Plotting and harvesting Chia cryptocurrancy for a more green crypto future?

My Chia farming setup

I have admit over the last 2 months I setup a cryptocurrancy rig in my flat. Now when most people think about cryptocurrancy they think of bitcoin and the absolute insane amount of power going into mining bitcoins. This is why when I saw Bram Cohen (creator of BitTorrent) talk about creating something different (proof of space+time) I was always interested. To be fair I since BitTorrent I’ve been watching what he’s been up to, Bram is just one of those serial entrepreneur I keep an eye on.

After hearing about Chia, I downloaded the Linux app and got it up and running on a old laptop I use for bits and bobs. I would have used one of my my Raspberry PIs if I had Ubuntu installed. I plugged in a external USB to SATA SSD which I was using to run my old Dell XPS13 work laptop, when the internal drive got screwed up. Then plugged in a old USB to SATA caddy/docking bay with one of my old 2TB mechanical hard drives from my old server (pre NAS).

My Chia plot

Then left it plotting and harvesting my 1 single plot for a month or so.

At the time, the estimated time to win a Chia was 8 months. As I had the laptop on doing other things all the time, it wasn’t a big deal for me. Actually removing my server and replacing it with the NAS, 2x Raspberry Pis and this laptopĀ  is actually less electricity than my single home made server with 7 drives and 4 fans. I hear most of you say wtf! I do have a lot of devices on in my flat and my electricity is high compared to typical single person but everything else (heating, water, etc) is low.

It was about 4-5 weeks when I was telling someone about Chia and noticed I had harvested 2 chia’s unbeknownst to me. To be clear I have 1 single 100gig plot and although I tried setting up 2 plots afterwards in parallel, I decided it was too much for my old laptop’s little quad core CPU and switched back to a single 100gig plot again (to be clear its more the parallel part which was the problem and CPU is only really used)

Chia CPU and Memory load in Htop

With all this in mind, I was introduced to the Reddit subthread for Chia, where I saw people building massive rigs to plot and harvest. Its quite insane and then hearing how Chia is being blamed for shortages in HDDs and SSDs. Of course why most people are interested in Chia (including myself) is the proof of space & time rather than proof of work. This realistically could be far more sustainable than proof of work models like Bitcoin. I say “could” because seeing these massive rigs seems to throw oil over the notion of Chia’s green attributes.

Although its tempted to add some more plots, I’m not going to change my setup because its sustainable for me. Little has changed on my network or on my physical desk. Getting in early was something very good but I got lucky with 2 Chia already.

Yesterday a friend mentioned Elon had tweeted about Tesla not taking Bitcoin for their electric cars.

I can’t say anything profound about Chia except I’m more than interested because its not just a speculated currency like Bitcoin. Although the price is super surprising for a new cryptocurrency. I said similar about Ethereum because of the smart contracts, NFTs and other things. The currency side is only slightly interesting while things like ChiaLisp for Identity spikes my interest.

My current Home server (explained)

So I finally bought a 2 terabyte (TB) western digital hard drive for my home server. I have about 7 TB’s over 6 hard drives. I’ve already explained what makes a home server and my frustrations over home server software. But never really gone into my setup.

I have 7 hard drives of varies sizes from 200gig to 1.5tb. Most of them are Western digital drives but I do have others such as Maxtor and Samsung hard drives. I tend to buy the slowest drives because realistically I’m only storing stuff on them and accessing them over samba (smb) or universal plug and play (upnp) on my lovely XBMC setup. So speed isn’t a major thing, in actually fact the faster the drive spins the hotter it gets and heat is a enemy when you got 6 drives all spinning together.

The weird thing is I’ve never had a hard drive fail on me yet.

I’m using a combination of old 133m/s udma/eide and the new 150m/s sata. I have 2 ide drives attached to the onboard Ide ports, 2 on board sata ports and a PCI to SATA adapter with 2 extra SATA ports and a ide port. The motherboard is a elitegroup 761-gx with a old 2.8ghz mobile Amd athlon which I got from the states quite a while ago (maybe 4 years ago). I’ve thought about changing it but I really don’t need the power for a home server. In actual fact 2.8ghz is well over power for what its doing.

I think one of the reasons why nothing has failed on me is because I use spinrite 6 every few months to check if the drives are running ok or in need of some TLC. I also don’t use any Raid solutions or even Lvm solutions, I was tempted to try Lvm but gave up on it a long time ago. If Raid supported odd size drives I might have considered it a long time ago but its not practical when you have so many different drives across different local buses.

I had considered getting drobo but there quite costly even the simplest version and they certainly hold there prices well. Even the ebay prices are close to the retail price.

Right now its much more efficient for me to build a home server because I have all the parts.

I expect I’ll consider going for a NAS because its a lot quieter and it just works, which means I won’t need to do much to it. However running a machine means you can do a lot more. I’m running Ubuntu 10.4 desktop edition on top of my server right now. I had considered switching to Ubuntu Server but I quite like having a gui. I also use Webmin to control the box remotely. Webmin is good but its not as powerful as I would like it to be. For example I’m considering moving my torrent app to the server but controlling it would be a issue.

Right now I’m moving most of the stuff to a couple of drives so I can shift over to Windows Home Server. I tried freenas and others but I think Microsoft have come up trumps with Windows Home Server. My only problem is the fact it prefers to be installed on a blank system so that means shifting all my data around on to a couple of drives then moving them away while I install windows. Shame I deleted all my photos in the conversion. Oh well, wish I still had upto date dvd backups.