BitTorrent Creator’s ‘Green’ Cryptocurrency Accused of Burning Through SSDs

BitTorrent Creator’s ‘Green’ Cryptocurrency Accused of Burning Through SSDs

Amidst increased scrutiny over Bitcoin’s environmental impact, following Tesla’s decision to stop accepting the cryptocurrency earlier this month and Elon Musk’s persistent meddling, purportedly eco-friendlier coins have drawn more of a spotlight.

Chia is one such cryptocurrency that has recently gained a lot more attention, and as the plant-inspired name suggests, it’s billed as a more environmentally sound alternative to Bitcoin. Instead of typical “Proof of Work” mining like in Bitcoin and Ethereum—which requires high-end computers to solve complex equations to earn coin rewards—Chia uses the excess storage in your computer.

The “Proof of Space and Time” consensus model requires “farmers” (miners) to “seed” spare hard drive space into “plots” of cryptographic numbers, all for the chance to earn a chunk of XCH cryptocurrency while securing the network. Cutesy names aside, Chia farming is essentially a storage-centric spin on crypto mining—one that doesn’t require ample amounts of energy or high-end graphics cards to operate. Ultimately, it works by filling up countless hard drives with useless data, and the more drive space you fill up, the more potential rewards the network hands out. This approach is supposed to be more environmentally friendly than Proof of Work because it doesn’t have the vast energy consumption demands of powerful GPUs or specialized mining rigs.

Chia Network aims to turn the XCH coin into a worldwide currency, and it has big backers who believe in the vision. Earlier this week, the firm announced that it raised $61 million in funding at a $500 million valuation, and Chia founder and CEO Bram Cohen—the original creator of BitTorrent—plans to take the company public.

However, there’s pushback to the idea that Chia is as “green” of a Bitcoin alternative as it claims to be. Recent reports suggest that Chia mining may wear out a basic consumer solid state drive (SSD) in a matter of weeks, due to the limited endurance of such hardware and the immense write demands of Chia’s farming model. As an ExtremeTech headline this week spelled out, “PSA: Mining Chia on an SSD Will Absolutely Wreck It in No Time Flat,” and German cloud storage provider Hetzner banned crypto mining this month after Chia demand surged.

“With Chia mining there is also the problem that the hard drives are extremely stressed by the many read and write processes and will therefore break,” Hetzner wrote on Twitter.

Chia’s network is growing at a rapid rate as more and more miners seed their plots, hitting 12 exabytes this week and growing nearly a full exabyte within a 24-hour span. “Creating plots at this rate burns up the equivalent of one 1TB Samsung Evo SSD every 3 seconds,” tweeted software engineer Rick Branson. “An exabyte is 125,000 8TB drives or $25,000,000 in Seagate USB drives.”  ReadMore

 

 

Source : vice

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