Vault of Satoshi, who has been rolling out new features quite frequently of late, has unveiled via reddit its beta program to offer mining contracts.
The one-year contracts range in price from $70 for 10 Gh/s (gigahash per second) to $900 for 150 Gh/s. Effectively, customers committing to greater volume are rewarded with a rate of $6 per Gh/s, whereas the rate slides to $7 perGh/s at the lower end.
On the CEX.io exchange, which provides trading of mining power for bitcoins, one GHS gets you 0.00718 BTC, which is worth roughly $3.15 based on the going exchange rate.
As to why customers would be willing to pay a premium of roughly double the going rate, two possibilities come to mind. The service is advertised as being highly reliable and secure relative to cloud mining, although it’s still a stretch to justify the premium.
More interesting is the fact that rates are locked in for an entire year. What happens if the BTC price changes? Should it theoretically double, VOS customers aren’t getting such a bad deal. But the risk goes both ways, especially in today’s unsettled crypto climate.
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Additional incentives are available for very large orders (>$10,000) and where certain given sales milestones are achieved. In the 900 Gh/s plan, a full year of hosting a full Bitcoin node is included.
A full node (or full wallet) is where a member of the network has downloaded the entire copy of the blockchain, which is becoming increasingly difficult but important for the network’s long-term health and stability.
In addition, full nodes can be rented absent of mining activity for $40 per year.
The methods of payment are more flexible than for deposits for trading: credit cards, wire transfers, Paypal, Online Interac and even VOS account balances are accepted.
At first glance, it is unusual for a bitcoin exchange to get involved with mining and contracts. Perhaps this is part of a strategy to differentiate itself from the multitude of other exchanges out there. By organically building up its features and intrinsic value, it hopes to attract greater trading volume and liquidity, which while improving, are still nowhere near those of other major players.
Also, the bitcoins mined can themselves provide a second source of volume on the exchange. Some may it convenient to trade them right then and there and avoid the task of moving them to another exchange.