Already renowned for inventing BitTorrent in the late nineties, Bram Cohen could well become famous again, but this time for solving power dissipation problem associated with mining bitcoin. Cohen’s newest creation, Chia, a cryptocurrency which states itself as ‘green money for a digital world’.
Cohen has ambitious plans for full launch of Chia by the end of year 2018. This may however be a stretch considering the enormity and complexity of the processes, according to an interview with Breaker magazine on 19 December, 2018.
Unlike bitcoin which uses the power consuming proof-of-work consensus mechanism, the Chia cryptocurrency uses proof-of-space where the mining process uses the hard disk space. The new method makes use of resources that is already widely available instead of mercilessly drawing power.
Cohen also added,
“The idea is that you’re leveraging this resource of storage capacity, and people already have ludicrous amounts of excess storage on their laptops, and other places, which is just not being utilized. There is so much of that already that it should eventually reach the point where if you were buying new hard drives for the purpose of farming, it would lose you money.”
Cohen further emphasized that apart from saving electricity, Chia is more secure than Bitcoin. Regarding this he said, “To attack Chia you’d have to get access to more resources than the network as a whole, which will be a huge amount of resources once everyone has signed up. The cost of acquiring them upfront would be huge, higher than the cost of the ASICs you’d need to attack bitcoin, so to overwhelm the system would be much more difficult.”
Although the system seems more secure, it has several drawbacks. For example, it is possible to make a re-mining form of attack if desired.
Miners who can monopolize resources could create a new blockchain from the ground up and switch the blockchain once it gets longer. To prevent this sort of attack, Chia has introduced the proof-of-time consensus mechanism.
Ultimately, Cohen wants people to abandon bitcoin completely and switch over to Chia. He believes that he has practical views on how to make this a reality.
“Being more distributed should make for a better system, and also we’re working on Chiascript, which is going to be a better platform for the kind of smart transactions people actually want to use.”, were Cohen’s reassuring words.