China cryptocurrency craze drives hard drive shortage in Vietnam

By Bao Lam   May 1, 2021 | 08:00 am GMT+7
China cryptocurrency craze drives hard drive shortage in Vietnam
A close up shot of the inside of a hard drive. Photo by Shutterstock/zentilia.
Large capacity hard drives are virtually out of stock in Vietnam because of a cryptocurrency mining craze in China.

Customers and market observers say local people have been buying large capacity hard drives in bulk and reselling them to the Chinese amidst a new mining craze for the Chia cryptocurrency in China.

People who need to buy large space hard drives have commented on online groups for computer component buyers that they could not find any 6TB or larger-spaced hard drives, so they were having to buy smaller ones to merge into a large one.

Hoang Lam, Subject Matter Expert of data storage company Seagate Vietnam said that Seagate’s 4TB hard drives have been out of stock since last month because "many of our customers bought the hard drives in bulk, from hundreds to thousands in one order, instead of a few units in one order as usual."

A computer component distributor in HCMC said that their hard drive sales surged by 50 percent last month despite prices rising 10-20 percent, and now the store is out of stock.

Thanh Phong, a cryptocurrency miner and cryptocurrency mining gear seller, said the chokehold on large capacity hard drives supply in Vietnam was caused by the cryptocurrency mining boom for Chia in China.

Chia is built around a cryptographic technique called Proof of Space and Time, which allows the cryptocurrency to be mined with unused storage space on hard drives rather unlike others like Bitcoin or Ethereum that use graphics cards. The more unused storage on the hard drive, the more Chia can be mined.

Phong said that the Chia craze is yet to spread to Vietnam. Therefore, Vietnamese were buying hard drives in bulk to sell them to China.

The Chinese miners have been stockpiling hard drives, preparing for Chia’s launch in May. As a result, hard drives with large capacities, from 4TB to 18 TB, have already been sold out on many Chinese e-commerce platforms, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

According to manmanbuy.com, a Chinese website that tracks and compares historical prices of products on China’s popular e-commerce platforms, the price of hard drives has surged 300 percent since the end of last year.

Chia is the brainchild of Bram Cohen, the creator of BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer protocol that allows users to distribute data and electronic files over the Internet in a decentralized manner. Cohen created Chia in 2017 with the aim of making a cryptocurrency that consumes less energy and generates less carbon when mining, compared to Bitcoin or Ethereum.

 
 
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