About The Artist
Meet The Bitcoin Machine; a fully-featured, Bitcoin full-node which not only runs any Raspi-based Bitcoin node implementations in its sleek, retro-styled enclosure, but also shows you a range of Bitcoin network indicators on its front-facing 1.8” LCD display. Whilst siblings Prabhhu and Pranesh – the brothers behind Doido Industries in Chennai, India – created this beauty in 2020, when it dropped into my feed it a few weeks ago I thought it was the illegitimate love-child of a ferrel Raspberry Pi that had eloped with a Block Clock sometime during the late 1960s.
The Birth of an Independent Mind
I first spotted her in the wilds of Bitcoin Twitter after the folks @getumbrel dropped some sweet set-up thumbnails into their stream, and immediately I wanted the next Bitcoin Noder Runners Council to add instructions on how I could get one.
Despite not being tagged in the photo, Pranesh dived into the replies a couple of days later with a link to his site and, well, here we are. Imagine having one of these little beauties staring at you when you wake from your slumber in the morning?
Having toyed around with various Raspberry Pi projects a couple of years ago, Prabhu (who currently works in the enterprise software space) and Pranesh (whose skills lie more in the hardware side) got the idea to create something that would allow them to become participants on the Bitcoin network and also give their friends something cool as hell to look at when they visited and asked them about the current Bitcoin price.
So, by working evenings, weekends and holidays, they took their idea from the drawing board to the factory over the space of a few months, developing and iterating on prototype models before coming up with the finished product you see today. With their combined coding, hardware engineering/configuration and enclosure manufacturing skills, the pair have created what, to my mind at least, looks to have the potential to be an iconic piece of Bitcoin-only hardware.
Inside The Bitcoin Machine
Building a Fire
The Bitcoin Machine features all of the functionality of a Bitcoin Full Node – including extension board, Raspi, SSD, etc., as well as similar display functionality to the hugely popular and already iconic Block Clock, developed by our friends @ Coinkite. All of this is then wrapped together in a custom powder-coated enclosure that encases everything, and will soon include a tiny UPS designed to allow the node to continue working in the event of a short-term power outage.
If power doesn’t return before the UPS runs out of a certain amount of juice, then the unit is automatically instructed to shut-down safely to protect the full-node’s data. As an existing full node-runner, I was pleased to hear that anyone can retro-fit their existing RP-based full-nodes into The Bitcoin Machine – Raspiblitz, MyNode, Umbrel, you name it.
So if you don’t need or want the complete solution unit inclusive of the full-node set-up, you can just buy the enclosure and display and turn your favourite existing tx validator into an extended display unit with a whole host of different customised LCD options, including:
– Bitcoin price
– Moscow time (sats/dollar)
– Block height
– Number of transactions in the next block
– Mempool depth
– Blocks to next halving
– Blocks to next difficulty adjustment
– Upper & lower Tx fees for inclusion in the next block
– The date & time, should you want it
– And lots more to come…!
Users choose which metric to display using some simple SSH-based command line instructions that are currently published on their website, but there’s also a web-UI coming which will make it even easier.
These guys are keen to build their product and make it better and better, so if you’ve got ideas for features you’d like to see, then drop into their Telegram group and suggest away. In addition to their UPS feature, they are also working on an NVME/SSD-style miniature RAID set-up that will provide fault tolerance for the storage component and are working on a smaller enclosure that will house a bigger, 3.5” display – so minimising shelf real estate and maximising display frontage.
I have to hand it to these guys – launching a physical product in 2020 wasn’t going to be easy, but they bided their time, worked on their offering and have came out fighting with a cracking looking unit.
If you want to hear what inspired them, how they developed this fire piece of kit and what their plans are for the future, check out my audio interview with them above. Oh – and if you fancy getting your hands on one, you can use the discount code “21ism” on their website for $10 off 🙂
Article by mtc