Chia, a cryptocurrency aimed at producing fewer emissions than Bitcoin, has been criticized for creating electronic waste. Against the background of increased attention to the impact of Bitcoin on the environment, and after Tesla’s decision to stop accepting cryptocurrency, more environmentally friendly coins in comparison with Bitcoin have attracted a lot of attention.

Chia is one of the eco-friendly cryptocurrencies, according to the creators, it is declared an environmentally safe alternative to Bitcoin. Instead of the outdated “Proof of Work” mining, as in Bitcoin and Ethereum, which requires high-end computers to solve complex equations, Chia uses excess storage in the computer to get a reward for work.

The consensus model used by the Chia blockchain “Proof of Space at time” requires that “farmers” (miners) “sow” free space on the hard disk into “sections” of cryptographic numbers. To ensure transactions and protect the network, receiving Chia (XCH) rewards for the work done. Chia farming is a storage-oriented crypto mining that does not require enough energy or high-end video cards to work. Ultimately, farming works by filling countless hard drives with data, and the more disk space is filled, the more potential rewards the network distributes. It is assumed that this approach is more environmentally friendly than Proof of Work because it does not require huge power consumption of powerful GPUs or specialized mining installations.

The Chia network aims to turn the XCH coin into a global currency, and it has many supporters who share this desire. Earlier, the company announced that it had raised
$61 million in funding, and Chia founder and CEO Bram Cohen, the original creator of BitTorrent, plans to make the company public.

However, there are references to the idea that Chia is unjustifiably considered a “green” alternative to bitcoin, as stated in the company’s documents. Reports indicate that Chia mining accelerates the wear of the basic consumer solid-state drive (SSD) up to several weeks due to the limited durability of such equipment (a limited number of rewrite cycles) and the huge write requirements in the Chia farming model. The ExtremeTech publication about Chia: “PPSA: Mining Chia on an SSD Will Absolutely Wreck It in No Time Flat”, and the German cloud storage provider Hetzner banned crypto mining after the demand for Chia increased.

Chia is potentially leading to a e-waste disaster.

The Chia network is growing rapidly as more and more miners are seeding their plots, reaching 28 exabytes this week and increasing by an exabyte within 24 hours. “Creating graphs at this speed burns the equivalent of one 1TB Samsung Evo SSD every 3 seconds,” tweeted software engineer Rick Branson. “An exabyte is 125,000 disks with a capacity of 8 TB or $ 25 million in Seagate USB drives.”

The Guardian reported that Chia is being blamed for rising prices for solid-state drives, which are in high demand for devices such as the constantly scarce PS5. This is similar to how in recent years it has been difficult to purchase high-quality video cards or GPUs due to its use in Bitcoin and Ethereum mining.

As the demand for mining increases, it has become difficult for an individual Chia user to receive any rewards, similar to Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies using the Proof of Work algorithm. Currently, Chia does not support mining pools that allow users to join together to receive a share of rewards, although this feature is expected to appear soon.

“Chia published its basic farming guide in February 2021 and explicitly warned farmers to limit the number of plots they create that use internal/consumer-grade SSDs as temporary space since SSDs have very different service lives,” the statement said.

Bitcoin supporters are skeptical about Chia’s eco-friendly positioning. ”Chia is seriously going to deliver a giant blow to the entire industry,” wrote Castle Island Ventures partner Nick Carter on Twitter, commenting on a graph showing the growing use of the Chia network.

The positioning of Chia as an environmentally friendly cryptocurrency has led it to conflict with coins on PoW, but if the extraction of Chia causes a significant increase in spent SDD and HDD, this will affect the entire crypto market, which is already suffering from a significant impact on the environment. However, coins based on the PoS algorithm, such as QRAX, produce 99% less waste than PoW, and at the same time do not consume SSD and HDD resources, which makes them more environmentally friendly coins than Chia.