The green cryptocurrency Chia is an eco-friendly alternative to Bitcoin: Here’s how it works?

Chia Image credits: Gorev Evgenii/ Shutterstock

A few days back, Elon Musk said that Tesla suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin due to concern over climate change. Post Musk’s tweet, Bitcoin fell by more than 10% and Tesla shares dipped too. 

In a tweet, Elon Musk said, “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emission of any fuel.”

According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Bitcoin uses more energy than entire countries such as Sweden and Malaysia. 

He added, “We are looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction.” This has paved the way for green digital coins to make their rise. 

Meet Chia

Meet Chia, the green, eco-friendly cryptocurrency. Why is that? In this case, many cryptocurrencies follow a practice adopted by Bitcoin called ‘mining,’ to create a new token. 

Known as ‘Proof of Work,’ mining requires expensive single-use hardware that consumes exorbitant amounts of electricity. 

Whereas, Chia uses “Proof of Space and Time,” created by Bram Cohen, the network protocol engineer and the inventor of BitTorrent. The concept Proof of Space requires users to use empty hard drives to house the coin based on how much space is available. 

In official terms, “Users of the Chia blockchain will “seed” unused space on their hard-disk drive by installing software which stores a collection of cryptographic numbers on the disk into plots.” These users are called farmers. 

Can you farm?

According to Chia, you can farm the coin on the unused storage of your laptop, desktop, or corporate network. In return, you will receive rewards in chia for helping secure the blockchain.

Chia’s software allows you to allocate a certain amount of unused disk space to create plots. Since the only resource-intensive step is the initial plotting, once you download the Chia node software, your drives will be plotted in the background. 

Once plotting is complete, your computer will begin farming on your behalf, and the software does all the work and tracks your rewards for you. 

Is Chia environmentally-friendly?

Alex de Vries, of Digiconomist, told The Telegraph,Chia’s proof of space uses a lot of hard drives. They might reduce the need for energy, but they still have a waste of literal hard drives. They are pushing up the demand for these drives, which break down very fast when you use them for mining. It’s an e-waste issue.”

According to reports from China, continuous Chia farming is resulting in the shelf life of 512GB hard drives being reduced to just 40 days from 10 years. This farming results in the voiding of all warranty on the hard drives, which at last ends up as unusable e-waste. At present, around 3 million TB of hard disc space is being used to farm Chia. 

Chai has become popular in countries like China and Vietnam, causing hard drive shortages and driving up prices. Analyst Joseph Moore says Chia farmers have already purchased approximately 10 exabytes of storage disks.

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