While most of us are well aware that Ethereum mining, among other reasons, has led to a dearth of graphics cards, very soon we could see a shortage of storage components like hard disk drives and SSDs as well. According to a report by Hong Kong media outlet HKEPC, people there are starting to hoard large quantities of HDDs and SSDs to prepare for mining the new Chia crypto-coin that was released yesterday. The new coin has been developed by Bram Cohen, who is most famous for his Bit Torrent invention.
Chia, unlike coins like Ethereum, utilizes the "Proof of Space" cryptographic technique such that it uses unused storage space like that in HDDs and SSDs. As a result, prices for these components have started spiking by up to three times in Hong Kong, and if the rest of the world catches up to Chia, then we may see a global shortage and massive price surges of storage components as well. Currently, it seems that hard drives that have capacities of 4TB and more are the most in-demand there, which is obviously for the large amount of disk space that they can offer to miners.
However, there could be a brighter side to it. Chia's makers say that it is also more eco-friendly than some of the other coins. A Verifiable Delay Function (VDF) is implemented via its "Proof of time" mechanism that requires sequential computation, and simply throwing more parallel devices at it shouldn't reduce compute times. Hence this, the company says, could potentially lead to a lot of energy saved too.