Scaleway and Chia

Gaspard Plantrou
2 min read

The cloud is a world where a lot happens, every day, in an uncontrolled way, for the best, and sometimes for the worst.

The data storage market was preparing for the wave to hit, but it hit a lot harder than was perhaps expected.

Chia is a cryptocurrency based on Proof of Space.

In a nutshell, to actually get Chia coins, you need a Proof of Space. The more storage you own, the higher your odds of getting a Proof of Space, the more Chia coins you can make.

While Chia was originally meant to take advantage of unused storage space in your laptop, things are now getting out of hand. Farmers are acquiring all the storage available in the market to improve their chances of getting coins, and thus actual money.

The total amount of storage space used by Chia farmers to date can be seen below:

Source: Chia Explorer.

As you can see, (the scale is in Petabytes), the space used is growing uncontrollably, and has already reached 7 Exabytes.

Even though Chia is supposed to be “greener” than bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies based on Proof of Work (needing highly energy demanding computing resources), its network now represents a total of seven thousand Petabytes globally.

If you consider that one HDD is on average 8TB, Chia, as of today, consumes close to one million hard drives in the world. One million hard drives powered on, based on speculation, the price of a Chia coin.

As you can imagine, the HDD supply market is deeply impacted by this behavior, leading to price increases and extremely long, and out of control, lead times. Not to mention the pandemic that already had a significant impact on the price of components, and lead times. At some point, everyone will be impacted, as equipment prices are growing, from individuals buying a hard drive to store photos, to companies actually using the cloud to create backups or as a key asset for their business.

This cryptocurrency is a few months old, and at Scaleway, we are already witnessing the impact of Chia on all our products, from Object Storage and instances, to dedicated servers. Speculative farmers are forcing their way in to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible.

We need to monitor this trend carefully and assess the wear and tear that this intensive read & write activity imposes on hardware.

A cloud that makes sense

In order to service as many clients as possible, we have decided that from today:

  • Chia plotting is forbidden on all SSD and NVMe powered instances, dedicated servers, RPN-SAN, BMaaS and Block Storage services. Chia plotting is extremely I/O intensive and destroys most SSDs in under a few weeks
    Important notice: Chia plotting engages client responsibility according to Section 9 of our contract. We will bill clients for any SSDs and NVMes destroyed due to Chia plotting activities
  • Chia farming is allowed on all BMaaS, dedicated servers and Block Storage services without any restriction
  • Chia farming is allowed on Scaleway Object Storage providing prior request has been both made and authorized by our sales team
    Important notice: Chia farming on Scaleway Object Storage that occurs without prior authorization will be limited to 250TB and billed at €0.08 per GB

This is the first measure to be implemented at Scaleway, and we are carefully making sure that Chia will not have an impact on companies, entrepreneurs or start-ups that entrust us with delivering the best service possible.

Our IaaS, Trust & Safety and Excellence teams are working together to monitor activity around detrimental or abusive Chia plotting and farming to ensure that it does not affect the quality of our service for any other clients.

For further information please reach out to our Sales or Excellence teams.

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