By: April Carson
From his 2018 Tesla Model 3, Siraj Raval has experimented with just about every conceivable method to mine cryptocurrencies.
He used his car to power his computer, running bitcoin mining software on his Apple Mac mini M1. He plugged an inverter into the 12-volt power connection in the center console of his vehicle in order to run the computer.
He's built an entire computer on his Tesla, complete with three connected graphics processing units (GPUs) and an integrated CPU. The "frunk" of his Tesla is also hooked up to these machines, which are powered by the car's internal battery.
It's worth it, according to Raval, despite the fact that it jeopardizes his vehicle warranty.
He claims to have made $800 each month in the year 2021 when the price of ether peaked. Tesla miner Alejandro de la Torre stated that mining from a Tesla is the same as connecting to any other power source in the long run.
“The most important factor is the cost of electricity. It doesn't matter if it's cheaper to do so by using an electric vehicle,” said de la Torre.
How to mine for crypto with a Tesla
Chris Allessi, who is now Wisconsin's first-ever electric car dealer, decided to fiddle with his Tesla in 2018.
This isn't the first time Allessi, known as K-Man on his YouTube channel, has tinkered with cars in his spare time and billed himself as a modern-day Doc Brown, the character from the film "Back to the Future" who retrofits a car into a time machine.
“I enjoy electricity. I like zapping things, inventing stuff. You give me an electric motor and a completed product,” he continued.
Allessi, like Raval, has experimented with a few various methods to turn his Tesla Model S into a cryptocurrency mining rig.
Cryptocurrency mining is the process of utilizing computer hardware to contribute computing power to a global network in order to create new coins and verify transactions of existing ones. They do that by running specialized software that solves difficult math problems. To participate, all you need is a computer and electricity.
Alessi has experimented with bitcoin mining by connecting a Bitmain Antminer S9, which is a type of mining rig designed specifically for bitcoin production, to his automobile battery using a power inverter. The voltage of Tesla's electric battery is modified with the help of an inverter to be comparable to that of the Antminer.
The Tesla also has a built-in mining software that Allessi employed to mine for alternative currencies.
“It wasn't difficult,” he remarked of the procedure. He used the built-in computer and screen in his automobile to access a web page he had prepared especially for mining monero, which is a popular privacy token. Allessi added, “I could run the mining software in the browser.”
Raval claims that the most successful method he's tried is a combination of hacking into Tesla's internal computer, as well as plugging GPUs straight into the vehicle's electric motor.
“It's a computer on wheels... It's really simple to hack into this vehicle computer,” Raval explained, adding that he or she simply takes control of the car's internal firmware to enable for greater power consumption.
Thomas Sohmers, the Tesla hacker and crypto miner, says that this step isn't required.
“Any additional hardware connected to the vehicle would be a fraction of that. There's no need to follow [Raval]'s plan because it doesn't make technical sense,” said Sohmers. “The car is already built to deliver over 100 kilowatts, and anything connected to the car is going to be a
Raval attaches five GPUs to his Tesla battery, and he uses a hashing algorithm to mine for Ethereum.
According to CNBC's professional-grade miners, the logistics check out in principle.
“The processes are all in place,” stated Whit Gibbs, CEO and founder of Compass, a bitcoin mining service provider.
“You have a power source, you have space, and you can add cooling. There's enough electricity in the battery to start an ASIC and run it,” added Gibbs.
Profitable but worth the hassle?
Whether or not Tesla crypto mining is profitable is primarily determined by when the driver acquired their automobile.
For example, before January 2017, Zee Allessi bought his automobile, making him a protected participant in a program with free and limitless supercharging for the life of his car.
In 2018, he expects to make $10 worth of bitcoin in a 60-hour period without having to pay for power, all of which was at a profit.
Despite its profitability, however, he says it was practically worthless.
“Why would you want to put that much wear and tear on a $40,000 to $100,000 automobile?” he asks. “And now, even though the price for bitcoin has increased dramatically, the difficulty level has gone up even more...I'm probably looking at around a penny or two worth of bitcoin in the battery, which is not even worth it. On top of that you have to wait 14 or 15 hours for your car to charge because I don't think they will let me stay hooked up all night.
Mining for monero proved to be equally unprofitable.
“Did it work?” Yes. “Did it mine anything valuable in order to be able to be lucrative in any manner, form, or fashion?” No,” concluded Allessi.
Raval is more hopeful about the Tesla's earning potential.
Despite the fact that he has to pay to charge his automobile, Raval claims that the battery is “bar none” and allows him to get a lot of value for his money.
Raval's vehicle gets 320 miles per charge and takes around $10 to $15 to charge. It takes a charge once every one-and-a-half weeks if he drives it for a few hours each day, which costs anywhere from $30 to $60 per month.
Raval claims he uses his Tesla battery for about 20 hours a day. Even though the cost of cryptocurrencies like Ethereum is prone to change, Raval has included other safeguards to guarantee profitability.
Second, he invests his Ethereum in "Midas. Investments," a custodial crypto investment platform that gives him an annual percentage return of 23% on his investment. He also avoids cashing out to US dollars, ensuring that his cryptocurrency savings pile up.
Raval also buys his GPUs on eBay, which helps him save money.
Taking everything into account, Raval forecasts that he will make between $400 and $800 each month throughout 2021, making the company successful even during crypto's downturns.
According to CNBC, Sohmers, who claims he was the first to crack into the Model 3 in 2018, says that profits at those levels are simply not feasible.
“The hashrate for the GPU in the Model 3 would be around 7-10 MH/s, according to my best guess. Currently, with a hash rate of 10 MH/s, that would produce revenue worth $13.38 before factoring in costs.” Sohmers said on CNBC.
Alessi says he doesn't bother with mining any longer.
“The challenge is so severe... I could earn more money working at McDonald's,” he added.
Mr. Allessi, on the other hand, offered an alternative. “You're better off hiding a miner in the ceiling of a business than you are mining with your vehicle,” he remarked when it came to stealing free electricity from an employer.
However, for Raval, mining cryptocurrencies from his Tesla isn't just a joke. It is rather a significant portion of his strategy to make his Tesla a fully automated taxi that can generate crypto anytime it's not in use.
Teslas today are still a long way from being able to drive themselves, as Tesla's CEO Elon Musk has suggested the possibility of vehicles becoming autonomous robotaxis. Nonetheless, Raval is certain that this future will come to pass.
“It will use its profits from both transportation services and cryptocurrency mining services to pay for its own expenses, such as repairs, power costs, and improvements, as well as invest them in a diverse portfolio of emerging crypto-community networks,” he added.