Mining crypto is a profitable business but it requires a fair amount of investment in fixed assets, namely processing power. Crypto prices are also spectacularly volatile.
Managing mining capacity to keep it in sync with network demand in order that the capital outlay for graphical processing units (GPUs) is maintained at full capacity is hugely important for the bottom line. When prices fall so too can the returns, depending on the protocol. Add to that the trend of ASIC (application specific integrated circuits) processors edging out GPUs, first in bitcoin mining but increasingly for other crypto too, spare capacity is likely to expand.
What is done with capacity that goes off-line and is sitting idle? At current prices of around $300-500 for a single GPU, which are particularly well-suited for crypto mining because they can process multiple computations in parallel, the cost can quickly pile up so unused spare capacity can become a drag on profitability.
When the crypto markets were booming at the end of last year, diversifying as a way to plan around peaks and troughs in the amount hash power required to maintain mining operations was not so much of a consideration. Things are a bit different today. There has been one main option up until now in terms of alternative usage for the GPUs which has been processor-intensive tasks associated with machine learning and artificial intelligence. But, thanks to the work of a unique startup called Leonardo Render, that's all about to change.
Ending the CGI Bottlenecks
Leonardo Render is focused on providing a rendering service to the CGI-focused creative industry, where production bottlenecks in the $129 billion industry are a growing problem. Computer-generated images – or CGI – require huge amounts of computing power to render the frames that go into the animations. One second of video can see animators waiting a month for delivery. Avatar, one of the most impressive CGI films ever made from a technical perspective, required supercomputers to process 1.4 million tasks a day, amounting to 8 gigabytes of data per second, on a 24/7 basis for a month, with each frame taking an hour to render.
Alternatively, breaking down the rendering process with a single Nvidia 1060 GPU as the benchmark takes approximately 24 hours to render one frame. Given that 1 second of animation is comprised of 24 frames, it takes the better part of a month to render one second of animation with one GPU. The demand for more rendering power is growing while at the same time the crypto-mining industry has masses of capacity that isn't always in production.
Given the resources required for graphic rendering, CGI tools have been out of reach of small-scale animators and other businesses looking for rendering power that don't have the financial fire power of the Hollywood studios, or increasingly the streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon that are also making their own CGI content.
Leonardo Render is utilizing the block chain to bring power to all those that want it. It has developed a block chain-based rendering solution that is cheaper than current rendering services and is the first to market with a block chain render farm. The company says the service itself is fast, secure, easy to use, and already has customers and revenue.
Putting It All Together
So how does it work? Because the system is decentralized, customers can control the entire process from their own computer and without ever having to expose their own IP address. Given that security is a major issue in terms of protecting intellectual property, prospective customers will be encouraged by the fact that there is no file upload required. Then, how does the file get rendered if it doesn't leave the customers machine? The answer is the customer's computer switches to using the enterprise-standard infrastructure GPU available via Leonardo Render as if it were the GPU sitting on its own motherboard.
To deliver the computational power that underpins its offering, Leonardo Render has teamed up with full-service mining solution provider Giga-Watt, the largest GPU mining farm provider in the US. Leonardo Render will make use of Giga-Watt's Washington state-based facility, comprised of 23,000 GPUs housed on 11 acres and running non-stop in state-of-the-art pods that maintain optimal performance conditions and provide flexible scaling abilities.
Because of the efficiency of Giga-Watt's state-of-the-art set up, Leonardo Render's prices are highly competitive. The service cost comes in at $0.25 per GPU per hour. Compare that to the average earnings of a GPU render at $0.50, Leonardo Render customers will be entering a lucrative business.
Sky-High Earnings Potential for Miners
Compare the potential GPU render earnings with those achieved by Ethereum miners and the value differential is even more impressive. An ETH miner earns about $0.027, which means Leonardo Render's GPU render earnings are 1.751% higher, enough to get Ethereum miners salivating.
This block chain-based decentralized rendering protocol is landing at just the right time for the crypto mining industry, with a platform for provisioning spare capacity, unlike Golem network for example, comes from a company with a business that is already delivering rendering to clients. By joining the network, the surplus computing resource of the crypto miner becomes available to all over network participants, accessing earning potential way beyond that available from mining and consensus work on the Ethereum network.
For creatives looking for cheaper and more efficient CGI rendering solutions or to process computer-aided design (CAD) projects, the benefits also include a real-time interface, putting the customer in full control of the progress of their project.
In order to access the platform users will be required to use the LEOS token to provision the rendering service. LEOS is a ERC-20 utility token that is staked by network participants for both service access and provisioning. The token supply is set at a maximum of 288 million. The token will also act as a deposit inside a wider dispute resolution framework where the customer who has booked a render job is able to claim compensation if the finished product does not match the expected standard. This has the added advantage of being an incentive for miners to provide a high-quality service.
The rendering world has just got a lot smarter and cheaper and the options for crypto miners more diverse.