Are SSDs the next target of cryptocurrency miners?

Posted on Monday, April 19 2021 @ 8:32 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
With cryptocurrencies trading near record highs, the demand for GPUs from miners remains sky high. This comes on top of a supply and demand situation that was already out of balance -- resulting in very little decently priced cards to be found for gamers. Now word is going around that the storage market may be heating up too.

Chia -- mining on storage devices

TweakTown pulls our attention to Chia, a new cryptocurrency invented by BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen. One of the big problems of most cryptocurrencies is that a ton of power is required for mining. This makes cryptocurrency mining polluting and it can also cause power grid issues in areas where mining is prevelant. Roughly two-thirds of mining is concentrated in China and University of Cambridge researchers estimate Bitcoin alone amounts for roughly 0.58 percent of global electricity consumption. It's more than countries like Norway and Argentina.

The energy issue is what prompted Cohen to search for an alternative. His coin doesn't use a proof of work model but a proof of space and time model. Chia mining is performed on storage devices like HDDs and SSDs. One of the advantages here is that far less power is consumed to mine Chia.

But as TweakTown reports, the side effect is that as Chia becomes more popular, miners are buying up HDDs and SSDs in bulk. In China, prices of storage disks are already spiking and it's getting harder to find product:
Jiahe Jinwei is one of the largest domestic manufacturers in China, and when speaking with MyDrivers the company said that their 1TB and 2TB high-performance NVMe SSDs are completely sold out. The company has now had to resort to stopping crypto miners from securing all of their consumer-focused SSDs -- also forcing the company to boost production in order to meet demand -- as well as a tease that Jiahe Jinwei is now making a crypto mining friendly SSD... uhhh.
If SSDs soon become a lot more expensive -- this could be the reason.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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