Chia, a cryptocurrency that benefits from high-speed storage, could trigger SSD shortages in the near future
A cursory glance at any exchange will tell us that the cryptocurrency mining craze isn't going away anytime soon. Ethereum moving to a proof of stake model might help reduce the load on gaming hardware a little, but that is quite some time away. However, a new coin called Chia (via HKEPC, Wccftech) has the potential to shake things up in a never-before-seen way. This is both a good and a bad thing, as it does not require high-powered graphics cards. Instead, we may have to relive the NAND shortage of 2012. You can read more about Chia and its principles here.
Chia operates on the 'Proof of Space and Time' principle that requires access to high-speed storage. Therefore, it will benefit from high-capacity SSDs, which early adopters of the coin are scooping up. This could result in SSD shortages globally once Chia gains worldwide traction. However, miners are only targetting enterprise-grade storage devices at the moment, ranging between 4TB and 18TB. Interestingly enough, Chia isn't tradable yet. Things could go either way depending on the coin's success.
While mining does take its toll on graphics cards, it is possible to restore them by replacing the thermal paste, thermal pads, and a few other tricks. Such cards usually find their way to eBay for a fraction of the price, making them an attractive buy for anyone willing to put in a little effort. Solid-state drives, on the other hand, have a limited number of read and write operations. Chia will undoubtedly push the hardware to its limit, significantly reducing its lifespan. Once an SSD is expended, it cannot be repurposed in any way, so it will very likely end up in the trash.