New Cryptocurrency Blooms Could Mean Hard Drive and SSD Shortages

Miners in China are reportedly snatching up every hard drive and SSD they can find in response to the emergence of the Chia cryptocurrency. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Chia cannot be mined using a CPU, graphics card, or ASIC miner. Instead, you have storage space for Chia, which is where hard drives or SSDs come in. Since Chia isn't yet officially available for trading, it's too soon to start stockpiling hard drives or SSDs.

Unlike Bitcoin, which is based on proof of work, Chia utilizes a proof of space and time model. Chia is said to be an eco-friendly cryptocurrency. Bram Cohen, best known as the creator of BitTorrent, developed Chia to take advantage of free storage space on storage devices. The idea behind Chia is that hard drives and SSDs use less fuel, are easier to find, and are less expensive to buy. In contrast, mining Ethereum or Bitcoin on a mass scale adds to the energy waste.

According to the HKEPC survey, miners are mass-purchasing hard drives with capacities ranging from 4TB to 18TB. Panic buying would eventually result in a hard drive shortage and price increases. Hard drive and SSD prices in Hong Kong are forecast to rise by 200 HKD to $600 HKD ($26 to $77). User SSDs aren't the best option for farming Chia because of the frequent read and write operations. Nothing is safe from miners when there is money to be made.

Jiahe Jinwei, one of the big domestic manufacturers in China, told media outlet MyDrivers that the company's Gloway and Asgard high-performance 1TB and 2TB NVMe M.2 SSDs are all sold out. The manufacturer intends to impose restrictions to prevent miners from purchasing massive quantities of consumer SSDs. Subsequently, the company will also increase production to meet the demand. Jiahe Jinwei appears to be working on a specialized SSD for mining operations.

Farming on a consumer SSD is possible, but serious miners would most likely look to the enterprise side. Endurance is as important as capacity and performance, and enterprise or data center SSDs typically meet all three of these requirements.

Many cryptocurrencies come and go, so it will be fascinating to see how Chia evolves. Nobody took Bitcoin seriously a few years ago, and now it's worth more than $62,000.

100 - 300 millios dollars of Nvidia Q4 revenue came from cyrpto miners

In its Q4 and Fiscal Year 2021 earnings update, Nvidia reported a record $5 billion in quarterly earnings, up 61 percent year-over-year, and net earnings of $1,475 billion. The gaming division of the company accounted for $2.5 billion of this revenue.

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Nvidia reports that crypto mining revenues amounted to between $100 million and $300 million. CFO Colette Kress says that this is the best estimate as it cannot reliably track the end-use of GPUs sold to card manufacturers, so the real number is likely to be higher. "We believe that the substantial increase in the Ethereum hash rate observed over the last few months has been powered by a combination of previously installed mining capacity that has been reactivated, as well as news sales of GPUs and ASICs," Kress said.

Nvidia has reduced the Ethereum mining capabilities of its upcoming RTX 3060 to make the card less enticing to miners. It is also hoping that the latest CMP line would help to ease Ampere's current availability issues. It expects CMP card sales to be worth $50 million in the first quarter of the year. The global chip shortage is still going to be a concern, of course, one that is expected to last until next year.

The business indicated that it doesn't plan to see another cryptocurrency crash as we saw in January 2018, when Bitcoin dropped by 65 percent in four weeks. "Cryptocurrencies have recently begun to be embraced by corporations and financial institutions and are showing increased signs of staying power," Kress added. "CMP products will allow us to gain some visibility in the contribution of crypto mining to our overall revenue."

CEO Jensen Huang says that if there's a crypto crash, we're not going to see second-hand graphics cards flood the market as we did last time, as most miners will hold on to their cards until prices rise again—at least that's what Nvidia hopes. If you buy an ex-mining card, expect it to have an impact on its gaming results. But maybe it just needs some maintenance to get the fps back.