Space Farming

Lordhippos

Straw Hat Pirate
Some people seemed interested in my random large storage purchase, so I wanted to provide a little insight into what I am doing. Before I go further I would highlight that I am not an expert at this so what I say is largely my own opinions, do your own research etc.

Crypto Currency

Before I go into actual space farming and what it is, I'd like to spend a bit of time talking about the crypto currency space. If you want to skip that go down and look for the Space Farming head instead.

The crypto currency markets have had a lot of traction lately, and for good reason. The crypto currency market capitalisation is presently around $2.5T - see Cryptocurrency Prices, Charts And Market Capitalizations | CoinMarketCap. Some individual currencies are worth more than entire massive global organisations. BTC is the most well known of these, I think just about everyone will know what BTC is. Suffice to say that BTC leads the market direction as the largest single entity, if it's up or down almost every crypto currency will follow it to some degree.

The market has been in a bull run generally since the tail end of last year. Will it last forever? I doubt it. Will it collapse into nothing? I also doubt it. It's hard to control or kill off a market that is de-centralised.

Personally speaking when BTC was quite low ($20 each) it was on my radar, it was hard to buy, and it was magic digital currency with very little practical usage. To be honest that is largely still true. I see BTC as very much the equivalent of a store of digital gold, it's a speculative asset that is finite, and hard to get without buying the market rate for it, and that in turn is what is driving it's value.

I think I felt originally that it was a fad, that a currency that burns electric and just exists digitally couldn't be worth much, but how wrong I was. I wish I'd just gambled on it a bit as it would have paid off exceptionally well if I had.

Last time I checked it was something like $11K worth of electricity needed to mine a single BTC on average, that in turn is underpinning a minimum value for BTC in my opinion. I doubt we will see $11K per BTC again, and if we do it will probably be time to buy it.

There are some predictions that BTC could hit as much as $1M per BTC in the next few years. It's currently almost $60K so that is not as insane as it sounds.

Should you put all your money into crypto currency investments? No I don't think so. Should you have some invested? yes I absolutely think so. Crypto markets are highly volatile so as with all investments only ever risk money you can afford to lose, and not lose sleep over.

Chia

Whilst BTC is the forerunner, there are lots of alt coins that solve different challenges or attempt to do so in a different way to BTC. BTC is expensive to mine, slow, unwieldy, but it's the most well known one.

The space farming I am talking about in this post is the Chia project - Home - Chia Network

The main difference between Chia and a lot of other alt coins is that it's aiming to solve the problems of BTC and other alt coins in a different way. Instead of running highly expensive calculations, Chia will operate by having users write .plot files to hard drives that then get "farmed" on the network.

Space Farming

Chia aims to be greener, I think one of it's original goals was that anyone could do it by just making some .plot files with the app and then storing them on random unused storage they had lying about, instead it's become a bit of an arms race. There is not really much hope of ever winning anything if someone just sets an old 3TB hard drive up with 27 plot files, you will have to be really lucky to win anything with that.

As I type this Chia (XCH) is trading at £892 each - https://www.coinbase.com/price/chia-network - and they are very hard to get unless you have a lot of storage and a lot of processing power.

In essence each 100GB .plot file you store and operate on the Chia network is a lottery ticket, the more tickets you have the more chance you have of winning. As it stands right now, a single 100GB plot file is likely to win 2 x XCH tokens in about 18 years on average. If you have two of them, your mean time to win is 9 years, at 4 it's 4.5 years etc. Each .plot file is a ticket on a network made up of tickets. The current network size is 3085.853 PiB - this is actually an insanely large number. You can see the network growth rate here: Chia cryptocurrency blockchain explorer.

My setup

When I came across Chia is was already pretty late on, but I already had some kit in place that made getting into it a little easier.

My home network is hard wired CAT6 so I can send data reasonably fast between my devices, I have a decent gaming PC, and an 8 bay Synology NAS with 5 x 10TB drives in it, and 3 empty slots.

I decided to see what I could do with Chia, and from there I've gone out and upgraded my setup a bit. Stuff in bold = already had it.

Rig 1:

Intel i7 9700K CPU
32GB 3200Mhz DDR4 RAM
2TB Sabrent Rocket NVME
1TB Samsung 970 EVO NVME


Rig 2:

Ryzen 5900X
32GB 3466Mhz DDR4 RAM
2TB Sabrent Rocket NVME x 2

For my storage I bought a bunch, but I had some already.

(48TB) 6 x 8TB WD MyBook
(37TB) 5 x 10TB WD Reds (4 of these are in R5 in my NAS)
(14TB) 1 x 14TB WD Elements
(64TB) 4 x 16TB WD Elements
(64TB) 4 x 16TB Seagate Expansion Drives

So my total storage capacity right now with these drives is 227TB.

Here is how much storage I have assigned to Chia right now:

root@chia-node:/chia-blockchain# venv/bin/chia farm summary
Farming status: Farming
Total chia farmed: 0.0
User transaction fees: 0.0
Block rewards: 0.0
Last height farmed: 0
Plot count: 275
Total size of plots: 27.221 TiB
Estimated network space: 3085.853 PiB
Expected time to win: 3 weeks

So right now my estimated time to win is approx. 2 XCH every 3 weeks. If the network carries on growing and I can keep pace with adding more plots, then that chance should stay the same. Eventually I will run out of the ability to add more storage or the desire to buy more storage.

If nothing changes then I should, in theory, gain 2 XCH tokens worth a combined sum of £1784 every 3 weeks or so. Of course things won't stay static like this.

Right now I am able to add about 50-55 plots a day, so approx. 5 - 5.5TB.

Should you go and start farming Chia?

In my opinion, not unless you are really interested in doing it.

As I mentioned earlier you need more and more storage to keep pace with the network. Each plot file (ticket) still has an equal chance to win compared to the others, but the sheer number of tickets keeps on increasing, so if you can't add more storage to the cause eventually you may find you just never win as your number is less and less likely to be lucky.

You also need something permanently connected to the blockchain and the plot files have to sit there passively.

I think there is definitely a time and place for doing this, and I am hoping with my capex and hardware capabilities I can make it pay out in the end (ideal scenario the price keeps going up and I win enough to cover initial costs).

In the end this is a massive lottery. It could pay out well, it could become worthless. I hope for the former.
 

Dai

Adventurer
The sooner the bottom falls out of this whole market, the better. It's one of the main reasons why it's already impossible for the average consumer to buy a graphics card, and Chia is about to do the same for hard drives.
 

Lordhippos

Straw Hat Pirate
The sooner the bottom falls out of this whole market, the better. It's one of the main reasons why it's already impossible for the average consumer to buy a graphics card, and Chia is about to do the same for hard drives.

Difficult to say, the world is in a very weird place.

DOGE coin is massive, for no reason except Elon says to buy it.

GME is somehow still doing OK and actually went nuts for a while on a meme.

You can't buy a PS5 for love nor money, because people are scalping others over them for profit.

GPU's are, as you say, just about impossible to get, partially for the scalping reason, and partially due to miners who buy them as they pay for themselves in less than a year with crypto mining.

People buying weird numbers of trainers/sneakers and selling them on for more is also a thing apparently.

Chia will remain profitable as long as you can return enough money to pay for your kit and then profit, I don't really like the way the crypto markets work and how wasting energy and resources is a way to make money, but at the same time I have missed a lot of chances due to this way of thinking.

I've resigned myself to the join them or lose out mindset, so I'm trying my hand at this. To be fair I at least already had 50TB of disks before this all kicked off! :)

Fwiw I think Hard Drives won't be quite as hard done by as the GPU markets, manufacturers are making a lot of HDD capacity yearly and already spun up for it, GPU was small supply with basically infinite demand.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
While I really don't have the cash to invest in hardware for farming myself, the crypto markets are of great interest to me. I put £400 in LINK last year and I must have lost about two week's sleep watching the ticker at all hours of the day. Eventually I couldn't take it any more and had to cash out, I still doubled my money but Christ, I wish I'd left it in now.

On the upside I just logged in to Binance for the first time in a while to find my 35p of BNB is now worth £10, what?
 

Lordhippos

Straw Hat Pirate
I think for most people, just investing in crypto and leaving it is actually best, just try not to buy at the absolute top, or in meme coins like DOGE which are extra risky. Buying in BTC or ETH or other decent alts is likely to work better.

BNB actually had an insane increase, I think it was $40 earlier in the year, now it's $640 or something silly!

My best advice is definitely only risk money you won't lose sleep over, because it's a big risk/gamble to some degree, you need to be able to hold if it drops 50% overnight.
 
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ayase

State Alchemist
What's almost worse is that I transferred my LINK into BTC as a more stable alternative I wouldn't have to watch so closely. When BTC was 11k. I withdrew it as cash when it was 13k.

So while I love the possibility of crypto investing making me rich, it also probably increases my chances of wanting to shoot myself by several hundred percent, and those chances are already pretty high.

My best advice is definitely only risk money you won't lose sleep over, because it's a big risk/gamble to some degree, you need to be able to hold if it drops 50% overnight.
It wasn’t even that I was concerned about losing it, I just didn’t want to miss a peak so my eyes were just glued to that ticker. Honestly next time I have a decent lump of cash that’s probably what I’ll do, just take a week off and sit on Binance with endless flasks of coffee...
 
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Lordhippos

Straw Hat Pirate
It wasn’t even that I was concerned about losing it, I just didn’t want to miss a peak so my eyes were just glued to that ticker. Honestly next time I have a decent lump of cash that’s probably what I’ll do, just take a week off and sit on Binance with endless flasks of coffee...

If you can reach the point where you invest what you want to invest, then you can forget it exists, come back in 2-3 years and it's basically going to be worth loads or nothing much probably! :)

Crypto is generally up all the time though atm with some drops, but on the whole, if BTC approaches $1M you basically can't lose on any of the decent top 20 or so coins I think (skip DOGE though unless you really like a gamble).

I actually find Binance is the best for this, because I have no intent of selling my Binance stuff anytime soon. If I get some XCH and binance lists it I will transfer it over there and keep some in my Binance.

For anyone remotely interested, I highly recommend buying crypto before the next halving of BTC, the reward will half and the price of them should rocket up:


That is the countdown so a while away yet, but if considering a future investment, before then is my recommendation.
 
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Lordhippos

Straw Hat Pirate
If anyone is interested, I am still doing this, I bought kit a while ago and even though Crypto space has lost some value lately, I am going to follow the original script to the end and see. With some recent news and falls, I am actually a little bearish on Crypto at the moment and think we may see lower pricing on BTC short term.

On the 8th of May when I posted this, I had 27TB of plots and 0 XCH wins, BTC was almost $60K each. XCH was around £900 each.

Now I have 107TB of plots, and I've managed to win 4 XCH (each win is 2 XCH when solo mining). XCH is now closer to £600 each (fallen in line with BTC/Crypto drop) so still a nice price, but not worth quite as much as last time I posted.

Status:

Farming status: Farming
Total chia farmed: 4.0000001
Block rewards: 4.0
Plot count: 1085
Total size of plots: 107.398 TiB
Estimated network space: 8772.641 PiB
Expected time to win: 2 weeks and 2 days

Time to win has come down a little from my earlier status, but on average I should win every couple of weeks + a few days, so I'm a bit ahead of the curve on luck for a change.

I can plot to around 280TB I think before I run out of space, which at 55 (5.5TB) of plots a day, is around 173TB left to go, or 31 days or so remaining before I can no longer add plots.

Network growth on chia is still kind of insane, from 3085.853 EiB on the 8th to 8772.641 EiB today, that's a gain of around 400 PiB a day. Even plotting 50-60 plots a day is barely keeping pace, and may lose some ground now, I'd probably need to be plotting 80-100 a day to gain pace on the network, but that would mean buying more plotting power (more PC's) and hard drives.

To run both my rigs plotting 24/7 is costing me around 10 Kwh of electric a day. For say 30 days, that is 300 KwH. I pay £0.135 per KwH so electricity cost for making all the ones I have left to do is going to be somewhere around £40.

On the positive side I no longer need heating upstairs no matter how cold it gets outside at the moment, actually it's quite fortunate that the weather has been fairly cool lately even though it's May, I can just keep the window open and the room doesn't get too hot.
 

Dai

Adventurer
If anyone is interested, I am still doing this, I bought kit a while ago and even though Crypto space has lost some value lately, I am going to follow the original script to the end and see. With some recent news and falls, I am actually a little bearish on Crypto at the moment and think we may see lower pricing on BTC short term.

On the 8th of May when I posted this, I had 27TB of plots and 0 XCH wins, BTC was almost $60K each. XCH was around £900 each.

Now I have 107TB of plots, and I've managed to win 4 XCH (each win is 2 XCH when solo mining). XCH is now closer to £600 each (fallen in line with BTC/Crypto drop) so still a nice price, but not worth quite as much as last time I posted.

Status:



Time to win has come down a little from my earlier status, but on average I should win every couple of weeks + a few days, so I'm a bit ahead of the curve on luck for a change.

I can plot to around 280TB I think before I run out of space, which at 55 (5.5TB) of plots a day, is around 173TB left to go, or 31 days or so remaining before I can no longer add plots.

Network growth on chia is still kind of insane, from 3085.853 EiB on the 8th to 8772.641 EiB today, that's a gain of around 400 PiB a day. Even plotting 50-60 plots a day is barely keeping pace, and may lose some ground now, I'd probably need to be plotting 80-100 a day to gain pace on the network, but that would mean buying more plotting power (more PC's) and hard drives.

To run both my rigs plotting 24/7 is costing me around 10 Kwh of electric a day. For say 30 days, that is 300 KwH. I pay £0.135 per KwH so electricity cost for making all the ones I have left to do is going to be somewhere around £40.

On the positive side I no longer need heating upstairs no matter how cold it gets outside at the moment, actually it's quite fortunate that the weather has been fairly cool lately even though it's May, I can just keep the window open and the room doesn't get too hot.
This is rapidly going to reach the point where the only people able to keep up will be those able to buy hardware in bulk at wholesale prices, or criminals stealing hardware on a large scale and skipping out on the electric bills. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
 

Lordhippos

Straw Hat Pirate
This is rapidly going to reach the point where the only people able to keep up will be those able to buy hardware in bulk at wholesale prices, or criminals stealing hardware on a large scale and skipping out on the electric bills. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

I am not sure it makes sense to really try and keep up long term, I was in early enough that I could still buy some hard drives at sensible prices, the long term goal I have is probably to go into turtle mode, which will be to farm what I can out to my NAS and my old PC which will need to both be on 24/7, but I can turn off my main PC then at least so power consumption should drop a lot.

I also want to get into pooling when they release it, so I'd gain smaller incremental wins rather than spikes, that should let me offset the value of what I earn against the running costs (expected daily gain vs ongoing daily costs), at some point it may not make sense for me to carry on at all really.

I've seen some people going for crazy setups which would really put mine to shame!
 

ayase

State Alchemist
This is rapidly going to reach the point where the only people able to keep up will be those able to buy hardware in bulk at wholesale prices, or criminals stealing hardware on a large scale and skipping out on the electric bills. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
I do find all this interesting, like it’s obviously the “narrative” at this point, especially with Elon and his market manipulation, but this whole “crypto is terrible for the environment/economy and people profiting off it are locusts who contribute nothing” line are funny to me from a societal point of view, because what is traditional investment banking/share trading? It just feels like a way to keep the people at the bottom where they are and let the people at the top get away with the exact same crap. Because THAT is allowed and acceptable, but people making money out of nothing with less to invest are somehow unacceptable or wrong.
 

Lordhippos

Straw Hat Pirate
I agree that crypto mining can be wasteful, and greener alternatives to things like BTC are welcome. There are lots of projects in the works that do try and solve that challenge, even Chia should be far more efficient than BTC for transactions on the blockchain.

Elon has been heavily into manipulating things lately, first he buys BTC and says Tesla will accept it, then he decides not long after that it's damaging to the environment, and they will no longer support it. Sorry Elon, but surely you'd have known and done some research before dropping $1.5B into BTC? This also coming from the man literally flying rockets and sending cars into space, who then has the cheek to call BTC "not green".

As per what @ayase said I think for me this is a chance to do something when I have ignored a lot of the opportunities I have had in the past, it may or may not pay off, but I am taking steps to keep my footprint on this reasonable. Once I've paid the power and created my plots, running costs should be minimal compared to constant GPU mining for things like ETH.
 

Buzzkillington

Za Warudo
I just want crypto to die so I can buy a bloody graphics card, y'all can do whatever you want once I have one :p (I know that's not what you're using, just in general...).
 

Lordhippos

Straw Hat Pirate
I just want crypto to die so I can buy a bloody graphics card, y'all can do whatever you want once I have one :p (I know that's not what you're using, just in general...).

I was going to buy a 3080 on launch (for gaming not for mining with) and it was basically impossible, then bots started buying them, people scalping etc. In the end I stuck with my 2080, and truth be told I haven't really done much gaming lately anyway.

I'll probably skip the 3080 even if I can get one and see what new things come out in the future, 2080 still fine really.

I hate scalpers with a passion though, I never buy anything with the intent to re-sell it, I'd rather get myself a copy of something than buy extras to sell later for profit.
 

Dai

Adventurer
I am not sure it makes sense to really try and keep up long term, I was in early enough that I could still buy some hard drives at sensible prices, the long term goal I have is probably to go into turtle mode, which will be to farm what I can out to my NAS and my old PC which will need to both be on 24/7, but I can turn off my main PC then at least so power consumption should drop a lot.

I also want to get into pooling when they release it, so I'd gain smaller incremental wins rather than spikes, that should let me offset the value of what I earn against the running costs (expected daily gain vs ongoing daily costs), at some point it may not make sense for me to carry on at all really.

I've seen some people going for crazy setups which would really put mine to shame!
As long as you're planning for a sensible point to plateau your operation, that's fine. I worry for the people who will keep endlessly increasing the size of their operation, potentially bankrupting themselves in an attempt to keep pace with people who have deeper pockets, all in the hope of a theoretical payoff that might evaporate if the value crashes. Any system that favours those who can afford more rolls of the dice feels like the exact opposite of the democratisation of easy money that @ayase is describing.
 

Lordhippos

Straw Hat Pirate
I think what @ayase was somewhat getting at was that the crypto space in general was a field that anyone could play on, quite a lot of normal people have become rich as a result of mining or getting into crypto early on, the later you do so the harder it becomes. Almost anyone could have mined some BTC if they wanted to back when it started.

Stocks and shares are manipulated more heavily by the rich, and most normal people probably can't turn a profit. Crypto markets aren't immune to manipulation mind, big players can move prices a lot.

It's sort of like the wild west still really, high risk, high reward, but it's quite an exciting market to be in because it can shift so much so quickly.

I'd not suggest people throw a lot of cash at mining chia right now for the reasons you mentioned. I think I was lucky that I had some good kit already from my main PC, and an 8 Bay Synology NAS with 5 x 10TB drives already bought, made my capex smaller to get in. However if anyone had some TB's of space free and something like a NAS that was always on, then having some plots isn't the worst idea, may eventually win something with no spend.
 

Lordhippos

Straw Hat Pirate
A bit of an update in case anyone cares! :)

I finally finished plotting drives, and wound up with 330TB dedicated to plots. I don't intend to buy more drives at this point. I can re-use a of what I have here, but the more drives I buy the harder they would be to shift later if I ever stop farming Chia. The rack shown will be used in my garage as a storage rack down the line, PC cases are overrated.

Rig 1:
Yes I know this is a bit of a mess still!

Ryzen 5900X
7 x 16TB Seagate
2 x 14TB Seagate
2 x 18TB WD Elements
1 x 14TB WD Elements
1 x 10TB WD Red
1 x 8TB WD White Label
1 x 1TB NVME
Total 209TB

C1DLyhQ.jpg


Rig 2:

Synology DS1815+ NAS
4 x 10TB Red R5 (17TB for Plots)
4 x 16TB WD Elements
5 x 8TB WD My Books
Total 121TB

j8XtCKY.jpg


So far I have found: 8.28 XCH (I found 8 solo then joined a pool which has earnt 0.28).

In todays prices not as good as it has been with the initial rush, but they are still around £200 / $280 each today. Will be interesting to come back and see how this post has aged in a few months time, I could have vast riches on my hands, or nothing!

I am earning about 7-8% of an XCH per day in the pool, which is around $20 - $25 per day.
 
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