Siacoin or popularly known as Sia provides the community with a decentralized cloud storage option that competes with many popular centralized legacy competitors such as Amazon, DropBox, Apple, and Microsoft. Using Sia, just about anyone can easily host or access encrypted storage through the platform, and all storage proofs, contracts and transactions are verifiable using the blockchain’s public ledger.
HOW DOES SIA WORK
Primarily, Sia takes cloud storage away from the hands of monolithic providers and puts it back into the hands of individuals. Doing so automatically provides a peer to peer storage ecosystem that encourages anyone to take advantage of a spare hard drive space. Also, all services on the network receive Siacoin (SC) as payments. And all transactions in the Sia ecosystem are highly secured through storage proofs and filing contracts.
The Sia platform consists of both host (providers) and users (clients). Through this platform, users commission storage space from providers, and in return the providers are compensated in Siacoin for their services.
The ecosystem provides flexible storage options and is amply free market driven. Providers are allowed set their own prices, advertise their level of reliability, and set standards for penalties should a problem arise in storage (such as lost files). Additionally, they can choose to deny a client storage if they are uncomfortable with the nature of that client’s data (e.g. sensitive, illegal, or ethically questionable materials).
Clients are provided with series of protections set in place to secure their own interests. They are provided with the option of splitting copies of their data between multiple providers to ensure complete file security and retrievability. For instance, if a provider simply refuse to release a client’s file or lost a client’s file, the client could still retrieve their files from another provider’s storage. Both parties can also agree upon contractual penalties that a provider will incur if they don’t provide good proof of storage.
Clients have the option to reward providers with uptime incentives on the storage fees, as well. With these payments, client’s incentivize providers for being very attentive and alert to their needs, which means providing faster document uploads and enhanced upkeep to process requests, etc.
When a User and a Host decide to conduct business, they agree to draft a file contract. While a host’s hard drive stores all data, Sia’s blockchain store and secure the contracts for these arrangements.
These file contracts define the terms of a storage agreement and see to it that both parties conduct their business accordingly. The contract is been stored on the blockchain public ledger, also the original arrangement is verifiable and immutable once it’s been submitted to the network.
As said earlier, contractual terms are somewhat flexible based on circumstance. If a client wants to sacrifice reliability for affordability, it’s still within their right. If a Host (provider) wants to charge more for storing mass amounts of data, and the client agrees to the terms of the contract, so be it. Users on the platform should govern their own provider choices in relation to a host’s reputation and storage requirements. Likewise, a provider should also judge whether or not they can accommodate a client based on that client’s demands and needs.
Again, file contracts add a much needed layer of authenticitic security to the network. They definition to the duration of an agreement, how punctual a provider should submit a proof of storage, and an agreed upon payout.
As a Client, when you create a contract, you upload a balance of Siacoin into the contract for future payments. Thus, each time you upload a document for storage, some of the money from this balance is transferred to the host. If at the end of this contract you don’t use all of your balance, the remaining coins automatically returns to your wallet.
PROOF OF STORAGE
Sia implements proof of storage to give security to clients from malicious and fraudulent providers. In order to receive payment, a provider must show a certain number of proofs to the network within a given time frame which is specified by the terms of the file contract.
If a provider fails to provide proof of storage within that allowed time, the proper payment will be sent to a missed proof address until proof is submitted. And, the provider may incure a penalty for their delay and negligence. If a provider misses many proof of storage mandates, the contract may automatically terminate forever.
However, when a provider successfully provides proof of storage, the contract awards payment to a valid proof address. A series of spend conditions must be reached before a provider can access these coins, including time locks and network signatures.
WHY CHOOSE SIA
Sia platform gives quite a number of benefits compared to most traditional cloud storage services;
- AFFORDABILITY:Siacoin gives market driven pricing options and flexibility for it’s users. There is no “one size fits all” option for clients to choose from in Sia. For example, 1TB of data storage using Sia can cost as little as $2 a month, who’s is very low compared to Amazon’s services which run at $23 a month.
- SECURITY: All data on Sia is processed encrypted via a decentralized network, keeping your assets secured from the many vulnerabilities of a centralized system. Also, Sia offers superfluous storage. When splitting documents between multiple providers, Sia provides protection to client’s data from a single point of failure.
- PRIVACY: Again, all the data processed on Sia network is encrypted. Unless a provider has the data’s private key, they cannot access the user’s files, meaning you’re always in complete ownership and control over the documents of any materials you commit to storage. Under traditional models, the companies that host cloud storage will have complete access to any data you abandon to their servers.
THE SIA TEAM
Sia is a project under Nebulous, Inc. and it started it’s race in 2015. Unlike most other altcoins, Sia did not have a pre-mine and did not hold any ICO. But instead, the company has raised a lot of funds from First Star Ventures, Fenbushi Capital, among others.
The Boston based team is led by co founders Luke Champine and David Vorick. The pair are both young and are graduates of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute five years ago.
There is really no shortage of decentralized storage systems in the blockchain industry. One competitor, Filecoin, had one of the largest ICOs, raising about $257 million. They are yet to released a product, though.
Siacoin also competes with MaidSafe and Storj. Sia and Storj approach strategies to decentralized storage are quite similar. But, Sia operates on it’s own blockchain while Storj is an ERC-20 on Ethereum. Siacoin (SC) currently has the highest market cap out of any of the competitors.
Siacoin price has basically followed the overall market. It’s had just three vital jumps in since it’s history.
In middle of 2016, the first jump occurred, when the price rose to about 1150% in about two months. The news about the upcoming v1.0 release in June 2016, was most likely the cause of this growth spurt. Following that, Siacoin (SC) drop for the remainder of 2016 and equivalent start of 2017.
The next set of meaningful price action was around May/June 2017. This movement followed a company update filled with good news including the publication of a roadmap. In the middle of June, the Siacoin (SC) price reached it’s all time BTC high of 0.00000843 BTC.
The most recent Siacoin (SC) price jump coincided with the 2017 bull run in which it hit an all time USD price of $0.10. Like most crypto assets, Siacoin was hit very hard in the 2018 correction. It seems to have currently found some support at around $0.002 (0.00000062 BTC).
With a product that is already in the market, increased adoption will definitely have the most direct effect on the price. A few major partnership announcements could also help as well. If actually past performance is an indicator of future results, it may take a market turn around to get this coin moving.
WHERE TO BUY AND STORE SIACOIN (SC)
You can purchase your Siacoin in either ETH trading pairs or BTC from Bittrex and Binance. The later houses the bulk of SC trading with around 25% of the daily volume.
Mining is another method of obtaining SC. The two primary options for SC mining pools are SiaMining and Luxor.
There are basically two types of wallets made available by the Sia team. The first been, Sia Daemon, is a command line interface (CLI) wallet available onWindows, Linux and Mac. If you are not really a tech-shrewd, you should do well to avoid this wallet. The second wallet is Sia GUI. This graphical user interface (GUI) wallet is quite easier to use than Sia Daemon.
The Siacoin roadmap is publicly available, and you can stay on top of whatever they are currently working on. Right now in the short term, the team aims to completely overhaul their user interface as well as add some new features and support for video streaming.
In the medium to long term, they also plan to;
- Add a simple file sharing (inside and outside Sia network)
Support larger files (>10 TB) and also tiny files (<100kb)
Allow for file recovery through wallet seed
Create mobile wallets and also light clients
And much more.
Siacoin is an outstanding and refreshing project in a space that is full of promises and unproven products. The Sia team has a product that is very accessible today, and while there is still plenty rooms for improvement as the roadmap suggests, the service is very much up and running.