Cryptocurrency mining is a growing field but it has always been in bad light for its high energy usage. A report by CNN says that Bitcoin (BTC) alone consumes 110 terawatt hours of electricity per year. For reference, that is about equal to the energy consumption of the country of Sweden for a year.
New players are coming up to solve this issue. Chia, a cryptocurrency created by BitTorrent founder Bram Cohen seeks to solve this conundrum by reducing the energy consumption of transaction verification. Rather than Bitcoin’s proof of work model, Chia uses a “proof of space and time” model. This model is much more energy efficient in that it utilizes the unused space on users’ hard drives. Mining is so simple and energy efficient, founder Bram Cohen says it can be done in a regular apartment. It’s as simple as downloading the software and allocating hard drive space.
Chia Network, a blockchain and smart transaction platform, published a white paper in February 2021 announcing its goal of making mining easier for individuals, letting them commit unused hard drive space to support its decentralized network.
The mainnet for mining Chia was launched on March 19 and within the last two months, the storage power that is mining on the network has surged to more than one exabytes, which equals to the storage volume of more than 1 million units of 1 TB hard drives.
With this surge some media outlet reported that as Chinese retail investors flock into Chia mining, the prices of various hard drive models have been surging with some by as much as a 100% premium in China. And though the market has plenty of hard drive supplies, some dealers and wholesalers appeared to have been hoarding stocks in order to flip on the prices.
Proof-of-spacetime (PoSt), is a protocol in that a storage miner proves that they are continuing to store a unique piece of data for the network for certain period of time to have a financial incentive.
In middle of all this Amazon China AWS website had a campaign running advertising about the platform that users can deploy a cloud-based storage system in as quickly as five minutes in order to mine Chia (XCH), the native cryptocurrency on the Chia network.
The campaign page also provides a quick tutorial on how to use its cloud services to generate Chia wallet addresses, create a plot and then start farming. It appears the service is specifically targeting at Chinese users as the campaign page is in simplified Chinese only.