EVs & Mobility

This article was published on January 19, 2022

This car can (probably) mine crypto and we’re not sure that’s a good thing

Can a crypto mining car put Canada on the EV manufacturing map?


This car can (probably) mine crypto and we’re not sure that’s a good thing
Cate Lawrence
Story by

Cate Lawrence

Cate Lawrence is an Australian tech journo living in Berlin. She focuses on all things mobility: ebikes, autonomous vehicles, VTOL, smart ci Cate Lawrence is an Australian tech journo living in Berlin. She focuses on all things mobility: ebikes, autonomous vehicles, VTOL, smart cities, and the future of alternative energy sources like electric batteries, solar, and hydrogen.

The thing mobility and blockchain technology have in common are grandiose ideas that promise a lot, but don’t consistently deliver. So can a product that combines both overcome this? Canadian company, Daymak, believes it can.

Since 2002, Daymak has been the biggest distributor and developer of electric light vehicles in Canada. It has over 150 dealers, has sold more than 100,000 vehicles, and exports to 25 countries.

For reference, light electric vehicles refer to electric-powered transport like escooters, autocycles, and ebikes. But what we’re most interested in today is one of the company’s latest EVs: the Spiritus

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This promises crypto mining capabilities while it charges, as well as solar EV chargers that do the same thing.. I sat down with Aldo Baiocchi, president of the company, to find out more.

How does a crypto mining car work?

Aldo Baiocchi with a prototype of the Spiritus. Image source.

Spiritus is a three-wheel, two-seater electric car that rides a bit like a go-kart. It looks like a car at the front and an emotorbike from the back.

Cryptocurrency infrastructure called Daymak Nebula includes an onboard GPU embedded into the Spiritus dashboard. From here the owner can harvest crypto. There’s no information about whether the hardware includes an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit.)

A wallet called Nebula Wallet is accessible via an app where the car owner can collect mining profits, and pay/receive/stake cryptocurrencies. 

I asked Baiocchi why you’d want a crypto mining car. He shared:

Most people drive a car one hour a day, and the car is depreciating in front of you. And in our case, we want to use that spare time to mine crypto such as Ethereum. 

Spiritus comes with a load of features including Wi-Fi connectivity, wireless charging, and solar panels for additional charging. The vehicle comes in Deluxe ($22,995USD) and Ultimate ($149,000 USD) varieties. It offers a range of up to 480km — or 300 miles — and takes 2 to 4 hours to charge.

 

So how much money can you make?

Erm, not as much as you might think. According to Baiocchi:

We ran a test, and we got about $7USD and change per day. So that’s over $300 a month (€246), which is pretty good to put towards your lease payments of the car. 

This idea extends to using crypto as a payment with service platforms inside and outside the car. Baiocchi asserts:

We envision a future where your highway tolls, your parking, and your drive-thru order will be paid directly on the fly with crypto. The software platform can also handle your online bills and your banking in crypto. 

And if you think it sounds crazy, well, Daymak is also developing crypto mining capabilities for the roof of the Forus ebike.

What’s the integrity of a crypto mining car? 

I had a lot of questions and to be honest, I didn’t get a lot of answers. 

Ok, a prototype Spritus is live in the wild. But there’s no proof of concept as to the veracity of the crypto miner, as the patent is still pending. Yet the vehicle is expected to roll out commercially in 2023. 

Further, while dual-purpose charging sounds like a valid way to get the maximum juice out of your charging time, mining crypto seems somewhat antagonistic to the environmental aims of electric vehicles. 

Baiocchi was unable to  tell me the carbon footprint of the car, the crypto mining, or the cost in terms of energy expenditure, saying “it doesn’t cost much.”

I also wonder about the impact of crypto mining on battery degradation? 

Further, the volatility of the coins you’re mining may mean you have no profit for your efforts.

And of course, I can’t help wondering about the vulnerability of the car to cyberattacks.  

But plenty of people are convinced. Daymak’s launching 6 light electric vehicles simultaneously. The company launched six products simultaneously in 2022, securing over $1 billion in pre-order commitments. 

This includes over 26,000 Spritus pre-orders.  

The company is also working on a solution in response to the environmental impact of crypto mining.

Daymak also has a solution to the pain point of energy-draining crypto mining

It’s called CryptoSolarTree; the world’s first commercial, emission-free cryptocurrency mining solution. And like Spritus’ crypto mining, it’s patent-pending. So we have no idea if it works at scale.

crypto EV charging
Daymak’s concept for a crypto mining EV solar charger.

Each tree promises to be 5G-enabled, powered by solar and wind, and can generate up to 11 kW of renewable energy. It also serves alternative uses as an EV charging station, or backup electricity source for two days.

As well as running as an energy source, the company claims that the charge will also offer a water collection and purification system. 

Crypto-savvy consumers will also have the option of installing their own pre-existing mining rig, GPU or ASIC. But it’s unclear who will have access to these chargers or the logistics — so far the company’s target homeowners and retail businesses.

Will big ideas meet the road or thrive?

So there you have it, a company that thinks big. Baiocchi also told me that the company aims to build a manufacturing plant in Toronto, which will generate thousands of jobs, and plans a $20 million SPAC this year. 

If they pull all of these things off, Canada will be the world leader in car crypto mining.

 But will wireless charging work? How much crypto does a car need to mine to make a profit? Will we see CryptoSolar Trees in the local car parks of Tim Hortons? When can I buy a crypto mining ebike?

I have a lot of questions but very few answers. But if Elon Musk can think big, why can’t a Canadian car company think bigger about blockchain? I’m not confident, but I’m definitely interested. Grandiose ideas deserve at least that.

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