Get Started with Chia
A brief summary of Chia and how to participate in the network as a Chia farmer.
What is Chia?
Chia is a cryptocurrency that relies on Proof of Space and Time as its consensus mechanism. What this means in practice is that participants can allocate disk space to help secure and decentralize the network. In return, participants are awarded XCH (Chia coins) through a process called farming.
Farming Chia can be thought of as a lottery/raffle where draws take place every ~20 seconds. Each draw, your computer will check your tickets to see if you've won and winners are rewarded with Chia coins (XCH).
Your chance of winning is directly proportional to how much disk space you've allocated to Chia compared with the rest of the network. For example, if you've allocated 10 TB and the network space is 200 PB (200,000 TB), then your chance of winning each draw is 1/20000 or 0.005% -- not amazing odds but remember there are thousands of draws a day!
In order to participate in the lottery/raffle, you first need to generate your tickets (plot files) in a process called plotting.
The process of allocating hard drive space to the network is called plotting. This is a computationally and time intensive process to create plot files that are typically ~100 GB in size.
To get started, download the Chia Blockchain software and try generating a plot (step-by-step instructions). Expect the plotting process to take 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete depending on how powerful your computer is. Once complete, the software will automatically start farming the plot.
A common strategy is to do the plotting on a higher end machine. Once a plot has been created, it can be moved to a slower but larger capacity hard drive to be farmed. A plot can be farmed continuously and requires very little electricty, making Chia and Proof of Space and Time far more environmentally friendly than more common Proof of Work cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Buying Chia (XCH)
In January 2022, Chia released peer-to-peer trading in the form of Offer Files. This is a first in the cryptocurrency space and allows trustless swaps of XCH and Chia tokens (CATs). You can acquire a stablecoin such as USDS and use that on a decentralized exchange or marketplace to swap for XCH. See the Chia page on Buy XCH for more details.
If you would like to acquire Chia (XCH) without going through the process of plotting and farming, there are many traditional exchanges where you can buy/sell/trade XCH as well.
Recommended exchanges/apps (affiliate links ahead):
- See the official Chia FAQ and ChiaLinks FAQ for answers to common questions.
- See the plotting section for guides on selecting hardware to plot faster, as well as tools to automate and optimize the plotting process.
- See the farming section for guides on selecting the best plot storage and tools to estimate how much XCH you could farm.
- See the Chia Green Paper for technical details about the consensus algorithm.