Public records reveal the large Chinese electrical appliance manufacturer, Midea Group, recently applied for a patent that enables bitcoin mining through household appliances.
A system for Digging Bitcoins by Using a Household
The Chinese corporation Midea Group is a major appliance manufacturer headquartered in Beijiao, China. Midea has been listed on Shenzhen Stock Exchange as a publicly traded company since 2013 and has plants and logistics centers across 200 countries. The company has done well for itself over the past two years as it was listed in the Fortune Global 500 in 2016 and 2017.
The patent published this past spring, describes bitcoin miners powered by everyday household devices, like an air conditioner, one of the company’s biggest products. Last November the firm applied for the patent called a “Method and system for digging [mining] bitcoins by using household appliances,” through Midea’s Wuhu Meizhi air conditioning company. The inventor of the patent is an individual named Chen Junji and the author of the concept states;
“The invention particularly relates to a method and a system for digging [mining] bitcoins by using a household appliance,” explains the patent found at China’s trademark office. “The method comprises the following steps: controlling network access of the household appliance, and logging in to a bitcoin account via the household appliance.”
Extra Income for Household Appliance Owners
According to the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) document, the “bitcoin account” is pre-registered to a mining operation that utilizes a “controller” that mines and stores the bitcoins. Additionally, the invention says that the mining operations can happen when the appliance is “idle or running.” Further, the machines should operate normally, and the inventor believes the value of the item will be extended.
Bitcoins are mined using the mining website, so that extra income is created for users, the normal operation of the household appliance is also not influenced, and the service range and commercial value of the household appliance are increased.
Midea Group is not the only company researching and testing cryptocurrency with the Internet of Things (IoT). Many people believe that bitcoin was designed to progress the ‘programmable economy,’ and concepts revolving around micro-transaction powered appliances and gadgets have made IoT a sort of technological holy grail. For instance, In November of 2015, the startup Slock.it showed off an integrated IoT demo that featured the team unlocking a door knob through a transaction powered by cryptocurrency.
IoT devices and concepts of this nature still have a long way to go before they could be implemented commercially in the real world. The ideas could have significant privacy and security flaws riddled throughout. Further, some skeptics believe IoT mixed with mining isn’t a viable alternative to the current mining infrastructure. Ideas like Bitfury’s mining light bulbs and 21 Inc’s bitcoin computers have yet to prove any real world traction and may end up being flightless pipe dreams left on the drawing table.
Appliance Manufacturer Midea Group’s Cryptocurrency-based IoT Patent is One of Six Chinese Bitcoin Patents
The appliance manufacturer’s latest patent in China is one of six bitcoin patent applications registered in China. The rest of the bitcoin-related intellectual property is owned by Bitmain technologies, an individual named Song Liping, the Zhidao Weilai Technology Company, and Xidian University. Midea’s patent application is the only concept that revolves around IoT-mining, the other patents applied for in China introduce ideas like blind signatures, proof-of-work optimization, anonymous message transmission, and a terminal wallet.