If you want to get in on the Chia coin mining, or farming, that has taken off in 2021, we've got you covered.
Chia- or XCH - is a fairly new cryptocurrency that has its own rather unique system of verifying transactions on the blockchain.
Here's what you need to know to get started.
What is Chia Coin Farming?
You'll see that the method for verifying blocks and transactions on the Chia blockchain is not called mining, but is instead called farming. This is due to the algorithms used to verify these blocks.
This is a combination of Proof of Space (PoS) and Proof of Time (PoT). PoS allocates unused storage space (usually hard drives) to transactions, with PoT ensuring the correct timings.
This allows Chia farms to 'seed' their empty hard drive space into 'plots', using the Chia Blockchain software.
As explained in the Chia FAQ's, farming is deemed better for the environment than mining. Chia describes it as a "fair, eco-friendly and better blockchain that uses farming to leverage existing empty hard disk space distributed on nodes around the globe."
However, much of this "empty hard disk space" has come from freshly bought hard drives. Chia has subsequently been blamed for recent shortages in large hard drives.
How to farm Chia Coin
First, you'll need to build your farming setup. Unlike with other cryptocurrencies, many Chia farmers simply use their normal PC and attach extra storage. In terms of storage, while SSD is preferred due to its speed, large HDDs of over 10 GB may be a good option given they are much cheaper.
Once you've downloaded and installed the Chia Blockchain (which you can do from here), the Chia program will prompt you to create your own private key for a wallet Make sure to keep this key safe as the wallet will be used to store your Chia.
After this, your Chia Blockchain software will need to sync to the network - which may take a few hours.
You will then need to create your plots via the 'Plots' screen. We'd recommend selecting the 101.4GiB (k=32, temporary space: 239GiB) plot size for the most efficient plotting too. After this, choose the number of plots, and the location of your empty hard drive. If you can plot more than one at once via 'Plot in Parallel', this will also give you better chances of earning rewards.
Chia Farming Rewards
Each farmed block of Chia rewards 2 XCH, at a rate of 32 blocks every 10 minutes. This means that 384 XCH will be rewarded every hour. At the time of writing, 1 XCH is worth $218.57.
As the number of plots on the Chia Network is subject to change, the likelihood of you 'winning' the Chia rewards depends on your proportion of the network. According to the unofficial Chia Calculator website, having just one plot puts your expected time to win in 188 years.
Given this rate, many Chia farmers opt to join farming pools instead. Similar to all other cryptocurrency pools, these share rewards proportionally based on their contributions to the pool. It's worth noting that creating pool plots will see you having to re-pool previously solo plots, too.