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Here, you'll find questions that we see a lot from new users. It's a great place to start!
Sia, in a nutshell, is the concept for a new way to store data “in the cloud”. It takes advantage of users all over the world with spare hard drive space who wish to rent it out in order to create a huge, decentralized platform for distributed cloud storage. Data is broken into pieces, encrypted, and distributed to many hosts in order to maintain security and redundancy.
Sia aims to compete with (or totally replace) conventional cloud storage platforms like Amazon S3.
Siacoin is the cryptocurrency of the Sia platform. It is the coin that is intended to be used for renting and hosting cloud storage on the Sia Cloud Network.
As of August 2017, Sia's core team consists of:
See also: Nebulous Inc.
From Core Developer and CEO David Vorick (here):
Sia is going to change the face of cloud storage. That's a $20 billion market, and it's projected to become a $200 billion market. Sia is not some niche either, it's a full upgrade to how cloud storage works. We aren't aiming at 1%, we are aiming at 70-90% market share, because the core technology is that good.
Today, most Internet infrastructure is owned by a small number of companies. When you put your data in the cloud, you give up control. They can choose to delete your data, they can choose to hold your data hostage, they can change their terms of service on you. These are not uncommon situations either. Here's a story about photobucket requesting ransom prices from Ebay and Amazon. About a month ago, atlassian.com announced massive price increases for their platform, which left many people out to dry. Several months ago, Amazon pulled the unlimited tier from their Amazon Cloud Drive, giving users 180 days to download the data and find a new home.
When you put your data in the cloud, you give it to someone else. The traditional cloud is controlled by humans. There can be downtime, terms changes, price changes, companies can go under (like Soundcloud). We have built a fragile internet that puts the power in the hands of a few.
Sia changes that equation. Sia allows people to use the cloud without giving up control. This is a feature that resonates deeply with IT admins. The majority of IT admins will agree that they don't like using the Cloud, and that they would rather use another option if they could, except that the cloud offers so many advantages that they are willing to accept the loss of control of their data. Sia changes this equation. IT admins can have all the benefits of the cloud, without giving up control. It's a big step forward, and it's the core reason for blockchains existing in the first place.
From Core Developer and CEO David Vorick (here):
Sia is cheaper, faster, more reliable, more secure, and has better uptime than the traditional cloud. The software today is not fully able to realize these benefits, but that's no fault of the protocol. The protocol itself is the foundation for a superior cloud platform, even if you don't care about trust. Sia is a full fledged CDN, with storage points in over 50 countries and on all 6 continents. Amazon can't claim numbers like those. Sia has hosts within 50 milliseconds of every major city in the world. Amazon can't claim that either. If you want low-latency storage to every city in the world (useful if you are YouTube, Netflix, Imgur, etc.), Sia is the best technology to use. The world's leading CDN (Akamai) charges >$50/TB. Sia charges $0.50, and that's a sustainable price.
In general, the layers built on top of Sia that involve storage of this type of data will be the entities responsible for ensuring compliance.
HIPAA, for example, does not “certify” cloud storage providers. Instead, it provides a comprehensive audit protocol for use in ensuring compliance. Many items in the audit protocol are in no way relevant or applicable to Sia as a standalone data storage solution; they would be applicable to whatever application utilized Sia to store data and ultimately control access to that information.
You can contribute in many ways. See the Contribute to Development of Sia page.
Siacoins are available on cryptocurrency exchanges such as:
Users report the fewest issues with Bittrex, though Poloniex generally has higher trade volume. To use any of these services, you need to start with another form of cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin), as there is currently no way to purchase Siacoin directly with fiat (USD, etc).
If you're new to purchasing cryptocurrency, see these guides for more details:
Initial blockchain download may take 24 hours or more. This will depend on your hardware and internet connection - blockchain synchronization is a lot faster on an SSD compared to a standard hard drive.
You may download the consensus.db file from someone who has already synched it (i.e. https://consensus.siahub.info/ ), but the recommended method is to always sync yourself.
This is expected behavior. Sia allows advanced users to choose a password that is distinct from their seed for added security, but by default, the seed and the password are identical.
Yes. Once you have created a wallet and generated an address, you can start to send coins to that address. Your coins will appear in your wallet once the Sia client has fully synchronized.
This is normal. Every time you click “Receive Siacoins,” Sia generates a new wallet address, but you will still receive payments sent to any of your previously generated addresses.
If you want to see a full list of your wallet addresses, go to the “Terminal” view and type
No. But this is a planned feature in the Sia roadmap.
Kind of. Any cryptocurrency exchange that supports Siacoin will give you Siacoin addresses and allow you to send and receive Siacoin. This is not a *true* web wallet in the sense that the exchange controls the private key and thus ultimately controls your Siacoin.
Not quite. A few options exist to generate a seed and addresses to receive Siacoin offline. To send from these addresses, you'll need to enter the seed on a Sia client that is online and has downloaded the full Sia blockchain.
sia-coldstorage is a tool for creating offline receiving addresses. It's not an “official” Sia tool, but it's written by one of the Sia developers. For pre-built Windows, Mac, and Linux packages, see the releases tab of the sia-coldstorage Github repo.
Sia Paper Wallet is another third-party, open source option to generate an offline wallet.
Not very much. It's very much a buyer's market at the moment. Check out the “Host Earnings” estimator at SiaPulse to get an estimate of your earnings from hosting.
Hosts (and websites) are considered safe from user submitted content under section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Storage providers, websites and ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are considered protected under 230(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act. No cases in the US have specifically accused websites of CP and 230©(1) and it is considered a safe harbor, but has never been tried. If you require more specific information, we recommend you discussing this with your legal representation.
Contracts are locked in at whatever rate the host sets and the renter agrees upon at the beginning of the contract. If the price of Siacoin fluctuates significantly during the contract, the host will still receive the agreed upon amount of Siacoins upon successful completion of the contract, though the coins may be worth more or less in fiat at that time. The renter will not be affected, as they acquired their Siacoins and spent them when they were committed to the host at the beginning of the contract, and therefore before the fluctuation in price occurred.
Hosts can mitigate changes in Siacoin price by adjusting their host pricing accordingly. “Automatic Host Pricing” is in the Sia Roadmap, which may help mitigate price changes in the future.
Hosts are incentivized to maintain a good uptime, among other host metrics, by a host scoring system. See Host Scoring for details.
Possibly! Depending on your electricity costs, your GPU, and the market price of Siacoin, mining can be quite profitable. Check out the “Mining Earnings” calculator on SiaPulse to get an estimate of your earnings from mining.
Generally, the exchange is responsible for any significant delays in a withdrawal. Ultimately, you'll probably need to contact the exchange's support to help troubleshoot, but here are some things you can check first:
There are two main ways to purchase Siafunds: