Farming is the next step after plotting. Once a plot has been created, you have a chance of winning Chia as long as the file is being stored and the Chia farming software is running.
When farming, you allocate a certain amount of storage space in order to have a chance at winning Chia. The more plots you have, the higher your chances of winning.
Farming is similar to a lottery. Each plot acts like a lottery ticket, where a new drawing is performed every 9 seconds or so. If you win the lottery, you earn the right to create a new block, and you will be rewarded with Chia. With an average of 4608 blocks a day, you'll have many chances to win.
Our consensus section has the technical details of how this "lottery" system works.
Estimated Time to Win
You can find your win time estimation from the Farming tab in the Chia software. It's important to note that this is just an estimation. The real time could be 2-5x greater than -- or less than -- this estimation, depending on luck.
Prior wins (or lack thereof) do not determine new wins. If your estimated time to win is one week but it has been three months, you are no closer to winning than when you started.
Pooling to the Rescue
To combat the infrequency and inconsistency of winning, you can join a pool. It works similar to a lottery pool. Instead of occasionally earning a large reward, you will frequently earn a small payment. In the long run, pooling and solo-farming (aka self-pooling) will yield the same result (minus any pool fee), but pooling is much more predictable, and recommended for most farmers.
An additional benefit of pooling is instant feedback as to whether your farm is running properly. With solo-farming you may be left wondering if you really can win a block.
Chia has designed an official pooling protocol that introduces pooling in a way never done by by other cryptocurrencies. This allows for officially-supported predictability without compromising on decentralization.
With each new block, a certain amount of Chia is rewarded to the farmer that created it. Chia launched with a block reward of 2 XCH per block. This comes out to 64 XCH distributed every 10 minutes.
Every three years, there is a scheduled halving of the block reward. This means that three years after mainnet launch, the block reward is cut in half, to 1 XCH.
Here is the complete block reward schedule:
|Year||Block Reward||XCH / 10 mins|
Starting with year 13, block rewards are forever locked in at an average of 4 XCH every 10 minutes.
As time goes on, the ratio of new XCH to existing XCH goes down. As a result, the inflation rate of Chia will continually decline. Chia's inflation falls through 0.5% 22 years after mainnet launch.