Chia (without accent, not to be confused with the popular chia seeds, from the Hispanic sage) is a cryptocurrency that has recently started to gain some popularity. A recognition that, as a collateral effect, It can cause you to have a hard time the next time you want to change PCs or expand the one you already have. And no, I know what you’re thinking and I’m not talking about the graphics card shortage due to miners. No, I am talking about the possibilities of buying an HDD or an SSD.
Storage for cryptocurrencies? You are right. When Bram Cohen, the creator of BitTorrent, went to work to create a cryptocurrency, one of the objectives that he set was to make it more ecological than the existing ones. His goal was that Chia did not entail such a high electricity consumption like Bitcoin, Ethereum and company. Energy efficiency is the great challenge of cryptocurrencies in the medium and long term, so, on paper, chia seemed like a good idea.
With Chia a new consensus system is established called Proof of Space and Time (PoST), which comes to replace the existing Proof of Stake (PoS) and Proof of Work (PoW). PoST is actually divided into proof of space and proof of time, and surely at this point you already begin to imagine where the shots go, right?
Indeed, Proof of Space takes advantage of unused disk space and rewards empty space owners for “cultivating” new blocks. The intensive use of the GPU is over (which does have harmful effects on the life of it, although some insist on denying it). Instead, with Chia, you only have to share part of the free space on your storage units to eventually get your cryptocurrencies.
On paper it is an excellent model, it works well and, indeed, substantially reduces electricity consumption associated with cryptocurrencies, thus opening the door to others that may appear in the future and that make cyber currencies and blockchains much more energy efficient speaking. And yet, despite the good looks Chia looks like, we just need to add an N to her name and problems start to arise. Obviously I’m talking about Chi (n) a.
As we can read in HKEPC (in Chinese), cyberminers have started a massive purchase of HDD and SSD drives capacities between 4 and 18 terabytes, first causing an increase in your prices of up to 300% and of course a significant shortage of them. Although SSDs have also been hit hard, the greatest demand is on high-speed HDDs, better suited to the way Chia works, due to the high volume of associated read and write operations.
At this point it is important to note that Chia still does not have official recognition in many markets, and that his future is unknown. The bet carried out by cyberminers is just that, a bet, even with the doubt whether Chia will finally become a successful cryptocurrency. And that should make us think that if now, which is still a possibility, the local market has already been affected by the increase in demand, this may have been the starting signal for a situation in which farms begin to proliferate. storage.
This makes even more sense in a context where purchasing graphics cards is increasingly difficult. If this market were able to fully satisfy the demand of miners and users, it is likely that Chia would be totally relegated, but now, with a market that (at least for now) does not experience the shortage that we do see in GPUs, mining using storage instead of processing power seems like a very tempting prospect, and that could translate into a boom in storage farms in the medium term.
So, if you are considering changing your PC or expanding your storage capacity in the medium term, it is best to keep an eye on Chia’s evolution, since its success can make things a little more difficult for you when it comes to do it.