• Hard Drives are being snapped up by Chia farmers in Europe

  • Demand for HDDs and SSDs to farm the proof of space cryptocurrency has moved to Europe after generating hard drive shortages in Southeast Asia.

    Cryptocurrency with proof of space Prior to its release, Chia triggered a hard drive shortage throughout Southeast Asia. According to a report by research firm Context, hard drive sales are now increasing in Europe, and Chia is the main culprit.

    Gurvan Meyer, an analyst at Context, told IT journal The Register, “For sure it is Chia.” According to Context’s study on the European computer storage market, sales of enterprise-grade storage drives exceeding 10TB increased by 240 percent from the same period the previous year to 200,000 in April 2021. Sales of NAS consumer-grade HDDs increased by 167 percent year over year to 250,000.

    Sales of surveillance disk drives increased by 116% year over year to 200,000 units, despite the fact that “no single event in surveillance caused that surge,” according to Meyer.

    Despite the fact that economies are opening up and cloud companies are upgrading their infrastructure, Meyer credits Chia with the lion’s share of the hard drive surge. “It has taken everyone by surprise since Chia’s launch,” Meyer said, adding that he expects the market impact to be long-lasting. “Even Western Digital and Seagate had not anticipated such tremendous demand.”

    What exactly is Chia?

    Chia, a new cryptocurrency that purports to be more environmentally friendly than Bitcoin, is blamed for the global surge in computer storage sales. Chia employs a revolutionary “proof of space and time” methodology that relies on unused storage space, as opposed to Bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus process, which requires miners to run expensive computers to solve mathematical problems. Chia “farmers” stake out 100GB “plots” on their hard drives, which are loaded with hashes; when a new block is added to the blockchain, its hash is compared to the hashes on farmers’ drives, and the block reward is given to the closest match.

    Chia’s launch has sparked a rise in demand for the computer storage needed to farm the cryptocurrency, resulting in hard drive shortages in Southeast Asia ahead of the debut—and forcing hard drive manufacturers’ stock prices to skyrocket.

    Ethereum miners have grabbed up the GPUs necessary to mine the cryptocurrency, causing manufacturers to impose limits on their graphics cards, limiting their use for miners.

    Chia farming uses a lot less energy than Bitcoin mining, yet it still has an impact on the environment. It almost always necessitates the use of electricity, and some opponents have expressed fears that Chia farming could “ruin” computer storage.

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