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Even 'Free' Chia Farming Wouldn't Be Profitable at Scale, Cloud Storage Provider Finds

farming

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Cloud storage and data backup company Backblaze published a blog post today outlining its search for the answer to a relatively simple question: Would it make sense for the company to farm the Chia cryptocurrency using the HDDs it keeps as a buffer to allow its cloud storage platform to scale quickly? Well, it turns out the answer is a resounding no.

The company said the online Chia Calculator initially put its weekly earnings at $250,000 before expenses. It also wouldn't have the same upfront costs as other wannabe Chia farmers because it could simply use the HDDs in its buffer to devote 150 petabytes to plots. Unfortunately, free storage space isn't the only factor at play.

Backblaze noted that creating a plot is an intensive task requiring "a multi-core processor with fast cores so you can make multiple plots at once (parallel plotting) and a high amount of RAM." Plotting is tough on drives too. The company said the process involves "about 1.8TB of reading and writing" to start.

Even if Backblaze wanted to purchase enterprise SSDs capable of handling that strain, that $250,000 weekly payout was based on the amount of storage devoted to the Chia network and the value of a single Chia coin (XCH) at the time of calculation. So it attempted to predict future earnings based on the network's expansion.

Backblaze's calculations assumed that it wouldn't have any operating costs and that XCH would be stable. Even those rose-tinted glasses couldn't make its findings look good. 

"If the Chia Netspace continued to grow at an exponential rate," the company said, "our farming income per week would be effectively 0 after 16 weeks."

Acknowledging that farming Chia at scale wouldn't be free even for a cloud storage provider didn't make the prospect seem much more attractive. 

"To quickly understand what costs would look like, we used our standard pricing of $5/TB/month as our effective 'cost' as it factors in our cost of goods sold, overheard and the additional work this effort would require," Backblaze explained.

"At $5/TB/month, 150PB costs $175,000 per week. Assuming exponential growth, our costs would exceed total expected income if we started farming any later than 7 weeks out from when we ran the analysis. Assuming constant growth, costs would exceed total expected income around week 28."

Even those projections were trying to be as favorable to the idea of farming Chia as possible. Backblaze said its calculations were based on the $584.60 opening price XCH had on June 8. "In the time since, it has dipped as low as $205.73 before increasing to $278.59 at the time of publishing," the company said.

All of which means that a cloud storage provider sitting on 150PB of storage couldn't turn a profit farming Chia on its own. That makes the introduction of pooling—which The Chia Network described as "lottery insurance"—seem less like a nice-to-have for collaboration-inclined Chia farmers and more like a must-have for profit seekers.

But the real kicker is that Backblaze will continue to offer the farm-in-the-cloud service its own estimates deemed unprofitable. 

"Farming Chia didn’t make sense for us," the company said, "but we love watching people experiment with storage."

  • RealBeast
    Hopefully, a lot of folks will read this -- Chia is tough on HDDs and SSDs and you'll surely lose money.
    And you will waste electricity to do it.
    Very bad idea.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    RealBeast said:
    Hopefully, a lot of folks will read this -- Chia is tough on HDDs and SSDs and you'll surely lose money.
    And you will waste electricity to do it.
    Very bad idea.
    It's not hard on hard drives at all which is why you can use any old drive you have lying around. It's only hard on the plotting drive.
    Reply
  • levidurfee
    Paying a monthly fee to store Chia plots isn't going to be profitable. They marketed their service as Chia friendly only to realize anyone who does it will not make money. You can only make money when you own the hard drives.

    "At $5/TB/month, 150PB costs $175,000 per week..."

    If I pay $20/TB, and keep plots on it for 5 years, it still only cost me $20 (plus a little electricity).
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    Stop wasting your (Time / Money / Electricity / Hardware) on Crypto.

    It ain't worth it.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    Stop wasting your (Time / Money / Electricity / Hardware) on Crypto.

    It ain't worth it.
    Ok, everybody, shut it all down. The self appointed spoke person for humanity has delivered his decree and determined everyone is wasting their time.

    I've been mining Ethereum only since February, and managed to pay off my 3090, 3070 plus the water blocks I bought for both of them with money to spare. Even after the significant drop in Ethereum prices I still generate about $500 a month after electricity costs to put towards hookers and drugs. There are plenty of people making far more than that, and all of us are doing pretty much nothing for that extra spending money. So until you have an equivalent alternative for people to turn to, you're just farting in the wind.
    Reply
  • Jim90
    spongiemaster said:
    Ok, everybody, shut it all down. The self appointed spoke person for humanity has delivered his decree and determined everyone is wasting their time.

    I've been mining Ethereum only since February, and managed to pay off my 3090, 3070 plus the water blocks I bought for both of them with money to spare. Even after the significant drop in Ethereum prices I still generate about $500 a month after electricity costs to put towards hookers and drugs. There are plenty of people making far more than that, and all of us are doing pretty much nothing for that extra spending money. So until you have an equivalent alternative for people to turn to, you're just farting in the wind.

    --> "Ok, everybody, shut it all down. The self appointed spoke person for humanity has delivered his decree and determined everyone is wasting their time."
    "So until you have an equivalent alternative for people to turn to, you're just farting in the wind."

    1. You know, every time someone has a valid opinion on this forum - from their own personal circumstances(!!) - that you loudly disagree with, you race to jump down their throat.

    So, let's examine what you said:-
    "I've been mining Ethereum only since February, and managed to pay off my 3090, 3070 plus the water blocks I bought for both of them with money to spare. "
    " Even after the significant drop in Ethereum prices I still generate about $500 a month after electricity costs "

    2. Now, given just how shockingly high the cost of your setup - "3090, 3070 plus the water block" - for the average consumer, please detail to us all just how you managed to do this - and "with money to spare"...?? Believe me, we'd all like to know.
    Reply
  • lvt
    Should I sell my WD and Seagate stocks now?
    Reply
  • Mandark
    Jim90 said:
    --> "Ok, everybody, shut it all down. The self appointed spoke person for humanity has delivered his decree and determined everyone is wasting their time."
    "So until you have an equivalent alternative for people to turn to, you're just farting in the wind."

    1. You know, every time someone has a valid opinion on this forum - from their own personal circumstances(!!) - that you loudly disagree with, you race to jump down their throat.

    So, let's examine what you said:-
    "I've been mining Ethereum only since February, and managed to pay off my 3090, 3070 plus the water blocks I bought for both of them with money to spare. "
    " Even after the significant drop in Ethereum prices I still generate about $500 a month after electricity costs "

    2. Now, given just how shockingly high the cost of your setup - "3090, 3070 plus the water block" - for the average consumer, please detail to us all just how you managed to do this - and "with money to spare"...?? Believe me, we'd all like to know.
    Yeah. Sounds suspicious
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Jim90 said:
    --> "Ok, everybody, shut it all down. The self appointed spoke person for humanity has delivered his decree and determined everyone is wasting their time."
    "So until you have an equivalent alternative for people to turn to, you're just farting in the wind."

    1. You know, every time someone has a valid opinion on this forum - from their own personal circumstances(!!) - that you loudly disagree with, you race to jump down their throat.

    Please elaborate how blanketly telling everyone to not do something and that they are all wasting their time with no further data to back that up qualifies as a valid opinion from their own experiences?

    So, let's examine what you said:-
    "I've been mining Ethereum only since February, and managed to pay off my 3090, 3070 plus the water blocks I bought for both of them with money to spare. "
    " Even after the significant drop in Ethereum prices I still generate about $500 a month after electricity costs "

    2. Now, given just how shockingly high the cost of your setup - "3090, 3070 plus the water block" - for the average consumer, please detail to us all just how you managed to do this - and "with money to spare"...?? Believe me, we'd all like to know.
    Considering you have no idea what I paid for my parts, how are you in a position to say it was "shockingly high?" You accuse me of jumping at people and then turn around and do the exact same thing. I already had a 2080 in my main machine under water. My original plan was to buy a 3080 at launch, but that didn't work out. I did end up landing a 3070FE I didn't really want on launch day from Best Buy for $386.09 shipped, including $140 in BB rewards. I ended up putting that card in my main PC and building a dedicated living room VR box with the 2080. EKWB water block for the 3070 was $229.75. That showed up in early February and at that point I started mining with the 2080 and the 3070. On launch day for the 3060 Ti, I bought a 3090FE from Best buy for $1040.31 shipped, this time including $530 in BB rewards. EKWB Special Edition water block was $372.05. That comes out to a grand total of $2028.20 for both cards and water blocks. Not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but not "shockingly high" either. 3090 went into my main machine, the 3070 was moved to the VR box, and I built another PC from old parts lying around to put the 2080 in to continue mining. Just to cover the $2000 total would have needed only $400 a month since February or about $13 day. When Ethereum peaked I was mining close to $50 a day. Like I said, I've covered those costs and then some.

    Those are my personal experiences, with the numbers to back it up. But go ahead and tell me I have to agree with everyone else's personal experiences while you completely dismiss mine, hypocrite.
    Reply
  • Jim90
    spongiemaster said:
    Please elaborate how blanketly telling everyone to not do something and that they are all wasting their time with no further data to back that up qualifies as a valid opinion from their own experiences?
    Unfortunately, it’s painfully obvious from your reply that if I told you, you wouldn’t understand - so I won’t waste my time!

    spongiemaster said:
    Considering you have no idea what I paid for my parts, how are you in a position to say it was "shockingly high?" You accuse me of jumping at people and then turn around and do the exact same thing. I already had a 2080 in my main machine under water. My original plan was to buy a 3080 at launch, but that didn't work out. I did end up landing a 3070FE I didn't really want on launch day from Best Buy for $386.09 shipped, including $140 in BB rewards. I ended up putting that card in my main PC and building a dedicated living room VR box with the 2080. EKWB water block for the 3070 was $229.75. That showed up in early February and at that point I started mining with the 2080 and the 3070. On launch day for the 3060 Ti, I bought a 3090FE from Best buy for $1040.31 shipped, this time including $530 in BB rewards. EKWB Special Edition water block was $372.05. That comes out to a grand total of $2028.20 for both cards and water blocks. Not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but not "shockingly high" either. 3090 went into my main machine, the 3070 was moved to the VR box, and I built another PC from old parts lying around to put the 2080 in to continue mining. Just to cover the $2000 total would have needed only $400 a month since February or about $13 day. When Ethereum peaked I was mining close to $50 a day. Like I said, I've covered those costs and then some.

    Those are my personal experiences, with the numbers to back it up. But go ahead and tell me I have to agree with everyone else's personal experiences while you completely dismiss mine, hypocrite.

    You do know you’ve just dug yourself into an even larger hole…!!

    But, and unfortunately, given the context of your posts, in general, – and this one in particular, you’re clearly a long way from being equipped to understand that, too. A sad state of affairs indeed.
    Reply