Move over, mega-miners: an Andreessen-backed venture is going to beat off your data centre rigs with $400 worth of Raspberry Pi-powered brick.
Rather than take the magic to the press, the 21 Bitcoin Computer landed direct to Amazon for pre-order by enthusiasts, developers, and suckers.
Units will actually ship in November 2015.
For just $US399.99, the 21 Bitcoin Computer gives you your very own Bitcoin coprocessor, complete with command line interface, a 128 GB SD card pre-loaded with a copy of the Blockchain, software, Wi-Fi and USB cable, power supply, and a Raspberry Pi (the latter meaning once you've got sick of waiting for riches, you can at least do something useful with it).
The Linux-based toy can be run as a standalone computer or connected to Mac / Windows / Linux boxen. The Bitcoin magic happens on silicon designed by 21 running as a co-processor to the Raspberry Pi.*
That's not how the sellers pitch it, naturally: as the “first” computer with “native hardware and software” support for Bitcoin, “It provides a constant stream of Bitcoin and the software to make that Bitcoin useful for buying and selling digital goods.”
More usefully, there's also Bitcoin transaction software that the makers say let customers trade the cryptocurrency, offer transaction services, and the like.
Look, at least you get $400 worth of Raspberry Pi. The 21 Bitcoin Computer
Vulture South will take the 21 Bitcoin Computer more seriously when we hear that of thousands of them replacing ASIC-based HPC kit in Hong Kong skyscraper data centres.
Other boosters of the project include Andreessen's partner Horowitz, former Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior, and former US treasury secretary Larry Summers. ®
*Bootnote: For clarity, a later edit added the detail that 21 added its own silicon. ®