Hard drive shortages could be driven by storage-based cryptocurrency

Posted:
in General Discussion
Cryptocurrency miners in China are allegedly buying as many hard drives and SSDs as they can for the storage-based Chia cryptocurrency, a gold rush that could eventually drive the cost of storage upgrades in an iPhone or Mac up in the future.




Gamers and computer users that rely on GPUs for tasks are currently dealing with a lack of supply for high-end graphics cards, driven by cryptocurrency miners buying all available stocks. However, one inbound cryptocurrency could cause similar issues for the storage market.

Chia is a cryptocurrency that aims to offer a more energy-efficient way to farm the currency, by relying on the presence of unused hard drive capacity on computers rather than GPU-based calculations. The more unused storage a miner offers to "farm" for the currency as part of the network, the more the participant earns.

The prospect of a greener cryptocurrency has apparently led to a run of the storage market. According to a report from HKEPC spotted byTom's Hardware, participants in China are already mass-purchasing high-capacity hard drives from 4TB to 18TB in size.

It is thought that the panic buying could lead to a drive shortage, which will make it both harder to get hold of high-capacity drives, and more expensive. This is similar to the issues of the high-end graphics card market, which has caused Nvidia to depreciate the mining capabilities as well as urging retailers to sell GPUs to home users as a priority over miners.

Due to the high number of read and write operations required for Chia, consumer hard drives and SSDs are not going to be targeted by miners, with enterprise-grade drives a more likely candidate for purchases. Some drive manufacturers are already taking the new drive buying patterns into account.

In the case of major Chinese domestic drive producer Jiahe Jinwei, its Gloway and Asgard 1TB and 2TB NVMe M.2 SSDs are already sold out, even though restrictions were put in place to prevent mass purchasing of consumer SSDs. The company will be increasing production to match demand, and is also said to be developing a specialized SSD specifically aimed at this sort of mining.

As a relatively new cryptocurrency, the increased demand for drives is relatively small for the moment, but the requirements of miners could grow over time if Chia gains more support. Eventually it could even reach a level where it impacts drive supplies to device producers, including Apple.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    pslicepslice Posts: 115member
    This sounds pretty dangerous. I hope we can get some governmental control to stop these “miners”. I want nothing to do with crypto, but I was looking forward to a new iMac. 😡
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 22
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,792member
    Cryptocurrency--even Chia--is horrible for the environment and good for money laundering. Another virus that needs to be extinguished.
    Philtkybaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 22
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,501member
    pslice said:
    This sounds pretty dangerous. I hope we can get some governmental control to stop these “miners”. I want nothing to do with crypto, but I was looking forward to a new iMac. 😡
    Cryptocurrancy
    NFT
    Anti Vaxxers

    In a few hundred years historians will look back on the beginning of this century as the Age of Stupid.
    baconstangmacpluspluswatto_cobraapplguyGeorgeBMactmaylarryjwrandominternetperson
  • Reply 4 of 22
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,705member
    cpsro said:
    Cryptocurrency--even Chia--is horrible for the environment and good for money laundering. Another virus that needs to be extinguished.
    Newer, non-blockchain cryptographic entities perform at vastly higher transaction rates for a fraction of the energy cost of Bitcoin or Ethereum (more cheaply than VISA for example). Some are emerging that also entail zero transaction costs. These are the future. (Disclaimer - I'm as strongly a believer in vaccines as anyone.)
  • Reply 5 of 22
    iqatedo said:
    cpsro said:
    Cryptocurrency--even Chia--is horrible for the environment and good for money laundering. Another virus that needs to be extinguished.
    Newer, non-blockchain cryptographic entities perform at vastly higher transaction rates for a fraction of the energy cost of Bitcoin or Ethereum (more cheaply than VISA for example). Some are emerging that also entail zero transaction costs. These are the future. (Disclaimer - I'm as strongly a believer in vaccines as anyone.)
    How do these systems ensure the validity of the transaction logs without blockchain? That would seem to indicate a need for a central authority, which the current cryptocurrency systems avoid.
  • Reply 6 of 22
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 882member
    iqatedo said:
    cpsro said:
    Cryptocurrency--even Chia--is horrible for the environment and good for money laundering. Another virus that needs to be extinguished.
    Newer, non-blockchain cryptographic entities perform at vastly higher transaction rates for a fraction of the energy cost of Bitcoin or Ethereum (more cheaply than VISA for example). Some are emerging that also entail zero transaction costs. These are the future. (Disclaimer - I'm as strongly a believer in vaccines as anyone.)
    No blockchain, no sale.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 650member
    China again? Fuck China. 
    watto_cobraApple-a-day
  • Reply 8 of 22
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,705member
    iqatedo said:
    cpsro said:
    Cryptocurrency--even Chia--is horrible for the environment and good for money laundering. Another virus that needs to be extinguished.
    Newer, non-blockchain cryptographic entities perform at vastly higher transaction rates for a fraction of the energy cost of Bitcoin or Ethereum (more cheaply than VISA for example). Some are emerging that also entail zero transaction costs. These are the future. (Disclaimer - I'm as strongly a believer in vaccines as anyone.)
    How do these systems ensure the validity of the transaction logs without blockchain? That would seem to indicate a need for a central authority, which the current cryptocurrency systems avoid.
    One method is through the use of a directed acyclic graph, which obviates the need for mining and for each node to keep a complete record of every block - 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directed_acyclic_graph.

    The crypto Iota uses this method - 

    https://www.iota.org

    Early days.
  • Reply 9 of 22
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,278member
    At one point, the U.S. did not have a currency.  Banks issued their own currency.
    The U.S. stepped in with currency backed by gold -- gold that was stored at Fort Knox and currency that (theoretically) could be exchanged for it.

    In the 40's, the world's world's countries pegged their currencies to the dollar -- that, in turn, was pegged to gold.
    Then, under Nixon, as the value of gold and the value of the dollar got further and further apart (Remember gold at $35/oz?) the gold standard was dropped and the dollar became backed by the "Full faith and credit of the United States".
    But since the U.S. is now paying its bills with (what used to be) massive amounts of printed money, one has to wonder how much that is worth.

    Is this cryptocurrency thing just another "Back to the future"?  Where did I park my DeLorean?

    But, anybody with their eyes open realizes that we now live as part of a global society:  we share products, innovations and viruses with each other.  Can the U.S. dollar continue to survive as the world's default currency despite the U.S.'s best efforts to undermine it?  And, if it can't then:
    -- What, if anything, will replace it?  Chia "dollars"?
    -- What happens to the U.S. if it can no longer hide its fiscal irresponsibility behind the world's default currency?
    edited April 18
  • Reply 10 of 22
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,501member
    At one point, the U.S. did not have a currency.  Banks issued their own currency.
    The U.S. stepped in with currency backed by gold -- gold that was stored at Fort Knox and currency that (theoretically) could be exchanged for it.

    In the 40's, the world's world's countries pegged their currencies to the dollar -- that, in turn, was pegged to gold.
    Then, under Nixon, as the value of gold and the value of the dollar got further and further apart (Remember gold at $35/oz?) the gold standard was dropped and the dollar became backed by the "Full faith and credit of the United States".
    But since the U.S. is now paying its bills with (what used to be) massive amounts of printed money, one has to wonder how much that is worth.

    Is this cryptocurrency thing just another "Back to the future"?  Where did I park my DeLorean?

    But, anybody with their eyes open realizes that we now live as part of a global society:  we share products, innovations and viruses with each other.  Can the U.S. dollar continue to survive as the world's default currency despite the U.S.'s best efforts to undermine it?  And, if it can't then:
    -- What, if anything, will replace it?  Chia "dollars"?
    -- What happens to the U.S. if it can no longer hide its fiscal irresponsibility behind the world's default currency?
    There's been a lot of talk over the last couple of decades about replacing the US$ as the worlds default currency. If that were to happen the value of the US$ would crash. It's being supported by the other major powers. It would be devastating for the US economy. If it is replaced though it would not be with a Cryptocurrency. The default unit of transaction needs above all to be stable. They would go with something backed by central banks and supported by the major world powers, something with a near fixed value.  It might have a blockchain built into it for security reasons, but it will NOT be the currant cryptocurrency, speculator heaven, lasses faire, structure that the current round of cryptos have. 
    GeorgeBMacbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 22
    DAalseth said: If it is replaced though it would not be with a Cryptocurrency. The default unit of transaction needs above all to be stable. They would go with something backed by central banks and supported by the major world powers, something with a near fixed value.
    Exactly. Stable value is the primary goal for currency, so crypto can't possibly be considered "currency" at all. Despite all the propaganda, it's not actually solving any problems related to currency.
    GeorgeBMacbaconstangwatto_cobrarandominternetperson
  • Reply 12 of 22
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,640member
    Fuck off cryptocurrency, and every psychopath who has anything to do with it.
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 22
    dr. xdr. x Posts: 268member
    crowley said:
    Fuck off cryptocurrency, and every psychopath who has anything to do with it.

    I feel that the blockchain technology is pretty cool. If we learn one thing it's that the blockchain could be used for good and for record keeping.
    baconstangiqatedowatto_cobraentropys
  • Reply 14 of 22
    doggonedoggone Posts: 276member
    This is another example that crytocurrencies are unsustainable.  The energy demands of running these servers are enormous and is now beginning  to contribute to the greenhouse effect.  This is only going to get worse.  As usual a few people will get rich and the rest of us will suffer.
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 22
    How woould verifying the availability of unused HDD space be tamper-proof? Wouldn't someone be able to hack the firmware to report much more free space than actually available?
    edited April 18 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 22
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,705member
    DAalseth said:
    At one point, the U.S. did not have a currency.  Banks issued their own currency.
    The U.S. stepped in with currency backed by gold -- gold that was stored at Fort Knox and currency that (theoretically) could be exchanged for it.

    In the 40's, the world's world's countries pegged their currencies to the dollar -- that, in turn, was pegged to gold.
    Then, under Nixon, as the value of gold and the value of the dollar got further and further apart (Remember gold at $35/oz?) the gold standard was dropped and the dollar became backed by the "Full faith and credit of the United States".
    But since the U.S. is now paying its bills with (what used to be) massive amounts of printed money, one has to wonder how much that is worth.

    Is this cryptocurrency thing just another "Back to the future"?  Where did I park my DeLorean?

    But, anybody with their eyes open realizes that we now live as part of a global society:  we share products, innovations and viruses with each other.  Can the U.S. dollar continue to survive as the world's default currency despite the U.S.'s best efforts to undermine it?  And, if it can't then:
    -- What, if anything, will replace it?  Chia "dollars"?
    -- What happens to the U.S. if it can no longer hide its fiscal irresponsibility behind the world's default currency?
    There's been a lot of talk over the last couple of decades about replacing the US$ as the worlds default currency. If that were to happen the value of the US$ would crash. It's being supported by the other major powers. It would be devastating for the US economy. If it is replaced though it would not be with a Cryptocurrency. The default unit of transaction needs above all to be stable. They would go with something backed by central banks and supported by the major world powers, something with a near fixed value.  It might have a blockchain built into it for security reasons, but it will NOT be the currant cryptocurrency, speculator heaven, lasses faire, structure that the current round of cryptos have. 
    There are attempts being made to develop what are called 'stable coins' which are asset backed and in cases, pegged to the US$. These seek to provide the advantages of both being both backed by assets and cryptographically secure. They would not necessarily employ blockchains, rather other technologies such as directed acyclic graphs and therefore use vastly less power and other resources.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,888member
    dr. x said:
    crowley said:
    Fuck off cryptocurrency, and every psychopath who has anything to do with it.

    I feel that the blockchain technology is pretty cool. If we learn one thing it's that the blockchain could be used for good and for record keeping.
    Trouble is a lit of people do not differentiate between blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, which uses blockchain.
    edited April 19
  • Reply 18 of 22
    From the chia.net website:

    Chia Network develops a blockchain and smart transaction platform created by the inventor of BitTorrent, Bram Cohen. It implements the first new Nakamoto consensus algorithm since Bitcoin in 2008. Proofs of Space and Time replace energy intensive “proofs of work.”

    It remains to be seen if there will really be a long term shortage of hard drive devices, but the creators of Chia have commented that it would be very hard to put a dent in the global hard drive supply chain, and that the situation isn't similar to Nvidia/AMD's GPU shortages. 

    The website chiapower.org also has energy usage estimates. A quick summary of how it achieves the efficiency is: in Bitcoin, the fastest/luckiest miner wins the block. In Chia, you create a "plot" using similar crypto math, and that plot can be re-used and "farmed" repeatedly to win the block. This is secured using VDFs, aka presenting challenges based on the time and state of the blockchain. So it's about storing the most plots, not crunching numbers the fastest.

    I'm hopeful for this type of cryptocurrency to be successful and compete directly with the significantly more energy wasting efforts.
  • Reply 19 of 22
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,278member
    DAalseth said:
    At one point, the U.S. did not have a currency.  Banks issued their own currency.
    The U.S. stepped in with currency backed by gold -- gold that was stored at Fort Knox and currency that (theoretically) could be exchanged for it.

    In the 40's, the world's world's countries pegged their currencies to the dollar -- that, in turn, was pegged to gold.
    Then, under Nixon, as the value of gold and the value of the dollar got further and further apart (Remember gold at $35/oz?) the gold standard was dropped and the dollar became backed by the "Full faith and credit of the United States".
    But since the U.S. is now paying its bills with (what used to be) massive amounts of printed money, one has to wonder how much that is worth.

    Is this cryptocurrency thing just another "Back to the future"?  Where did I park my DeLorean?

    But, anybody with their eyes open realizes that we now live as part of a global society:  we share products, innovations and viruses with each other.  Can the U.S. dollar continue to survive as the world's default currency despite the U.S.'s best efforts to undermine it?  And, if it can't then:
    -- What, if anything, will replace it?  Chia "dollars"?
    -- What happens to the U.S. if it can no longer hide its fiscal irresponsibility behind the world's default currency?
    There's been a lot of talk over the last couple of decades about replacing the US$ as the worlds default currency. If that were to happen the value of the US$ would crash. It's being supported by the other major powers. It would be devastating for the US economy. If it is replaced though it would not be with a Cryptocurrency. The default unit of transaction needs above all to be stable. They would go with something backed by central banks and supported by the major world powers, something with a near fixed value.  It might have a blockchain built into it for security reasons, but it will NOT be the currant cryptocurrency, speculator heaven, lasses faire, structure that the current round of cryptos have. 
    Perhaps that is already underway with China who is dabbling and experimenting with it.  From Reuters:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    China may test its digital currency with foreign visitors at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

    "The PBOC began researching the digital yuan in 2014 and has recently launched a number of pilot projects around China which allow residents of cities including Shenzhen and Beijing to test the currency with retailers. The e-CNY is aimed at replacing cash and coins in circulation and boosting cashless payments in China. It is not a cryptocurrency and not designed like bitcoin.
    ...
    “For the internationalization of renminbi, we have said many times that it’s a natural process and our goal is not to replace (the) U.S. dollar or any other international currency,” Li said. “I think our goal is to allow the market to choose and to facilitate international trade and investment.”

    However, the PBOC is working with other central banks — including those from Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong — to explore the use of the digital yuan in cross-border trade.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    I suspect that that has something to do with the Chinese government crackdown on Alibaba and its ANT group:  Jack Ma was creating his own digital universe and, when he snubbed Chinese regulators they realized they needed to let him know he wasn't in charge.

    But, at the same time, this is probably not all that different from the movement in the U.S. towards digital everything.   Essentially I am already there:   I have not used a dollar or a coin in over a year now.   Everything I buy (and sell through EBay) is done electronically.   For example (and avoiding the obvious example of ApplePay), I'm currently selling something for my grandson on EBay.  When it is sold I will receive electronic payment via PayPal which I will then transfer electronically to one of my bank accounts.  I will then transfer those funds to my main checking account from which I will transfer the funds to his prepaid debit card -- which he will then spend -- again electronically.   Through all of that not a single physical dollar changed hands.



  • Reply 20 of 22
    normmnormm Posts: 634member
    DAalseth said:
    At one point, the U.S. did not have a currency.  Banks issued their own currency.
    The U.S. stepped in with currency backed by gold -- gold that was stored at Fort Knox and currency that (theoretically) could be exchanged for it.

    In the 40's, the world's world's countries pegged their currencies to the dollar -- that, in turn, was pegged to gold.
    Then, under Nixon, as the value of gold and the value of the dollar got further and further apart (Remember gold at $35/oz?) the gold standard was dropped and the dollar became backed by the "Full faith and credit of the United States".
    But since the U.S. is now paying its bills with (what used to be) massive amounts of printed money, one has to wonder how much that is worth.

    Is this cryptocurrency thing just another "Back to the future"?  Where did I park my DeLorean?

    But, anybody with their eyes open realizes that we now live as part of a global society:  we share products, innovations and viruses with each other.  Can the U.S. dollar continue to survive as the world's default currency despite the U.S.'s best efforts to undermine it?  And, if it can't then:
    -- What, if anything, will replace it?  Chia "dollars"?
    -- What happens to the U.S. if it can no longer hide its fiscal irresponsibility behind the world's default currency?
    There's been a lot of talk over the last couple of decades about replacing the US$ as the worlds default currency. If that were to happen the value of the US$ would crash. It's being supported by the other major powers. It would be devastating for the US economy. 
    I'm sorry but this is nonsense.  The benefit to the US of being the world reserve currency is probably about 0.1% of GDP, and related mostly to the use of US cash for illegal transactions. No reputable economist believes this matters.
    edited April 21
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