Exclusive: Seagate investigates crypto-specific hard drives

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The rise of storage-based cryptocurrency China caused an increase in hard drives with high capacities, aggravating supply problems and creating new ones. One market player has noticed.

Seagate, the storage hardware company, said in an email Q&A to TechRadar Pro it is closely monitoring this space with a view to potentially launching a new line of purpose-built drives.

Jason M. Feist of Seagate’s new product arm stated that it is possible to develop storage products specifically for crypto purposes.

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Feist stated that he was unable to provide concrete information, but said that the company was still “exploring this opportunity” as well as being open to other possibilities.

Storage-based cryptocurrency

The Chia network doesn’t use the same energy as Bitcoin, which is very energy-intensive and pits miners against each other. It works under proof of space. This is how so-called “farmers”, (notice deliberate differences in terminology), create storage space for cryptographic figures called plots.

“Farmers will be able to scan their plots when blockchain broadcasts a challenge to the next block. This challenge will help them find the hash closest. The likelihood that a farmer will win blocks depends on how much space they have compared to other members of the network.” Chia’s website explains.

Even though proof of space isn’t enough to negate the need for computation-based mining, many believe that the enthusiasm surrounding China caused shortages across the country. Also, reports suggest that Chia is capable of consuming alarmingly high amounts of food.

It is possible that storage players could follow the lead of Nvidia’s mining-specific GPUs.

Feist answered a question on the viability and future prospects of storage-based cryptocurrency. He explained that Seagate is impartial, but recognizes both opportunity and need.

We don’t have a case for or against crypto. He acknowledged that he understands the need. Farmers and crypto miners are asking for guidance, as our mass-capacity drive has been highly sought after and world-class. We can offer that.

He said that businesses could benefit from this trend by monetizing the idle storage capacity.

“Whether it happens, or not, blockchain and decentralization hold power and staying power. It’s time we make room for it on our drives and in transactions, as well as in other realms that are yet to be discovered.

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