In celebration of Chia Mainnet’s first year, we share some thoughts and a nifty infographic below.
As we look back on the first year of Chia’s blockchain, we have a lot to celebrate; from the launch of Mainnet and rapid network growth to the developer ecosystem and engaged community, from theory, testing, and simulation to hundreds of thousands of nodes validating transactions with tens of thousands of coin holders.
We built Chia to bring real security and sustainability to finance, to steward a necessary and nascent technology — “magic internet money” — towards meaningful utility and applicability. The breadth of engagement with the Chia blockchain demonstrates the strength of our community.
This year, we’ve accomplished a lot, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Every one of our stakeholders plays a vital role. The network of nodes worldwide serves as the backbone and nervous system of the Chia blockchain. The community of developers building the ecosystem create applications on the chain, highlight use cases, and help us continually improve. Our enterprise partners trust our technology and ability to deliver and continue delivering excellent work.
The most important thing we’ve learned this year is that we’re not in this alone. As intended, the Chia blockchain is built for everyone and by everyone.
Adoption and Accessibility
When we launched Mainnet in 2021, we saw massive adoption, reaching over 400,000 nodes worldwide largely thanks to the accessibility of hard drives that power Chia’s Proof of Space and Time consensus mechanism. We reduced the cost and equipment barriers to entry while simultaneously providing a way for people worldwide to join the network as nodes and participate in the evolution of finance — any user with extra hard drive capacity can easily participate in the Chia blockchain, earn rewards, and quickly reclaim the space needed for their user data.
At launch, Chia Mainnet had a total capacity of 116 PiB. We observed exponential growth in netspace for two and half months after launch, accelerating through the enabling of transactions in May. If Chia continued to grow at that rate, it would have consumed all the storage in the world (6.7 zettabytes of global install base) in just 164 days. Today, the Chia blockchain is 28 exbibytes (EiB) — that is 32 billion gigabytes!
The quick scaling of the network and subsequent development process provided incredible opportunities to engage with and learn from brilliant partners. While we dogfood our technology, our community of developers and farmers brings ingenuity and unique insight to the ecosystem.
We’ve actively sought to educate critical stakeholders capable of unlocking blockchain’s potential. We are only one facet of a much larger conversation. We’re the developers, but, perhaps as importantly, we are also vocal advocates for the social and regulatory elements of the technology at-large. No innovation comes without friction and reluctance, and we’ve seen it across two main areas: Sustainability and Security.
This year, we believe our work has shown our ability to execute against and comprehensively address both of these challenges.
In parallel with our drive to provide broader access to blockchain and global finance, we sought to reduce the ecological footprint and energy consumption of the technology. To that end, through our first year of operation, our entire network used on average 1/827th (or 0.115%) of the energy of Bitcoin as of the week of March 14, 2022.
We designed PoST to be incredibly efficient and significantly reduce PoW’s energy consumption, and now have the entire first year’s data to support our thesis. The Chia farming workload has been very easy on hard drives, with farming leaving a hard drive idle 99.75% of the time. In the future when SSDs are the dominant storage for personal data (e.g. backup), idle farming drives will go to sleep, consuming near-zero power. Chia farming happens to be a perfect use case for used storage and underutilized storage space.
One of the most environmentally dangerous aspects of blockchain technology is single-use hardware. Mining operations burn through GPUs and CPUs, creating significant electronic waste and drawing large amounts of power. Our team, Seagate, Western Digital, and Bill McDonough partnered to implement the Circular Drive Initiative, an effort to reduce electronic waste through secure reuse of drives from data centers — the world’s largest consumer and user of these electronics by many orders of magnitude.
Sustainability serves as a fundamental building block and key differentiator of our technology.
From the necessary creation of theoretical mathematics through the first year of operation, the Chia blockchain has continually reinforced our core belief in the value of democratized, sustainable access to running a full node. As one of the largest blockchains by node count and offering unrivaled decentralization, we are intrinsically one of the most secure.
While our PoST consensus mechanism innovates on Proof of Work, we’re still a Nakamoto consensus blockchain. To provide a theoretical example based on our netspace today, the most realistic attack vector is a 51% attack, which we estimate would take between two to six months and nearly $1B spent on server equipment and 20TB HDDs — the largest on the market as of today. This effort would require an estimated 3200 racks of storage weighing 7.5 million lbs or data center space and experience similar to a large hyperscale data center provider.
We understand the necessity of, and the inextricable link between, security and sustainability for the growth and adoption of blockchain technology. Our first year saw burgeoning enterprise adoption embracing Chia’s public blockchain’s security.
Blockchain technology has irreversibly and meaningfully changed the world. We are standing on the shoulders of giants and their learnings, growth, and successes. Our work is only made possible through our stakeholders’ contributions, every node, community member, ecosystem developer, and partner.
Together, we’re building a better blockchain — all of us — a more sustainable, more secure, more accessible, and more compliant technology infrastructure for the future of global finance.