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.