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Why it matters: New cryptocurrency Chia positions itself as an eco-friendly alternative to Bitcoin—which uses more energy each year than the whole of Sweden—thanks to its use of storage space rather than computing power. But its green-friendly credentials are looking shaky. Not only are we starting to see signs of HDD and SSD shortages, but it also vastly reduces the lifespan of these drives.
To recap, Chia uses a 'proof of space and time' model instead of 'proof of work' (Bitcoin) or 'proof of stake' (Etherium 2.0), which essentially means farmers—it prefers the term to mining/miners—can earn the currency by allocating their unused disk space.
While manufacturers are already experiencing a boost in sales, some, including Galax, advise buyers that using their products to farm Chia will void the warranties. Now, a new report reveals why.
According to Chinese site Fast Technology (via Hardware Times), constantly farming Chia on a 512GB SSD, which usually lasts anywhere from five to ten years, can reduce its life to just 40 days—the result of writing 256TB of data during that time.
Drives with more storage space last longer, but the wear and tear still significantly reduces their lifespans: a 1TB SSD lasts around 80 days, while Chia farming will kill a 2TB SSD in 160 days. While the make and model of these drives aren't specified, the report illustrates how quickly they can be worn out.
Chia's price since launching last week (CoinMarketCap)
The low price of SSDs means Chia framers could simply throw away their worn-out drives and buy new ones, which isn't exactly good for the environment. Alternatively, they could purchase an "ultra durable" NVMe SSD from TeamGroup designed for mining/farming crypto. It comes with a 12,000 TBW (terabytes written) endurance level and a 12-year warranty, but the $800 price (2TB model) is likely to put people off.
Chia hasn't had the best of times since it launched last Monday. XCH peaked at $1,800 per unit when it debuted but fell to around $600 a few days later. It has rebounded slightly and is now hovering around $1,100.
Image credit: P_galasso2289