Sia and Siacoin: The decentralized cloud storage solution
Blockchain applications continue to pick up steam in a wide range of industries, from finance and supply chain to agriculture and beyond. As more becomes known of how to harness this technology and unleash it in increasingly practical ways, the world continues to modernize in the name of security and user control.
The same can be said for Sia and Siacoin, which strive to provide a timely solution to longstanding cloud storage issues while also establishing a more reliable and cost-effective alternative to the current tech giants in the space.
Here is a closer look at what Sia and Siacoin are and how they are beginning to reshape the way we think about cloud-based storage.
What is Sia?
Sia is a decentralized cloud storage platform that uses blockchain technology to reinvent the very notion of web-based data. It was masterminded by Nebulous, the Boston-based brand also responsible for Obelisk mining hardware.
Sia utilizes blockchain to create a virtual data storage solution much more robust, secure, and affordable than its more traditional predecessors – primarily big names like Google Drive and Dropbox.
The Sia vision
Per Sia’s self-described vision, the Sia blockchain allows the network to run without an intermediary, where no one person or organization can censor or deny access to data. The brand believes Sia’s distributed, decentralized storage technology is stronger, more secure, more efficient, and more equitable for the entire ecosystem.
“It’s our attempt to bring decentralized storage built on blockchain technology to the mainstream without sacrificing price or performance.”
Sia’s decentralized nature sets it apart in several important ways:
- Security – Sia encrypts and distributes users’ files across its decentralized network in which the users control all their own encryption keys and data. This means no outside entities can access other users’ files (unlike with traditional options) and provides for increased security against hacking.
- Redundancy – Sia distributes redundant files to nodes across the globe, meaning there is no single point of failure (SPOF) prone to data loss or hacking.
- Cost – Sia is incredibly affordable compared to current storage options, with users often being able to store 1TB of files for only $1 to $2 per month.
- Marketplace format – Sia operates within a decentralized marketplace in which hosts/providers compete for the business of renters who then pay using a form of crypto known as Siacoin (more on that later).
Sia’s open-source nature is supported by a community of software engineers and developers dedicated to innovating within the Sia API, always working to further improve the network.
What is Siacoin?
Siacoin is the digital coin used to transact within the Sia network. It is the currency renters pay hosts in order to lease their cloud storage space.
There are a few components that set this apart from a typical transaction:
- Hosts and renters can work together to set their own fees.
- Hosts can promote their own available storage space and services and can also refuse to provide storage to anyone they wish.
- Renters can rent from multiple hosts at once to improve security and can pay more than is agreed upon in the hopes of receiving preferential treatment (more space, higher speeds, etc.).
- Once agreed upon, hosts and renters enter into a smart contract that ensures the host is compensated for keeping the renter’s data secure. If the data is lost, the host forfeits their share of Siacoin.
There is also a protocol in the blockchain code that requires 3.9% of every contract to go to Siafund holders (investors).
Siacoin as a cryptocurrency can be mined using a proof-of-work model similar to that of bitcoin, and is the only method through which hosts and renters can complete transactions for storage space.
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