BitTorrent founder’s Chia crypto listed this month. Now it wants an IPO
The blockchain company behind so-called “green crypto” Chia just raised $61 million and set its sights on an IPO before the end of the year.
As reported by Bloomberg, Chia’s Series D valued the company at $500 million, with Andreessen Horowitz and Richmond Global Ventures leading the round.
Venture capitalists Breyer Capital, Cygni Capital, and Naval Ravikant also took part, among others.
Chia is seeking a traditional IPO rather than a direct listing à la Coinbase, said Chia president and chief operator Gene Hoffman.
However, Hoffman pointed out a merger with the “right” special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is a possibility.
Either way, things are moving pretty swiftly. The San Fran firm has only been around since 2017 and its native token Chia (XCH) found its first exchange listing just this month.
“Our goal has always been to go public relatively quickly as that will significantly clarify our regulatory environment and allow customers to use currency to hedge public market volatility, which is different from other coins,” said Hoffman.
Still, XCH didn’t enjoy the greatest of starts. Its value halved almost immediately upon listing (from $1,600 to under $900) before shedding another 40% from there over the next two hours.
The token currently trades at $800, down from $1,130 prior to the recent crash that wiped $1 trillion from crypto markets.
Chia says it’s green crypto, but it’s kinda beige
Chia’s sales pitch hinges on a claim that it’s a green alternative to Proof-of-Work crypto like Bitcoin.
As lead brain Bram Cohen — who also founded BitTorrent — and his team are fond of telling us, Chia does away with energy-thirsty mining and instead opts for a purportedly eco-friendly “Proof-of-Space and Time” consensus algorithm.
But there’s compelling evidence that suggests ditching electricity-sapping mining rigs in favor of vast swathes of hard disks is no better for the environment.
For example, Chia’s “plotting” (which the software does in preparation to distribute tokens) is usually performed on a solid-state drive (SSD), as found in many modern desktops and laptops.
SSDs usually last somewhere in the region of a decade but Chia’s plotting process means they can be a frazzled husk in less than two months.
This wastefulness is reportedly leading to a spike in toxic computer waste. Popular German cloud service Hetzner even banned Chia farming to curb potential damage.
For what it’s worth, Cohen stepped in to deny the growing concerns, explaining that prospective Chia farmers should really use server-grade SSDs and not home computers.
[Read more: Chia crypto triggers HDD stock rally as Western Digital, Seagate surge]
However, this doesn’t quite tally with Chia’s own website, which suggests even mobile phones can be used to generate tokens.
Edit 09:23 UTC, May 26: This piece has been updated to include reference to the VC firms that led Chia’s Series D.