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Friday, April 23, 2021

Chia Cryptocurrency

Hard Drives

Tom's Hardware has a story about how Chia Cryptocurrency enthusiasts are causing a shortage of high capacity hard drives. Near as I can make out, it works something like Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in that you get paid when you deliver a magic number that somehow certifies a block of transactions. Remember, all these blocks of transactions are simply anonymous financial ledgers. You can see all the transactions, but the 'who' is just a number, numbers that are only know to their owners.

Anyway, whenever one of these blocks of transactions gets filled up, it needs a magic number to certify it. Blockchain uses a mathematical formula, but it's a one way formula. The result needs to meet certain criteria. To meet those criteria, you need to feed it a fudge factor. You give the formula a fudge factor, compute the answer and if it meets the requirements you're done. More likely it won't, so you need to run it again with a different fudge factor. It might take you a zillion tries before you get a satisfactory result and by that time someone else has probably already got the answer and collected the reward. This scheme is called proof of work and resulted in the shortage of high end GPU's (Graphics Processing Units, i.e. video cards) and the consumption of zillions of kilowatts of electricity.

This new scheme, Chia, uses proof of space (as opposed to proof of work). Near as I can tell, Chia miners fill up the unused space on their hard drives with magic numbers and whenever a new block of transactions needs a magic number, they look on their hard drive for a matching one. Whoever gets closest wins. If the  numbers are as large as I imagine, there isn't enough space in the universe to hold them all. There is certainly some arcane computing involved as well. Anyway, the guy with the most storage space is most likely to win.

Idiotic schemes seem to be proliferating. Ponzi schemes, cryptocurrency and MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) are all garbage in my book. 

I do wonder how many people are actually working on cryptocurrency mining. I think what we have is a more computer savvy people than we have legitimate work and the surplus are finding their way into various illegitimate schemes, like crypto, ransomware, credit card fraud and straight up hacking.

Via Indy Tom.

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