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News hardware & software 20 April 2021, 23:04

author: Przemyslaw Dygas

New Cryptocurrency Could Cause More PC Component Shortages

It turns out that the new cryptocurrency known as Chia may affect the availability and increase prices of other PC components. This time it would affect HDDs and SSDs.

IN A NUTSHELL:
  • A new cryptocurrency could lead to HDD and SSD shortages;
  • Chia is gaining popularity in China, where hardware shortages have already begun to affect the market;
  • Some manufacturers are going to put restrictions on sales to prevent the problem.

Cryptocurrencies can affect the computer components market in a very negative way. They are responsible not only for price increases and shortages of GPUs, but also a new phenomenon of recall fraud used by the local retailers. It turns out that the same problems may soon affect the HDD and SSD market. All because of the emergence of a new type of cryptocurrency.

Chia, as it is called, works in a completely different way than the popular Bitcoin or Ethereum. To mine it, we don't need graphics cards and ASIC miners. Instead, it uses HDD and SSD memory. It is based on an algorithm called Proof of Space and Time and is much more environmentally friendly than the aforementioned BTC and ETH, because the mining process doesn not involve such high electricity consumption.

The idea seems laudable, but it could lead to more problems. The Chinese website HKEPC reported that some "miners" have already started buying up the components en masse, specifically HDDs with capacities of 4-18 TB. This quickly led to local shortages. This applies not only to HDDs, but also to solid-state media for servers, although the Chinese market has even seen a sell-out of high-performance consumer NVMe M.2 SSDs with capacities of 1-2 TB. Because of this, prices are expected to increase up to three times.

Major Chinese memory manufacturer Jiahe Jinwei also addressed the situation. In an interview with MyDrivers, a representative of the company confessed that the two most efficient models of drives that were in their offer were sold out. He also informed that restrictions are already being planned to stop people from buying up large numbers of drives at once. At the same time, the company is working on increasing its production to meet the increasing demand.

For now, the problem can be considered a local inconvenience. There is a shortage of drives only in certain areas of China. The same can be said about their prices. If Chia's popularity grows, however, this situation may spread to other markets. So it is possible that in some time the shortages and price increases will also affect users in Europe and America.

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