So this is a strange situation. For the first time ever the Chia netspace is lower than it was two days ago. According to ChiaExplorer.com the peak netspace was 27.864 EiB, and it is sitting about 1.5PiB lower than that right now.
So the real question is why? First thing: no idea. Neither does anyone else. Anyone speaking with authority on the subject is wildly overconfident in their assumptions. But if I can speculate a bit, I think it has to do with with two specific things.
The first is the Chinese cryptocurrency ban. This might not have forced everyone in China to turn off their farms, but it definitely convinced some to. It definitely would have convinced a number of Chinese farmers like you and I, just regular folk with a computer and some hard drives, to shut down their operations or never even start them.
The second is the massive price crash we have been seeing for over a week now. If you ordered drives from Newegg or Scan or something and they didn’t show up instantly, by the time they did the crash would have erased most of your expected margin in transit. That makes opening the drive up and plugging it in harder to swallow, and I suspect many of those disks just got turned right around and sent back.
I think that the two are related, with the Chinese ban causing a large proportion of the farming base to just sell their crypto assets. And I think the massive sell off that has been driving the price down is over, and we have seen that price rebound a little. So I think that we will start to see the netspace climb again. Just not at the rate it had been going at until now.
So the real question is, have we finally gotten to the point where we can reliably make predictions about how much money our farming setups will earn? No. And you will never be there. The price changes too much over time, and the timescales are simply too long. Look at ethereum miners, a month ago it made sense to pay whatever the asking price was for a high end 30-series GPU. Now? It might take a long time, and depends heavily on transaction volumes. I don’t think you will ever be able to make long term predictions about the price of a cryptocurrency, let alone one less than 2 months old.