A bathhouse in Brooklyn, New York has turned to Bitcoin mining rigs to heat its spa pools – and customers aren’t entirely convinced that it is an ethical choice.
‘BATHHOUSE’ is a wellness destination ranked as one of the best in New York. The institution recently shared an Instagram Reel revealing that it has been using leftover heat from Bitcoin mining rigs that it owns.
How does it work? First of all, Bitcoin mining requires loads of computational power. This process, as a result, generates heat as a byproduct. Next, via a sophisticated piping system, BATHHOUSE transports the heat to heat exchangers, which then finally send warmth to customers relaxing in spa pools.
“Enjoy a hot pool while supporting the Bitcoin network,” BATHHOUSE’s video reads. “The pools absorb the heat and circulate cool liquid back to the miners. The process repeats. Forever!” the bathhouse explains.
Bitcoin mining is hot
… literally. Bitcoin mining is known to be a massive energy guzzler, with its energy consumption sometimes rivalling entire countries. There are arguments responding that such energy use is necessary for innovation, and there have been efforts by companies to channel the byproduct heat to better causes such as powering electricity grids in rural African communities.
BATHHOUSE’s way of putting Bitcoin’s energy waste to alternative use is not new. A company called Heatbit manufactures a device that functions as a heater using recycled energy from Bitcoin mining. Heatbit even claims that the heater mines Bitcoin whilst generating recycled heat.
BATHHOUSE’s decision to heat its spa pools with Bitcoin mining has split its customers. Aside from Bitcoiners who are lauding BATHHOUSE’s efforts to become more energy efficient, many are criticising the bathhouse’s association with the crypto industry. Some also expressed concerns about the safety of the practice.
“Something Stockton Rush would do”
“This makes me like BATHHOUSE less. Now I’m concerned about who is mining this cryptocurrency, who is profiting from it, and whether I support that. We’re gonna need some transparency,” wrote a customer under BATHHOUSE’s Instagram Reel.
“A bunch of rich people getting ready to get electrified with zero knowledge about safety and certification of high wattage GPUs and CPUs [of] Bitcoin mining systems. This is obviously a full ‘custom-built-something which Stockton Rush would do,” wrote another.
BATHHOUSE has yet to respond to the criticism.