercial, or mixed use area in your locale that could supply that level of power and be prepared to burn through lots of cash before you become profitable.

Good luck!

  • Just to add to @ArchonOSX's comments. What does the zoning or HOA requirements say about running this type of business from you home? Unless you live in the country I don't think you will be allowed. 120KW translates into a 120/240V, 1 PH, 500A Service. Which I don't think the Utility Co. would give you. Did you also figure into your calculation critical and essential equipment such as cooling? 120/240V 1PH services are normal for residential and REI zones. So your best bet would be an industrial zoned area where you can apply for 3 phase services. – Retired Master Electrician Aug 25 '17 at 13:04
  • Any reasonable search of industrial areas would have to include colocation in an established datacenter. You still pay for power, but get a fair amount of security and infrastructure included. It's almost certainly cheaper than a warehouse for small amounts of floor space. – Matthew Gauthier Aug 25 '17 at 15:47
  • My friend has 450A service in his all electric home. He has heat pump with aux heat. So it's possible. You will need cooling equipment anyway. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 25 '17 at 19:56
  • I had a true 400 service at my last home but I recently did a property for my company and they required CT cabinets and a lot of other BS that added thousands to the cost of a true 400 240 service. – Ed Beal Aug 25 '17 at 23:04
  • @Matthew Gauthier Yes, I considered colocation, but the cost would be the same or slightly higher than running the GPU mining rigs at home for $0.125/kWh. I also considered energy-intensive ASIC colocation but no provider here has the power density to make it worthwhile. So it's home or warehouse. – Hammereditor2 Aug 26 '17 at 18:54
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After reading all the advice here, I think my best option is to think about the enormous amount of heat generated. The only room for running this equipment in the summer is the garage, and getting so many outlets wired there would cost thousands. Extension cords aren't an option. Air conditioning doubles our power cost. I contacted a HVAC handyman and he said the heat generation would be a problem well before the 200A electric supply would be maxed out. Even in the winter.

I don't have a lot of capital to spare. It's just me and a few college friends, and we are at 1.5 kW right now. So I decided to run everything in the basement at home this fall and winter. It would provide free heating. Meanwhile I'll try to get more investors and capital, and hopefully in May we have enough equipment to move to a small warehouse. At first, the electricity savings might not pay the entire rent, but there are other advantages like taking only a 30 minute drive to fix any technical issues.

At that point, we could move on from GPU mining to ASIC mining, to take advantage of the low power cost. ASIC mining consumes 5x the energy for every dollar of capital. This might make it more profitable than GPU mining.

And although half the miners are in China, Americans and Canadians can still compete because electricity prices are still pretty low. Replacement parts are much easier to get. I just need to automate things and keep labor costs down.

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