Tuesday, November 28, 2017

UPDATE—"Can You Mine Cryptocurrency With a Tesla? A Feasibility Study"

Following up on "Convergence: "Bitcoin Mining in Electric Vehicles Raises Other Questions" (TSLA)".

From Motherboard:
Cryptocurrencies have an energy problem. The entire Bitcoin network now uses more energy than all of Ireland, and a single Bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy your house uses in a week. Ethereum, the second most popular cryptocurrency, isn’t much better. This is bad news for the environment, but also for the miners who generate cryptocurrencies with massive amounts of computing power, which can rack up a huge electricity bill.

So, it’s no surprise that miners have sought the cheapest forms of electricity to maximize their profits from mining cryptocurrencies. 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.

Now at least one Tesla owner is getting a piece of the action by installing mining rigs in their trunk to take advantage of the free electricity provided to some Tesla owners—or so it seems.
The rig was initially reported on the blog Eco Motoring News, but as a cryptocurrency miner myself I was immediately skeptical. Let’s go down the rabbit hole together, shall we?

A member of the Facebook group Tesla Owners Worldwide posted a photo of their Tesla mining rig to the group after another member jokingly suggested someone should try to use a Tesla to power a Bitcoin mining rig.

Mining Bitcoin requires specialized computer chips (ASICs) that perform repetitive math problems millions of times per second to verify Bitcoin transactions on the network. Other cryptocurrencies are similar, but rather than using specialized computer hardware, these currencies can be mined with off-the-shelf GPUs, the same types of computer chips used by gamers.

Based on the picture posted to the Facebook group, the Tesla isn’t being used to mine Bitcoin—there are no ASIC chips. 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.

The GPUs are not connected to the risers in the picture, so it’s uncertain whether the person who posted it ever actually mined anything with their Tesla, or was just trying to get a laugh. As someone who has built and run a crappy Ethereum mining rig of their own, I’m skeptical about the feasibility of their plan....MORE
Also at Motherboard:
An Idiot’s Guide to Building an Ethereum Mining Rig