CryptoNinjas recently interviewed Nadine Damblon, the CEO of HydroMiner. These are very exciting times for HydroMiner, the Austrian company that operates cryptocurrency mining farms in hydropower plants in the Alps.
After yesterday’s notably successful pre-sale of HydroMiner’s H20 token that sold out in 36 minutes, Ms. Damblon is gearing up for the October 3th ICO. HydroMiner set a hard cap of 1500 ETH for the pre-sale, with a 50 ETH minimum purchase, and investors rushed to purchase their tokens.
H20 token holders receive a share of the mining profits, with distributions paid monthly in ETH.
CryptoNinjas: When did you first learn about or become interested in cryptocurrencies and/or blockchain technology?
Nadine: A common friend of my sister and me told us in 2014 about Bitcoin, Altcoins, and how to mine them. We were interested, but I wasn’t instantly aware of the consequences of the Blockchain concept. At the point my sister started mining on our computer, we dug deeper. Today I am positive that the technology of the Blockchain, and of course the application of cryptocurrencies on top of it, is a development that is going to stay and will change many parts of our society, not only the financial sector. We are still at the very beginning.
CryptoNinjas: What were you doing before you focused your time and energy on mining, and eventually HydroMiner?
Nadine: My sister studied art history, and I studied economics. After that, I enrolled in my media studies. We are both interested in the art world as well as in the crypto world.
CryptoNinjas: Did you ever think you would start a business with your sister or was this surprising to you?
Nadine: We have always been really close, but never thought that we would do business together one day. It just happened. You kind of slip into those things. Because we know each other so well, in my opinion, we are the best partners. We don’t need to explain much to each other regarding our behavior.
CryptoNinjas: Have you always been environmentally conscious or is this more recent in your life?
Nadine: I think at the moment people experience a rethink regarding the treatment of our environment. It is not about whether or not you choose to act responsibly in the past, but if you decide to change your behavior now. We got the chance to with our mining business to make a decision that will help to protect the environment and we hope much more will follow.
CryptoNinjas: How did the hydropower concept come about for mining? Was it because the electricity costs were becoming a burden?
Nadine: We reached the maximum level of supply in our apartment and in the small datacenter we had, so we had to look around for alternatives. We were aware of the high energy consumption and the impact on the environment, so we looked for something that could solve both problems. Since there is a lot of hydropower here in Austria, we thought that seemed to be the perfect fit. No power grid costs, almost no carbon footprint, and cheap electricity due to the electricity market that forces the small hydropower stations to sell their power for a low price.
CryptoNinjas: Who are HydroMiner’s biggest competitors?
Nadine: Of course there are the big mining farms in China and in northern Europe. We can’t compare with them yet regarding the scale of their business. But we focused on mining using renewable energy to build a crypto world that is based on an environmentally friendly way of mining. The best part is, this green approach is also very profitable. We kind of stand alone at the moment, but I hope that will change in the near future and more people will consider using green energy in the mining sector.
CryptoNinjas: How can you compete with the low energy prices in China and northern Europe?
Nadine: The answer is a bit complex. In Austria and Germany, there are different incentive programs for eco-friendly energy. In Austria, there are grants for building hydropower stations and there is a guaranteed price of 10 cents per kWh for the first 10 years. But after the first 10 years, the wholesale price for a kWh is only 2.5-3.5 cents. Also, there is a whole set of stipulations, like the overpayment for underperformance. So the hydropower stations are more interested to lease to us than to feed their energy into the power grid. Through this distortion of the energy market, we are able to achieve a very low price for the eco-friendly energy.
CryptoNinjas: What is the difference between the payouts based on watt and hashrate?
Nadine: The payout of the hashrate seems nice at first, but it has very little value in a few months from now. Many customers of cloud mining services that offer payouts based on hash rates find that their contract generates high returns for the first months, but as the difficulty of mining the cryptocurrency goes up, their hashrate earns fewer rewards.
Payouts based on watt provide a fair and transparent way of issuing the rewards of the mining to the token holders. Also, we also reinvest a part of the mining proceeds in keeping the hardware up to date, so there is no decrease in the mining profits.
CryptoNinjas: Have you considered this business model with solar energy or any other renewable energy sources?
Nadine: For mining, we need a constant supply of energy and with wind or solar energy that is not given. The problem is you cannot really store the energy when you have an overproduction so you could use it when there is no wind or no sun. Biogas is really expensive, so hydropower is the best option for us.
CryptoNinjas: How did you find the other members of the HydroMiner team?
Nadine: There is a small community here in Vienna. For example, regular Ethereum meet-ups, as well as the circle of the Austrian School of Economics. There we got a lot of interesting contacts and from then on it developed.