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Although hyperscale datacenters may not have the immediate availability of underutilized storage, they do refresh their storage systems every 3-5 years to meet growing demand. Cloud data centers assure customers of data security. To avoid any perception of risk, storage devices are typically physically destroyed at the end of first use. Unfortunately, some of the older standards around data sanitization recommend physical destruction for sensitive data when leaving an organization’s control, despite there being a near zero risk for data leaking with modern data encryption and sanitization methods specific to storage devices.

Chia partnered with William McDonough, Seagate, and Western Digital to launch the Circular Drive Initiative, which aims to enable secure second use for drives and reduce e-waste. CDI can promote drives designed for reuse that include necessary security and encryption features to instantly wipe all data on the drive, and make it possible to easily swap out parts that contain rare earth material like magnets upon a device failure. CDI can expand viable 2nd uses to drive demand, with clear channels to deliver drives and accompanying used storage equipment for emerging applications, including cryptocurrency farming and emerging economy digital infrastructure. CDI can work with storage vendors, hyperscale data centers, OEMs, and IT asset disposition companies to optimize the supply and value chain.

Chia farming happens to be the perfect use case for second or even third-use storage due to not storing any user data, alleviating some security concerns, and bringing low requirements for data durability and reliability. Chia is an exceptionally light workload for drives. Chia can help with an initial use case to accelerate circular business models for storage devices.

There are certainly some major hyperscalers that are doing a better job than others at circularity and reuse. The trend with major cloud providers being net-zero emissions will be to have full circular business models in every aspect of their business. This presents a tremendous opportunity and great timing for CDI, along with the emergence of Proof and Space and Time (PoST) for cryptocurrency consensus.