MadMax on DrPlotter GPU Plotting for Chia March 2024

6 min read

Bram Cohen Chia Hard Fork

From its inception, Chia Network has carved out a unique niche with its innovative consensus mechanism which we know as Proof of Space and Time. Unlike the energy-intensive Proof of Work used by Bitcoin, Chia has always aimed to offer a more sustainable alternative by leveraging unused hard drive space for mining. 

Amidst this backdrop, the recent discussion hosted by the “Poor Investor” YouTube channel, featuring the special guest “MadMax”, sheds light on a pivotal shift in the Chia ecosystem: the increasing relevance of GPUs in Chia plotting. 

The video, titled “Gigahorse – NoSSD – Dr.Plotter CHIA cannot win! GUEST MADMAX!“, serves as a focal point for understanding the implications of this shift, not just for Chia’s mining efficiency but for its community and future direction.

GPU Plotting vs SSD Plotting

This introduction sets the stage for a detailed exploration of the content discussed in the video. It aims to dissect the conversation between the host and MadMax, a key figure in the Chia community known for his contributions to optimizing plotting efficiency. The discussion ventures into the realms of GPU plotting, its impact on energy consumption, and how it aligns with or diverges from Chia’s foundational principles. Furthermore, it touches upon DrPlotter’s innovative approach (actually inspired by MadMax), which promises to redefine energy efficiency in Chia plotting. 

The introduction of Bram Cohen’s hard fork of Chia, which threatens to split the community by introducing a new coin, is also a critical point of discussion, raising questions about the future of Chia and the values it stands for.

As we delve into the content of the video, this report seeks to offer a comprehensive analysis of these discussions, highlighting the technical nuances, community reactions, and the broader implications for the future of Chia. Through this exploration, readers will gain insights into the challenges and opportunities presented by the adoption of GPUs in Chia plotting, setting the stage for a deeper understanding of the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency mining.

Background Information on Plotting for Chia Mining

Chia’s innovative approach to cryptocurrency mining introduces the Proof of Space and Time consensus mechanism, a distinct departure from the traditional Proof of Work model. This method relies on participants, or farmers, proving they have allocated unused hard drive space (Proof of Space) to store specific cryptographic numbers. The verification of these numbers over time (Proof of Time) ensures network integrity and rewards farmers proportionately to the space they’ve committed. This system not only lowers energy consumption but also democratizes mining by allowing users with spare storage to participate.

Plotting, a prerequisite process for Chia mining, involves generating and storing these cryptographic numbers on hard drives. Given the space-intensive nature of this task, efficiency in plotting directly impacts a farmer’s ability to compete and secure rewards. Historically, this process has been bottlenecked by the speed and endurance of traditional hard drives and solid-state drives (SSDs), leading to an ongoing search for improvements.

Enter GPU plotting, a significant evolution within the Chia community. Leveraging the high parallel processing power of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), this method has dramatically accelerated the plotting process, allowing for quicker setup of mining operations. The advent of GPU plotting signifies a shift towards more energy-intensive hardware, prompting a reevaluation of Chia’s energy-efficient ethos.

MadMax, a key figure in this evolution, has been instrumental in pushing the boundaries of plotting efficiency. His development of tools and methods for optimizing GPU plotting has not only enhanced performance but also sparked a wave of innovation within the Chia plotting sphere, challenging the community to rethink the balance between speed, efficiency, and sustainability.

The Role of GPUs in Chia Plotting

The transition from reliance on traditional hard drives to the incorporation of GPUs in Chia plotting marks a significant milestone in the quest for mining efficiency. GPUs, known for their prowess in parallel processing, have emerged as a powerful solution to the plotting bottleneck, reducing the time required to generate cryptographic numbers significantly.

Hard Drive vs GPU – Power Balance

This shift raises important questions about energy efficiency. Traditionally, Chia’s appeal has been its low-energy model, contrasting sharply with the energy-intensive Proof of Work cryptocurrencies. The introduction of GPU plotting, while enhancing speed, also increases power consumption. However, as MadMax elucidates, the key lies in balancing the power use between GPUs and hard drives. By optimizing this balance, it’s possible to harness the speed benefits of GPUs without disproportionately escalating energy consumption.

Has Proof of Space and Time Had Its Day?

MadMax’s insights extend into the nuanced debate of Proof of Work versus Proof of Space and Time. He suggests that while GPU plotting introduces elements reminiscent of Proof of Work—namely, higher energy use—it does not fundamentally alter Chia’s consensus mechanism. Instead, it offers a pragmatic adaptation to the technological landscape, seeking the best of both worlds: maintaining Chia’s sustainable ethos while embracing the efficiencies modern hardware offers.

The conversation around GPU plotting, therefore, isn’t just about hardware choices; it’s a deeper reflection on the principles of cryptocurrency mining. Balancing efficiency, energy use, and accessibility remains a complex challenge, with GPU plotting at the forefront of this ongoing discourse within the Chia community.

DrPlotter’s Approach to GPU Plotting for Chia

The DrPlotter method has injected a new vigor into the Chia community, heralding a potentially transformative shift in how plotting is approached. By drawing inspiration from the pioneering work of MadMax, DrPlotter aims to elevate GPU plotting’s efficiency to new heights. By refining the process and optimizing the software, DrPlotter targets the crux of the energy usage debate, proposing a method that not only quickens the plotting pace but does so with an eye firmly on minimizing power consumption.

The ambition behind this innovative approach is clear: to achieve a form of plotting that aligns with Chia’s original environmental ethos while leveraging the undeniable speed advantages GPUs offer. DrPlotter’s advancements suggest a future where the energy expenditure of plotting can be significantly reduced, potentially redefining what it means to plot in an “energy-efficient” manner within the Chia ecosystem.

Chia Community View on DrPlotter

The Chia community’s reception of Dr. Plotter’s method has been mixed, reflective of a broader spectrum of views on the direction of Chia plotting. Enthusiasts of the technology applaud the innovation and its potential to set new standards in plotting efficiency. Skeptics, however, raise concerns about accessibility and the increasing complexity of mining setups. This divergence in perception underscores the evolving nature of Chia’s mining discourse, with DrPlotter’s approach at its center.

Bram Cohen Hard Fork Decision

Implications of Bram Cohen’s Hard Fork on Chia

The announcement of Bram Cohen’s hard fork introduces a pivotal moment for Chia, encapsulating both opportunity and challenge. The fork’s primary objective is to enhance the network’s scalability and security, addressing key issues to ensure Chia’s longevity and success. However, this strategic move comes with the potential cost of community division, as it proposes the creation of a new coin, thereby bifurcating the ecosystem.

Chia Coin 2.0?

This division poses significant questions about the future of Chia’s consensus mechanism and the community’s alignment on the core principles of the cryptocurrency. With two distinct paths post-fork, miners and investors are faced with a choice that could influence the direction of their efforts and investments. The hard fork, by introducing a new coin, like a Chia 2.0,  inadvertently sets the stage for a debate over the true essence of Chia and what it should represent moving forward.

The implications of this hard fork extend beyond mere technical adjustments; they touch upon the ideological foundation of the Chia community. The introduction of a new coin could potentially fragment the community, leading to a split in resources, attention, and development focus. This schism could affect the rate of innovation and adoption, influencing Chia’s market position and its appeal to new and existing users.

Speculation about the future of Chia in the wake of this hard fork is rife, with varying opinions on how it will impact the network’s plotting methods and the broader ethos of the community. Will the original chain maintain its following, or will the new coin attract a majority of the miners? Only time will reveal the long-term effects of this fork, but it undoubtedly marks a critical juncture in Chia’s journey, setting the stage for a period of reflection, adaptation, and possibly, transformation.


In examining the evolution of Chia plotting, from traditional methods to GPU enhancements and the innovative approaches heralded by DrPlotter, the Chia community looks to be at a real crossroads in their green credentials journey. The conversation around these developments not only illuminates the technical strides made but also reflects deeper questions about sustainability, efficiency, and the future direction of Chia mining. Bram Cohen’s hard fork, poised to introduce a new coin, adds another layer of complexity to this narrative, signaling a moment of significant transformation within the Chia ecosystem.

Considering the potential impact of these changes, the Chia community is likely to be standing on the brink of a new era. The innovations brought forth by figureheads like MadMax and DrPlotter, coupled with strategic shifts like the hard fork, challenge the community to reconsider what it means to mine Chia. The balance between embracing technological advancements and staying true to the original ethos of energy efficiency and accessibility remains a central theme.

The mixed reception of GPU plotting advancements and the hard fork underscores a broader discourse on the evolution of cryptocurrencies and their underlying technologies.

As Chia pushes forwards and evolves, the community’s response and adaptation will be crucial in shaping its path forward. Will the pursuit of efficiency and the allure of new technologies lead to a more divided community, or will it usher in a new phase of unified growth and innovation?

In conclusion, the journey of Chia plotting and the impending hard fork represent not just technological milestones but also pivotal moments for community reflection and decision-making. As Chia’s development takes shape, the core values of sustainability, innovation, and inclusivity will undoubtedly play a critical role in guiding its future. The road ahead is as much about technological prowess as it is about the vision and values that will sustain Chia’s place in the ever-expanding universe of cryptocurrency.


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