Sunday, 17 December 2017

Is mining cryptocurrency in the boot of your electric car a good idea? No

An owner of the impressive Model S has posted an image of a cryptocurrency mining rig that is assembled in the boot of his electric car.
For those unaware, cryptocurrencies, particularly bitcoin, have experienced quite a boom this year. These cryptocurrencies rely on something called mining, which usually requires a number of computers to be hooked up and dedicated to solving millions of repetitive mathematic problems in order to verify transactions on a network. The result of these calculations then forms the basis of the currency that is then sold on and traded.

The mining process can draw quite a lot of power which is what leads miners to come up with increasingly ingenious ways of generating or sourcing electricity. This is how the boot of a Model S came to be filled with wires and computer parts; as Tesla owners who purchased their vehicle before January of last year get unlimited free electricity from Tesla's Supercharger units. Anyone who bought one after that date gets 400 free kilowatt hours per year.

So this story has all of the substance that creates a scenario that would be fun to explain to your Amish grandparents: "machines are making money in the boot of my electric car and it can drive itself around for free!".

However, could one essentially print money in the back of their car and drive around for free? Sadly, probably not yet. Calculations done by Motherboard show that the arrangement is flawed for a number of reasons. Firstly the system pictured would only be able to generate Ethereum as it lacks the ASIC chips needed for the mining of the more lucrative bitcoin currency. Overall, according to their calculations; the driver could generate $675 in Ethereum each month if the driver didn't drive the car or do anything else with it, if the Ethereum price didn't go any lower than $450, and if all of the driver's electricity was free.

With $675 the miner could pay for the monthly lease cost of the Model S, but not much else. In addition, all of these calculations were factored in without the initial cost of the mining machines. So this idea rests on a number of vulnerable assumptions.

If Ethereum had a huge surge in price in the future or if the rig was mining bitcoins this might make it more feasible, but until then it may be the case that this rig was placed as a joke. If it was, at least many people have scrutinized and explored the concept and perhaps quelled anyone's temptations to try it out for themselves.

source: motherboard.com

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