The popularity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin has resulted in shortages of graphics cards as miners buy them in bulk. Now a new cryptocurrency is set to create another component shortage, only this time it’s hard drives and SSDs that will be hard to find.
The new cryptocurrency is called Chia, and it was created by Bram Cohen (Chia Network), who is best known for developing the peer-to-peer BitTorrent protocol. As Tom’s Hardware reports, Chia uses a proof of space time model rather than Bitcoin’s proof of work model. That difference means Chia relies on storage rather than processing performance to mine, and it means a lot less wasted electricity in the process.
Although Chia isn’t being traded yet, prospective miners in China are preparing by purchasing as many hard drives and SSDs as they can afford, meaning all 4TB to 18TB drives are in high demand. Pricing is already expected to increase, and ultimately we are probably going to see shortages, unless manufacturers can react quickly enough to keep up. Performance SSDs are already selling out, and manufacturers are set to respond by both restricting sales to miners and increasing production where possible.
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In 2018, Chia raised $3.395 million in seed funding, which demonstrates how much interest there already is in the new cryptocurrency. Much of that interest is likely to be from investors who wish they’d seen the potential of Bitcoin early and invested heavily when it first appeared. The good news is that ultimately it will be the high-end enterprise drives that become the best way to mine Chia, so hopefully any impact on consumer models will be short-lived.
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