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If the Disney Channel Original Movie “Smart House” were released today, the wicked house would have Amazon Alexas built into the walls, use too much artificial intelligence, and somehow mine Bitcoin.
In a West Philly home, one of these futuristic upgrades comes true.
A new listing at 835 N. 42nd St. in Belmont has three roomslots of natural light, outdoor space – and a built-in cryptocurrency miner designed to generate passive income for the owner.
How it works: The miner is a discrete black box that runs on heliuma new cryptocurrency connected to the internet of things, the network that connects smart fridges, smart toasters and other high-tech devices. In this case, the device connects to an antenna and a wifi router, and borrows chunks of your internet bandwidth to mine crypto.
The more the “Helium Hotspot” is used, the more crypto you will earn. You can track your progress on an app, and experts say the new coin could be more environmentally friendly than other crypto.
When Billy Penn visited the house last weekend, the hotspot was mining $2.75 worth of cryptocurrency per day, which means it could bring in around $80 per month at Helium’s current value. The hotspot only costs $1.50 a month in terms of electricity, which means it’s pretty easy to turn a profit — at least according to Mark Masih, the listing’s real estate agent.
You can get a more real estimate by using a helium explorer app, which will tell you that there are currently 7 Helium hotspots in the neighborhood. Most are idle, but the two running earned $16 and $25 respectively last month.
Asia Hightower is a 42-year-old first-time homebuyer who lived in Belmont for nearly 30 years before moving slightly west. When she saw Masih’s ad, her first impression was, “It’s a beautiful house.”
She liked the location, the finishes and the brightness of the interior. But what really left an impression was the Helium hotspot.
“It shocked me. Once I realized what Mark was doing, I thought it was so cutting edge,” Hightower told Billy Penn. saving.”
For Masih, it’s not about how much money the house generates, but about what it represents: an opportunity for modern financial literacy.
In recent months, crypto has been called the “the currency of the alt-right”, like groups of white supremacists like the Daily Stormer turned to decentralized tendering to avoid financial control. And while 44% of cryptocurrency traders are people of color, there is growing concern that a lack of access lock them up future earnings.
“There’s a lot of demographics that might be missing out on it,” Masih said, “and I want anyone who buys that house and takes its value from it to be someone who maybe doesn’t traditionally know crypto.”
In Belmont, a predominantly black neighborhood, the median household income is just over $25,000. The current average selling price for a home in the area is around $97,000.
Masih’s registration costs $239,000. No one has made an offer yet, but that hasn’t stopped him from thinking about the ideal buyer or how the negotiations might go.
“The order of importance is someone from the neighborhood, then someone who represents the neighborhood,” Masih said. “What if someone who fits that profile comes a little under asking [price]I would always prefer to sell to them.
Maish has been an on-and-off real estate professional for 8 years, and he works with Compass Realty, selling homes in West Philly and the suburbs.
Hightower fits his ideal buyer profile: local, open-minded, and passionate about crypto. After receiving her first round of stimulus checks during the pandemic, she bought $200 worth of Bitcoin and Etherum because it was trendy. Since then, she has diversified her portfolio a bit and recouped her initial investment.
Hightower says she sees value in the house, but can imagine why older members of the community might not be interested.
An interactive map from the City Comptroller’s Office reveals at least three gun violence hotspots within the neighborhood. Many residents fear that housing redevelopment and gentrification are not the right solutions. Hightower itself has moved.
“For many long-time residents, it’s better to fly. It means getting out of the neighborhood,” Hightower said. “After a while you become jaded and tired of the things that come with living in this community.”
Environmentally, traditional Bitcoin mining is energy intensive. Large mining facilities are burning more electricity than some countrieswhile each individual transaction uses enough electricity to power the average US household for 6 weeks.
Helium hotspots like the one at this West Philly home could become a sustainable alternative for those looking to get into decentralized finance, says PennFuture Director Rob Altenburg, who reviewed the impact of crypto mining on the environment of Pennsylvania.
“What we don’t like about Bitcoin is the waste built into it,” Altenburg told Billy Penn. “Helium could be a good alternative, because it doesn’t have this waste proof of work system.”
Since Helium operates more or less over Ethernet, its power consumption is much lower compared to bitcoin.
Masih, the real estate agent, is cautious about whether or not the Helium hotspot will help sell the house, let alone address any major environmental or economic issues.
“I don’t want anyone buying the house for the minor,” Maish said. “Helium is a token. It may collapse next week.