At my age, it’s hard for me to keep up with the latest fads and trends, nor do they really capture my interest. However, the recent cryptocurrency phenomenon is different because it is something that piqued my interest. I didn’t know that there are so many cryptocurrency options, so I researched a few and have started to toe dip. This is probably because this cryptocurrency trend affects my professional field of work.
Cryptocurrency has generally been around since 2009, but the crypto craze reached another new height a couple of months ago with the launch of Chia cryptocurrency. Unlike previous cryptocurrencies, Chia Network has developed what they claim is a more cost-effective method to mine for cryptocurrency. Chia Network deploys a “proof of space and time” concept that takes advantage of storage space of (HDDs and SSDs) compared to “proof of work,” which is used by other cryptocurrency players and requires powerful processors and GPUs to constantly run intense computational algorithms to mine for coins.
Because of the Chia craze, HDD demand, especially high-capacity Nearline and desktop HDDs, has skyrocketed. IDC estimates that from March through June, the HDD industry has shipped over 1.0 million HDDs of upside demand for Chia farming¹. Using an average Nearline HDD capacity of 12TB, an additional 12 exabytes of HDD capacity shipped for intended application in Chia farming in just three months!
Equally amazing to the large amount of storage that shipped in the three months was that this milestone was reached with just 1 million HDDs. When I joined Toshiba a little over four years ago, the average capacity of a Nearline HDD was around 2TB. Today, the average capacity is closer to 10TB, and still climbing quickly. Just a few months ago, Toshiba announced an 18TB Nearline HDD using FC-MAMR. Rainer Kaese, Senior Manager of Toshiba Electronics Europe, told Blocks & Files that FC-MAMR gives Toshiba two more density increases from current HDD recording technology (https://blocksandfiles.com/2021/06/14/toshiba-disks-get-2-gen-leg-up-from-flux-control/).
With the non-stop job of managing customer requirements, the Chia factor has clearly added to HDD demand. I am proud to be a part of the Toshiba HDD team and regularly marvel at the incredible advancements our engineers are able develop and deliver for legacy markets and products as well as for ever-changing trends and fads. I don’t know what the next “fad” will be, but I do know I will always be part of the HDD “fad”.
1 IDC, Chia Cryptocurrency Farming is Real and Uses Lots of Storage, Doc # US47836321, June 2021
Toshiba defines a megabyte (MB) as 1,000,000 bytes, a gigabyte (GB) as 1,000,000,000 bytes and a terabyte (TB) as 1,000,000,000,000 bytes. A computer operating system, however, reports storage capacity using powers of 2 for the definition of 1GB = 230 = 1,073,741,824 bytes and therefore shows less storage capacity. Available storage capacity (including examples of various media files) will vary based on file size, formatting, settings, software and operating system, such as Microsoft Operating System and/or pre-installed software applications, or media content. Actual formatted capacity may vary.