The buzz around bitcoin is bigger than ever as the value of the cryptocurrency surged to $10,000 – making the entire value of the market worth over $170 billion.
Now the bitcoin world is even encroaching in the Tesla world as a Model S owner built a cryptocurrency mining rig in his electric car.
For those not familiar with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, they require crowdsourced computing power to process transactions and maintain the blockchain, which acts as a ledger of the entire currency.
People who contribute to that computing power are called “miners” and they are compensated with the same cryptocurrency.
At the core of it, it comes down to computing hardware and electricity. You want to maintain those costs as low as possible in order to keep your mining profitable.
For those reasons, people are often suggesting that the powerful Autopilot computer in Tesla’s vehicles could be used to mine bitcoins when it’s not being used by the Autopilot system.
But that would require Tesla to enable access to that computer and I think most people would agree that it is better left to be used by the Autopilot, which powers some important active safety features.
Now a member of the Tesla Owner Worldwide group on Facebook jokingly suggested using the electricity aspect of Tesla’s vehicles instead of the computing power.
Another member of the forum took it more seriously and built a mining rig to fit the back of his Model S (picture credit: Michael Pearson):
Now that’s a setup for GPUs (though the GPUs are not installed) and therefore, it’s not likely to be used for bitcoins, but it could be used for other cryptocurrencies.
What advantages this setup would have to offer over a regular in-home mining rig? It’s not clear really.
The idea was suggested in order to use the free access to electricity with the Supercharger network. Technically, if someone is able to draw power from the Tesla to power those mining systems, which is what this owner is claiming though it’s not clear how he is drawing the 2.8 kW of power required from battery, they could only use free energy if their Tesla falls under the unlimited free Supercharging program, which represents most Model S and Model X vehicles.
Of course, that presents its own issues. Ethically, it’s not what the Supercharger network is meant to power and therefore, some might find issue with people using it to power mining rigs instead of long distance driving.
Also, it would require an increased use of the battery pack, which is not good for durability.
Finally, that rig would create a lot of heat inside the Model S. Aside for preheating your car while making a few bucks, it’s not clear what use someone would have for that heat. Aside from the free power, which again has its own drawbacks, the setup doesn’t really offer many advantages.
What do you think? A cool but useless experiment or a project with potential? Let us know in the comment section below.