A Tesla Owner Says He Mines $800 a Month in Crypto with His Car. But Is It True?

Others have cast doubt on his claim.
Chris Young
Siraj Raval with his Tesla Model 3.Siraj Raval/YouTube

The owner of a 2018 Tesla Model 3 claims to be making up to $800 per month by mining cryptocurrency with their electric vehicle's computer, a report from CNBC reveals.

However, other crypto miners have since argued that the Tesla owner, YouTuber Siraj Raval, made a false claim that doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Can car crypto mining really net $400-800 per month?

We've seen an increasing number of unlikely machines, such as a Raspberry Pi connected to rotten potatoes, used to play the retro videogame 'Doom' in recent years, and now it looks like electric vehicle (EV) owners are coming close to aping that bizarre trend by using their cars to mine crypto.

Last year, Canadian automaker Daymak announced it was developing an EV that mines crypto while it charges. Now, YouTuber Siraj Raval explained to CNBC how he plugged an inverter into the 12-volt power socket of his Tesla Model 3's center console, allowing him to make money using what he describes as his "computer on wheels".

Raval said he made between $400 and $800 a month depending on the value of bitcoin and ethereum. To do so, he had to hack into the computer of his car, which likely voided his warranty. Using the car's battery, he was able to run a series of interconnected GPUs to mine the digital currency. According to Raval, he has mined crypto for approximately 20 hours a day, paying between $30 and $60 dollars in utilities to charge the car. 

Tesla owner dreams of a crypto-mining autonomous robotaxi

Commenters have since gone on to cast doubt on Raval's claims. One Tesla owner, Chris Allessi, told CNBC that he believes it's pointless using a Tesla to mine crypto. Crypto mining is carried out via an increasingly complex series of calculations in the blockchain, that are made more complex as more miners join the network. Allessi, who had access to Tesla's lifetime free supercharging program, found that he could mine maybe $1-2 worth of cryptocurrency in 60 hours. "Why would you want to put that kind of wear and tear on a $40,000 to $100,000 car?" he said.

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Another Tesla hacker and crypto miner, Thomas Sohmers said "the best estimate I would have for the hashrate for the GPU in the Model 3  would be around 7-10 MH/s. Currently, at 10 MH/s, that would generate revenue of about $13.38 worth of ether, before any expenses." Much less than Raval claims his Model 3 generates. It's also worth pointing out that Raval is a YouTuber known for making attention-grabbing claims. He was also at the center of a scandal in 2019 after he was caught and admitted to plagiarizing his work for a paper titled 'the Neural Qubit'.

Still, Raval seems undeterred. The Tesla owner said he eventually hopes to turn his Tesla into a fully autonomous robotaxi that will make him a profit by carrying passengers and then crypto mining when not in use. Judging by a recent leaked Tesla memo that showed the company's CEO, Elon Musk, exaggerated claims about its Full Self-Driving capabilities, Raval will have some time to wait until his car is capable of Level 5 autonomy. In that time, he may be able to rake up a few dollars or millions in crypto depending on who you believe.

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