• Siraj Raval was able to earn between $400 and $800 a month in 2021 by using his Tesla Model 3 to mine ethereum
  • He tweaked his Tesla's firmware, plugged GPUs into the car and ran a hashing algorithm
  • The logistics for the process checked out in theory, but some miners claimed it was "hardly worth it"

A cryptocurrency miner in San Francisco, California, has claimed that he was able to earn hundreds of dollars a month with the help of his electric car.

Siraj Raval claimed that he was netting up to $800 a month in 2021 by utilizing his 2018 Tesla Model 3 to mine ethereum, CNBC reported.

The process, dubbed "crypto mining," is an energy-intensive way of using machines around the world to contribute their computing power to a network, the "blockchain," to create new "coins" and/or validate transactions of existing ones, according to the outlet.

Raval, a self-proclaimed "YouTube educator," claimed that the most profitable way to mine involved "hijacking" his Tesla's internal firmware to allow for extra power usage before plugging in five GPUs to the car's electric battery and running the hashing algorithm for ethereum.

"It's a computer with wheels... It's so simple to hack into this computer car," said Raval, who claimed he was mining around 20 hours a day off of his Tesla's 75-kilowatt-hour battery.

This — plus a combination of staking his ethereum on cryptocurrency investment mining platform “Midas.Investments,” which offered Raval an annual percentage yield of 23% on his investment, never cashing out to the greenback, as well as buying GPUs from eBay to save money — meant he was able to earn anywhere between $400 to $800 a month over the course of 2021, he said.

Despite its alleged profitability, other Tesla drivers said such mining operations were "hardly worth it."

"Why would you want to put that kind of wear and tear on a $40,000 to $100,000 car?" Chris Allessi, another cryptocurrency miner, was quoted as saying.

Allessi, who is also known as K-Man on YouTube, attempted to mine bitcoin using his Tesla Model S by plugging a Bitmain Antminer S9 — a type of machine specifically used to mint the cryptocurrency — directly into the car's battery.

The “mining rig” was connected with the help of a power inverter, which adjusted the voltage of the Tesla’s battery to a level that was compatible with the machine.

However, he pointed out that though the value of the cryptocurrency has "gone up dramatically," the difficulty level of mining has also increased to the point where bitcoin worth $10 back in 2018 would only be worth between $1 or $2 now.

Meanwhile, crypto miner Thomas Sohmers said, "The best estimate I would have for the hash rate for the GPU in the Model 3 would be around [seven to 10 million hashes per second (MH/s)]. Currently, at 10 MH/s, that would generate revenue of about $13.38 worth of [ethereum], before any expenses."

Sohmers also claimed that Raval's hacking of his Tesla's battery was unnecessary as it was "already built to deliver over 100 kilowatts."

"Anything connecting to the car is going to be a fraction of that. There's no need to do what [Raval] says he's doing. It doesn’t make technical sense," Sohmers explained.

However, the logistics seemed to check out in theory, according to professional-grade miners.

"The mechanisms are all there. You have a power source, you have space, you have the ability to add cooling. There's certainly enough power provided by the battery to fire up [a miner] and run it," said Whit Gibbs, CEO and founder of bitcoin mining service provider Compass.

Raval, for his part, insisted that mining off his Tesla was not a gimmick and claimed that it was a part of his plan to make his car a "fully autonomous robotaxi" that can earn cryptocurrency when it was not being driven, according to the report.

"It will use its earnings, from both transportation services and cryptocurrency mining services, to pay for its own expenses, like repairs, electricity costs, and upgrades, as well as invest them into a diversified portfolio of emerging crypto-community networks," Raval said.

Bitcoin fell to its lowest level in a month as investors shifted out of the crytocurrency following the release of the Federal Reserve minutes
Bitcoin fell to its lowest level in a month as investors shifted out of the crytocurrency following the release of the Federal Reserve minutes AFP / Ozan KOSE