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Bittorrent Creator Bram Cohen’s Crypto Project Causes Hard Drive and SSD Shortages

On May 3, tokens from the Chia Network, a smart transaction blockchain created by Bittorrent creator Bram Cohen, will begin trading and transactions will be fully enabled. Rather than leveraging the proof-of-work consensus algorithm, Chia will use a model called proof-of-space that relies on storage. With Chia’s transactional launch pending, the project has caused shortages on demand for HDDs and SSDs.

Chia network fuels high-end HDD and SSD shortages

Bram Cohen, the inventor of popular torrenting app Bittorent, has created a cryptocurrency that is set to launch next month. Because Cohen is behind the Chia Project, the preliminary stages of the digital currency network have seen significant exposure since Chia’s announcement. Chia’s team believe the project can allow anyone to verify transactions without relying on “single-use hardware or a big electricity bill.”

Chia published the project Enterprise white paper in February 2021 and the mainnet launched on March 19. This allowed participants to start accessing farming rewards, but it also spurred the start of demand for hard drives and SSDs. Transactions will be enabled on May 3, and at that time, exchanges and brokerage services can allow people to trade chia tokens. The closer the transactional launch of the Chia network approaches, the greater the demand for storage components.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) Explain that there has been a major shortage in China when it comes to SSDs and HDDs. Chinese hard drive and SSD makers are selling out fast, and product prices have skyrocketed in secondary markets.

Bittorrent Creator Bram Cohen's Chia Sparks Crypto Project Causes Hard Drive and SSD Shortages
The Chia documentation states that “a Proof-of-Space protocol is a protocol in which: a verifier can send a challenge to a prover, and the prover can demonstrate to the verifier that the prover reserves a specific amount of storage space at this very moment. The space proof protocol has three elements: trace, prove/grow, and verify.”

Chinese e-commerce marketplaces like and Taobao have seen high-quality hard drive models sell out rapidly since the launch of Chia’s mainnet. A Taobao customer service agent saw the surge in demand and pointed out that the customers are chia miners.

“A lot of people have inquired about large hard drives for chia extraction in recent days,” the Taobao agent noted. The agent also explained that branded equipment from Western Digital and Seagate were experiencing shortages.

Bittorrent Creator Bram Cohen's Chia Sparks Crypto Project Causes Hard Drive and SSD Shortages
A visual explanation of the Chia Network’s Proof-of-Space Protocol.

On China’s Taobao and e-commerce platforms, several large-capacity enterprise hard drive models have sold out. A seller of HDDs and SSDs in Shenzhen, Qin, explained that in secondary markets, prices for such equipment can be up to 50% to 60% higher than retail prices. “You can also mine chia with 4TB hard drives, because we don’t have hard drives larger than 4TB in stock,” Qin pointed out.

“At peak times, prices were at least 60% higher than usual. The prices have come down a bit recently, but they are still around 50% (higher than normal) now,” detailed another vendor named Chen. The Chia network storage incentives have dramatically increased demand for storage products, and hard drives between 4TB and 18TB are seeing the highest demand.

Cohen’s Bittorrent Success Fueled Chia Hype

Aside from the hype emanating from creator Bram Cohen and the speculation forming within the crypto community, venture capitalists also seem interested in Cohen’s crypto. In 2018, Chia raised $3.4 million from Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz and Angellist’s Naval Ravikant.

Chia could also be a competitor to Ethereum as it has its own on-chain programming language called Chialispe. Cohen explained that smart transactions Chialispe will enable a range ranging from colored coin technology, atomic swaps, multi-signature wallets, recoverable wallets, authorized beneficiaries, etc.

Cohen’s previous project that cemented his fame, Bittorrent, was sold to Justin Sun and is now owned and operated by blockchain company Tron. The Bittorrent file-sharing operation was reportedly sold to Tron for $126 million in 2018.

Keywords in this story

2018, Andreessen Horowitz, Bitcoin, BitTorrent, Bram Cohen, Chia, Chia Network, Greylock, HDD, hard drives, justin sun, Naval Ravikant, PoW, Proof of Work, Proof of Spacetime, Proof of Storage, SSD, SSD, Storage, tron

What do you think of the surge in demand for HDDs and SSDs in the upcoming Chia Network transaction launch? Let us know what you think about this topic in the comments section below.

Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is the news manager for News and a fintech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He is passionate about Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written over 5,000 articles for News about disruptive protocols emerging today.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Chia documentation, Seagate,

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