Bitcoin arguably uses a great deal of power to maintain the blockchain; one Bitcoin transaction can use as much energy as a family home does in a week. Since the cryptocurrency surged to a whopping $10,000, environmentally conscious miners caught up in the frenzy may be looking for other sources of energy to sustain their practice and lower their electricity bill.
Enter one tech-savvy Tesla Model S owner, who built a cryptocurrency mining rig in his electric car after a member of the Tesla Owners Worldwide Facebook group jokingly suggested using the electricity aspect of Tesla’s car’s instead of its computing prowess. Many previously suggested using Tesla’s Autopilot computer to mine bitcoins when it wasn’t being used for the road. This might be a risky decision since the system is needed to power some vital safety features in the electric car.
Usually, mining bitcoins requires specialized computer chips or ASICs that repeat math problems millions of times to verify Bitcoin transactions on the network. Many miners around the world have come up with alternative ways to source energy for their mining, “In China, where the largest Bitcoin mines are operated, miners use ultra-cheap hydro energy. In Europe, small-scale miners are beginning to experiment with wind-powered mining rigs,” according to Motherboard’s Daniel Oberhaus.
Instead, another member of the Tesla forum decided to build a setup for GPUs using the free access to electricity with the Supercharge network. It’s still to clear, however, how the owner/forum member is obtaining the 2.8kW of power needed to run the rig from a Model S battery. Technically he could only use free energy if his particular car falls under the unlimited free Supercharging program, which represents most Model S and Model X vehicles.
There are pros and cons to this idea according to Electrek; ethically using the network for something other than powering a Tesla for long distances may cause problems. Also powering the rig could create heat inside the car which would be wasted energy, therefore the opposite of Tesla’s intent. In fact, running this mine out of the Tesla trunk for a day and a half would use as much energy as driving it for a full week. However, in a month this Tesla rig mining for a currency like Ethereum could make up to $675 in a month, equal to the monthly lease for a Tesla Model S.
It seems that this particular Tesla isn’t being used to mine Bitcoin but rather other cryptocurrencies, since its missing an ASIC chip which is necessary for Bitcoin. "Instead, there are four motherboards, and four power supply units mounted to what looks like pieces of plywood. The blue cords are attached to powered risers, which are used to connect several GPUs to a single motherboard. In this case, each motherboard is outfitted to run 4 GPUs,” writes Oberhaus.
News of the rig was first reported on EcoMotoring News.