The Chia Network has stepped into the frame recently with a unique value proposition – less contribution of CO2 emissions. Chia Network – founded in 2017, has a key differentiator from other cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum – it is eco-friendly as it relies on empty computer storage space instead of computer servers for its process.
Nowadays, cryptocurrencies use “mining”, known as a “proof of work” system which requires the use of computers to solve complex mathematical puzzles in order to unlock new Bitcoin tokens. Chia goes one step beyond and uses “proof of space and time,” a method that relies on unused hard drive space.
Some like YouTuber der8auer have called into question the green credentuals of Chia and basically accused it of greenwashing a more or less standard crypto mining process.
Mining is an incredibly energy-intensive process. It was reported back in 2017 that a rise in Bitcoin purchases increased its energy consumption to approximately 30 terawatt-hours. That equals the energy usage of the entire country of Serbia and more than 19 other European countries.
Moreover, Elon Musk announced last week that Tesla will not accept Bitcoin anymore for vehicle purchases because of its high carbon footprint. That put some pressure on the price of cryptocurrencies that tumbled following the news.
A new sentiment in the corporate world also emerged – it made companies think twice about the environmental consequences before accepting cryptos. However, Musk did hint that other more eco-friendly currencies might be accepted.
The Chia Network is a candidate for a less energy-intensive currency. By utilizing proof of space and time, it uses free hard drive space for storage. It needs hard discs to house “plots” which are then awarded a number of blocks based on available space.
The process is said to be more energy-efficient than mining and minimizes electricity waste. According to Chia Network COO and president Gene Hoffman, it uses between 300 and 10,000 times less electricity for the same security level as proof of work.
Drawbacks Of The Chia Network
There are some drawbacks though regarding the new crypto. It wears out hard drives really fast and also raises their cost. A 512GB hard drive, for example, could be killed for just 40 days rather than its usual lifespan of around a decade reports Cointelegraph.
E-waste is also highly toxic as it contains heavy metals like lead and lithium. With increased consumption of hard drives, if they are disposed of improperly, they risk contaminating the environment and posing hazardous health threats.
Even though it proposed an alternative to energy-intensive mining, there are some underlying risks regarding Chia that need to be evaluated. It still boasts with considerable energy saving, so it’s gaining momentum and could have a fair shot of increasing in value in the near future.