One innovative Tesla owner has found a unique way to utilize his electric car beyond driving purposes, using the car’s internal battery to mine bitcoin.
Siraj Raval told CNBC he runs free bitcoin software on his Apple computer which he then powers through plugging into his 2018 Tesla Model 3. He also powers interconnected graphics processing units to the front trunk of his Tesla, known as the “frunk.”
By powering his bitcoin software through his Tesla, Raval told CNBC he made as much as $800 a month last year. He has only tried mining for ethereum and bitcoin.
Mining for cryptocurrency is considered an energy-intensive process, as it requires machines around the world to contribute their computing power to the overall crypto network, which then creates new coins and validates transactions of existing tokens, according to an analysis by CNBC.
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Raval said he has profited the most from a mixture of hacking into Tesla’s internal computer and plugging interconnected graphics processing units directly into the car’s electric motor, which he described as essentially hijacking the car’s internal firmware to allow for extra power usage.
“It’s a computer with wheels…It’s so simple to hack into this computer car,” said Raval.
The benefits Tesla cars offer to mine cryptocurrency may be limited, as it can risk voiding the car’s warranty. Some Tesla owners who purchased cars before 2017 were grandfathered into a plan where owners have free and unlimited supercharging for the life of their vehicle.
Some Tesla owners say, even with unlimited supercharging, using the cars to mine for cryptocurrency isn’t efficient.
Chris Allessi, known as K-man on his YouTube Channel and who builds custom electric cars in his free time, told CNBC that, “why would you want to put that kind of wear and tear on a $40,000 to $100,000 car? And right now, even though the price for bitcoin has gone up dramatically, so has the difficulty level…In the same amount of time with the exact same equipment, I’m probably looking at $1 or $2 worth of bitcoin.”