TikTok guy mines Bitcoin at Starbucks ‘for free’ — still loses money

It's not clear how long they piggybacked the Starbucks power supply, so it's hard to say how much Bitcoin he mined while sipping his frappé.

On TikTok, a viral video details one Bitcoin miner’s quest for electricity: smuggling a miniature rig into Starbucks to siphon free power meant for phones and laptops.

Idan Abada’s mini Bitcoin machine is essentially a USB hub powering 10 NewPac USB Bitcoin miners (those are a thing, you can buy them on Amazon).

Each stick on the hub powers two ASIC chips (made by Bitmain). The lil rig is then plugged into a computer or laptop, which runs the Bitcoin mining software.

The clip has nearly raked in 3 million views for the channel, but commenters have been quick highlight the rig likely isn’t worth it without stealing re-appropriating Starbucks’ electricity.

Abada (who sells the mini miner) told CNBC, “it’s actually hard to make a profit out of [the mini miner] unless you have free electricity.”

Mini Bitcoin miner even loses money

Outside Starbucks, Abada says he generally runs the mini Bitcoin miner as part of a mining pool, in which other hopefuls combine computing power in search of regular profits.

In Abada’s home state of Los Angeles, electricity costs 22 cents per kilowatt-hour, meaning the $875 rig needs to work for around 220 days to break even at Bitcoin’s current price.

Larger Bitcoin mining operations run far more powerful machines and can often access cheaper electricity than the general public.

Abada often reviews hardware that fits into crypto mining operations.

The mini rig generates about 0.0002478 BTC ($9.60) per month. After factoring in energy costs and a 5% mining pool fee, Abada is left nearly $6 out of pocket.

Still, Abada posts regular videos demonstrating and reviewing cryptocurrency mining equipment, often for sale on his website.

“I now devote myself to teaching and helping beginners around the world to mine cryptocurrencies in their own homes,” he told reporters.

Frappé is the cost of Starbucks electricity

Abada does have a vested interest (his web store), but he’s relatively transparent about potential profit from rigs he sells.

For example, one custom machine featured in a recent TikTok cost close to $3,000. Adaba demonstrated the build earns a modest $16 per day.

As for the Starbucks gambit: it’s not clear how long Abada piggybacked Starbs’ power supply, so it’s hard to estimate the Bitcoin he mined while sipping his frappé.

Mini Bitcoin mining rig, meet macro

[Read more: Bitcoin mine causes glacial lake to ‘boil’ — that claim is lukewarm at best]

Although, his drink would’ve cost several times more than any crypto generated before they locked the doors at night. Abada did bring a re-usable cup (which often earns a discount).

In any case, the pursuit of free energy to mine crypto isn’t uncommon.

It often occurs at much larger scale and in illegal circumstances — like a Russian subway engineer who recently quit over stealing Metro power to mine crypto.

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