If you want to save the world, it’s going to take a lot of hard drives.
Chia Network, which emerged onto the cryptocurrency scene with the promise of cleaning up the environmental mess left by Bitcoin (BTC) miners, may not be as green as it seems.
Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum and others, Chia Network mines coins using an alternative to the energy-intensive proof-of-work. CHIA coins are produced using only hard drive storage and mining them doesn’t require specialized ASIC hardware or GPUs.
But reports coming out of China suggest that saving the environment isn’t as easy as it sounds when it comes to crypto. According to local outlet Fast Technology, the shelf-life of a standard 512GB SSD would be worn out after just 40 days of continuous CHIA mining, based on a data write volume of 256 terabytes in that time period.
A 1TB hard drive would last around 80 days, while a 2TB hard drive would be expected to last around 160 days. Under normal conditions, such pieces of hardware would be expected to last the average customer around a decade.
Once a hard drive exceeds a certain data write volume, its consumer warranty protections become null and void. Hard drives typically ship with anywhere from three- to five-year warranties, yet CHIA mining could invalidate such warranties in just over a month.
Fast Technology reported that hard drive manufacturers have begun rewriting the terms of their warranty agreements to reflect the reality of their components being used in CHIA mining. When CHIA commenced trading in early May, Chinese retailers suffered a shortage of hard drives, which eventually pushed the cost of high-capacity drives (16TB) up to 6,000 yuan ($933).