By Carlos Ochoa
In this post we'll cover everything you need to know before purchasing your plots from a PaaS provider, including:
- Who do I buy my Chia plots from?
- Types of PaaS
- How many plots do I need?
- Choosing a Filesystem
- How do I find my keys?
Let's get started.
What is PaaS?
PaaS stands for Plotting as a Service. Creating a single K32 plot on your laptop can take anywhere from 8 to over 30 hours depending on your system's specs. To plot in under 6 hours you need highly specialized—and often expensive—equipment, and with the network space growing at such a fast pace, keeping up with your own plotted space can be difficult without resorting to PaaS or investing in a plotting rig.
Some of the earliest supporters of Chia created rigs that can plot upwards of 10 TiB per day, which translates to around 100 K32 plots per day or more. Many of these early Chia farmers are satisfied with the amount of plotted space they've created for themselves, and are offering their plotting rigs to help farmers without specialized equipment at very affordable prices.
Buying plots from someone offering Chia plotting services can be a safe and time-efficient way to get started farming Chia. At certain XCH price levels, the time gained by buying plots far outweighs the monetary investment.
If you're new to Chia, Plotting as a Service can be less straightforward and beginner-friendly than it initially sounds. Here's a few things you should know before you purchase your first Chia plots.
Buying Plots from a PaaS Provider
If PaaS sounds interesting, you've come to the right page. On our homepage we've collected the most reputable PaaS services out there. We have tried to vet all of them, and you'll find a Verified tag next to the names of those PaaSers who've gone through our verification process.
Before you select a provider, you should consider a few things. How many Chia plots do you wish to purchase? How quickly do you need them? Do you already have your own HDDs?
There are two main types of PaaS services. Some PaaS providers will ship plotted HDDs to you over the mail, which is the most popular type of service out there, and others are what we call Cloud PaaS providers, who will upload your finished plots to the cloud and allow a period of about a month for you to download your plots.
As with most things, there are pros and cons to either option.
Have you ever heard of Fedex Bandwidth? There's a limit to how much data you can transfer over the internet, and at a certain size, it is much faster to transfer that data in the form of a physical hard drive shipped via FedEx or your favorite courier service than to send it over the internet.
The same thing applies to plots. When you're purchasing 10 TB worth of plots, it's going to take a while for you to download them over the internet and with Chia, time literally is money. The more plots you are farming in a given amount of time, the better your chances of winning.
So most PaaS providers will ship you plotted hard drives over the mail since it is the most efficient way to transfer the amount of data required. However, since plotting is by it's nature a personalized business, almost no PaaS providers have disks at the ready.
If you already have your own disks, shipping them to your plotting provider of choice will usually take longer and be more expensive than simply purchasing new disks.
You will either need to purchase your disks yourself and have them delivered to your PaaS provider, or ask them to purchase them for you. In either case, be conscious that this step adds a day or two to the process.
And while most people in the Chia community choose this route, there are obviously a few potential downsides to this method. You run the risk of your disks getting damaged in transit, or even worse, getting lost forever.
If you're not in too much of a hurry, Cloud PaaS could be the right solution for you.
Chia prides itself in being a greener alternative to more established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and Cloud PaaS could certainly be considered a more environmentally-friendly alternative to physical PaaS providers.
By avoiding shipping altogether, you're saving the planet a few tons of CO2 emmissions, and you're saving yourself some money as well. And with the beautiful interfaces that Cloud PaaS provides have created, it's so, so easy.
The downside, of course, is time. Even in areas with fast internet, download speeds are going to slow your farming potential down. With a 10 MB/s connection you might be able to download 5 or 6 plots per day. This is usually still faster than plotting yourself, though, and you can always complement this with plotting on your own to get up and running even faster.
To consistently win Chia at a rate of 1 or 2 coins per day you need at least 400 plots. That translates to about 43 TB worth of storage.
However, as the entire Chia network grows in capacity, the number of plots you'll need to to win consistently will increase, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt and purchase only as many plots as you can afford.
Cryptocurrencies are an alternative asset, and as with any investment there is risk involved, so only invest what you can afford to lose.
HDDs can be formatted in many different ways. These formats are called filesystems and not all of them are compatible with every operating system or with the Chia Blockchain.
If you're buying from a Physical PaaS provider, you will need to choose a filesystem when you order. Drives formatted as FAT will not work, but you may usually choose from exFAT, NTFS, and EXT4.
In general NTFS is more compatible with machines running Windows. Macs are generally compatible with exFAT, as are PCs. If you're running either Linux or Raspberry Pi then EXT4 is probably the best choice.
If you're not sure, ask your PaaS provider what they recommend for your particular system.
There are several keys associated with your Chia harvester and wallet. You can think of these keys as passwords made of long strings of letters and numbers, and each key is uniquely associated with your Chia harvester. Plots are also uniquely associated with your keys, so your plots will not work with any other Chia harvester.
When you buy plots from a PaaS service you'll need to provide your Farmer Public key and your Pool Public key in order to associate the plots with your wallet and node. In general it is safe to share these keys, but be very, very careful never to share your private keys with anyone.
You have to take extreme care when you provide your keys to your plotting provider because there is no room for error here! If you don't provide the correct key your plots will be unusable and there is no way to fix them. So once you've located your keys, copy and paste them exactly as they appear.
As of this writing, the only way to locate your keys is by using the Command Line Interface. If you're not familiar with the CLI, don't worry, there's a few great tutorials online, so go brush up on your CLI skills and come back to see how to get your keys:
If you have the GUI installed on your computer, you'll still need to install the Chia Blockchain via the CLI. It's pretty easy just following these steps:
Open your Terminal app. You're ready to dive into the CLI.
Make sure you have git installed on your computer. It comes by default on most Macs, but it's best to check. Run
git --version If you get an error message you don't have git on your machine, but don't fret! You can refer to this guide to install git.
Once you've confirmed that git is installed on your computer,
cd into the directory where you would like to install the Chia Blockchain. We like to cd into
Users/username but that's up to you.
When you're in the directory where you want the Chia Blockchain installed, run the following command to download it:
git clone https://github.com/Chia-Network/chia-blockchain.git
cd into chia-blockchain by running
The Chia Blockchain has been downloaded onto your computer, but now we need to install it. Run
sh install.sh to install the Blockchain. This might take a few minutes to complete.
Now that you've installed the Chia Blockchain on your computer, you'll need to activate it by running
. ./activate (Notice there's a space between the two periods).
You're now running Chia's virtual environment, and you should see a
(venv) at the beginning of your prompt.
It's time to initialize the Chia Blockchain. Run chia
init and wait for the initialization process to finish
You're finally ready to reveal your keys. Run
chia keys show | grep 'Pool\\|Farmer' and you should see your
Farmer public key and your
Pool public key.
If you want to find the rest of the keys, simply run
chia keys show and you'll see all of the following listed:
Master public key
Master private key
Farmer public key
Pool public key
First wallet key
First wallet address
Copy and paste your Farmer public key and Pool public key to share with your PaaS provider.
To leave Chia's virtual environment just run
If you're using a Raspberry Pi to farm, we're going to assume you're using the CLI and you already have the Chia Blockchain installed. If so, getting your keys will be super easy.
cd into the
chia-blockchain directory by typing
Launch the Chia Blockchain by running the command
And find your Farmer public key and Pool public key by running the command
chia keys show | grep 'Pool\\|Farmer'
You can also reveal all of your private and public keys by simply running
chia keys show
Finding your farmer and pool keys on Windows can be somewhat tricky.
Open the Command Prompt by going to Start and typing cmd and pressing enter.
Paste the following command in the line
%APPDATA%/../Local/chia-blockchain/app-1.0.5/resources/app.asar.unpacked/daemon/chia.exe keys show
This command should reveal your private and public keys. Remember to only copy your Farmer public key and your Pool public key.
If you get an error on the first line, it is possible that you are running a different version of the Chia Blockchain.
To figure out which version you need type
cd %APPDATA%/../Local/chia-blockchain/ followed by
Hopefully you will see a version number that looks like
app-1.0.5 or app-1.0.6 etc. Replace the version number in the command on Step 2 and try it again.
If you're ready to purchase your first Chia plots from a PaaS provider, make sure to check out our comprehensive list of PaaSers on our homepage.