SSDs And Hard Drives Could Be The Next Big Shortage If This Cryptocurrency Takes Off
Sunday, April 18, 2021, 12:15 PM EDT
As of late, there has been a run on graphics cards due to cryptocurrency miners looking to cash in on mining for whatever coin that is the new hotness on the market. However, the next crypto-driven shortage could very well be hard drives and SSDs with a new breed of cryptocurrencies that operate by "proof of space" and time using available drive storage space. While this is not necessarily a new idea, the technology has begun to take off and it seems will likely begin to spread worldwide.
In 2014, the pioneer of proof of space, also known as proof of capacity, was Burstcoin, created by an anonymous developer and now managed by several groups. They describe proof-of-capacity as an “energy efficient alternative to the proof-of-work model” that utilizes the space on one’s storage drive to save hash functions for later use in the mining process. Since the creation of Burstcoin, or Burst, there have been several implementations of proof of space, but a new coin called Chia that also employs the tech is taking off in China.
Though not officially listed for public trading, Chia coin has spurred Chinese crypto-miners into buying up HDDs and SSDs. According to reports from HKEPC, HDDs ranging from 4TB to 18TB have been bought out, driving prices up anywhere from HK$200 to HK$600 ($25 to $77). SSDs, on the other hand, are not great for mining as they would require many read and write cycles, shortening their lifespan, but panic buying of SSDs has already begun regardless.
Furthermore, since Chia is not publicly traded, the future of the coin is hard to predict. However, people are clearly interested as shown by the run on bulk PC storage. Perhaps we will see the same issues trickle over to the US eventually, as proof of capacity is eco-friendly, meaning it is cheap as far as electricity goes. The cost of powering both mining hardware (processors and GPUs) and their cooling solutions is one of the bigger drawbacks of mining cryptocurrency. This is why there are many crypto-farms in both the Middle East and colder regions of the world. Proof of capacity would eliminate both of those problems, so it would not be surprising to see people begin mining Chia in the US.
Whatever ends up happening, Chia will be interesting to watch as there is a lot of hype surrounding this cryptocurrency now. Whether or not it is a quality coin, people will want to hop on the bandwagon and either start mining or buying, therefore likely driving storage prices up. We're hopeful there will not be a shortage of storage as there is with GPUs, but only time will tell so stay tuned to HotHardware for updates.