Should You Pay $400 For A Bitcoin Computer from 21 Inc?

The heavily funded Bitcoin company, 21 inc., has released its first product: The 21 Bitcoin Computer. This device allows users, be they a developer or a small brick and mortar business, the ability to securely use Bitcoin as opposed to bitcoin. Bitcoin with the capital ‘B’ and a fully downloaded Bitcoin blockchain already affords a lot of functionality that is lost when using a third party payment processor. With the advent of new projects built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, like the Lightning network, running a full node will only become more and more important. 21, Inc. has realized that and entered the market with a product that has it all and does it all, all while fitting in the palm of your hand. The CEO of 21.co explained in a Medium post that accompanied his company’s website revamp:

With this pocket-sized device, if you are an entrepreneur or developer, you can now instantly buy or sell digital goods and services at the command line using Bitcoin. For example, you can use the 21 Bitcoin Computer to:

– instantly mine Bitcoin from the command line

– sell API calls for Bitcoin, like English-to-Chinese translation or file conversion

– set up your own personal iTunes-like digital goods store

– reward peers for posting your links on social media

– make any IoT hardware Bitcoin-rentable, from smart locks to 3D printers

More than Just an ASIC Bitcoin Miner

At its core, the 21 Bitcoin computer is just a Raspberry Pi 2 connected with a 21 Bitcoin mining chip. There’s also a WiFi adapter, a power adapter (for the chip and the RPi), a chassis, and a 128 GB SD card for storage. The 21 Bitcoin mining chip itself isn’t that useful. It clocks in at 50-125 Gh/s and uses 0.16 Joules per Gh. Other Bitcoin ASIC miners on the market are already much more efficient; however, the size and combined full node and full functionality are definitely a new desirable entrant to the market. By being able to mint your own bitcoins, the 21 Bitcoin computer will allow users to use the Bitcoin network for all that its worth. To do so, only enough satoshis to send bitcoin are needed. 21 Inc. expects its Bitcoin computer users to earn more Bitcoin. they explained in their FAQ:

The short version is that your margins on bitcoin earned by selling digital goods and services with the 21 Bitcoin Computer are likely going to be much better than your margins from bitcoin mined with the 21 Bitcoin Computer. That is because the 21 Bitcoin Computer allows you to use bitcoin as a true digital currency for taking worldwide payment for your APIs. The mined bitcoin just provides continuous liquidity into the system.

Is the 21 Bitcoin Computer Hardware Limited?

You won’t use this Bitcoin computer to toast bread; however, you could hook it up to a toaster (among other things). Then, the full node Bitcoin computer will be able to accept and even send Bitcoin transactions from the Bitcoin that it is mining. It is important to re-emphasize that the 21 Bitcoin chip’s function is just to mine enough Bitcoin to cover transaction fees – something it should be able to do reliably for more than a few years and well beyond the next Bitcoin halving. What’s more worrisome is the 128 GB SD card that acts as the Bitcoin computer’s storage. The SD card will likely become filled with the ever expanding Bitcoin blockchain before the 21 Bitcoin chip stops becoming viable. However, as time goes on, users will likely be able to upgrade their storage to larger and more cost effective sizes as they become available.

The new Bitcoin Computer is currently available for order from Amazon and costs $400. Currently, you can only use fiat to buy the Bitcoin computer, an irony that 21 co noted. However, current Bitcoin holders are well aware that they can use a service like Purse.io to order this device using Bitcoin.

What do you think about this Bitcoin computer? Tell Bitcorati your thoughts with a comment below!

Images from 21.co

About The Author

Profile photo of Caleb Chen

Digital Currency Advocate

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