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What is Siacoin and How is it a threat to Dropbox and Amazon?

A Beginner’s Guide to Decentralized Cloud Storage

Siacoin

Within the crowded cryptomarket there is a variety of altcoins providing actual working services and it is very hard to keep track of every single one. Nevertheless, some of the hidden gems easily make their way to the spotlight. So, today we are talking in detail about the unnoticed cryptocurrency, Siacoin, its working principle and its applications.

What is Siacoin?

Sia is basically a decentralized cloud storage option. It provides a platform where users can host or access private decentralized clouds. All transactions, contracts and storage proofs are verified using the blockchain.

Sia can certainly reduce hosting and storage costs and is a threat to centralized legacy competitors like Dropbox, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple.

How does it work?

Sia’s basic idea is to decentralize cloud storage which means taking it from centralized providers and distributing it back to the individuals. This creates a peer-to-peer storage ecosystem where anyone can use or rent out spare hard drive storage space.
All transactions on the network are done via Siacoin and are secured through filing contracts and proof of storage that are verified using the blockchain’s public ledger.

Peer-to-peer storage ecosystem

The platform is accessible to both storage providers and clients.  Clients pay hosts for their storage spaces with Siacoin.

Storage providers are free to set prices, advertise their services and even set rules and penalties in case of lost files or other storage issues. They have the right to deny any client storage if they find their data problematic or suspicious.

On the other hand, clients are also provided with a set of protection options to safeguard their interest. Clients are allowed to distribute copies of their data among multiple providers in order to ensure security and file retrievability. For example, if a host loses a client’s data file or refuses to return it, the client can simply retrieve their file from other providers. Just like the hosts, clients can as well set contractual penalties for situations when providers withhold their data files or do not provide proof of storage.

Clients can also reward providers with additional tokens that are impetus for them to be more attentive toward the client’s needs and to offer enhanced services.

Proof of Storage

To ensure protection against frauds, Sia, demands providers to present ‘proof of storage’ in order to get paid. The proofs are to be presented to the network within the time span agreed by both the parties in the file contract.

If a provider fails to submit the proof of storage within the provided timeline, the payment is transferred to a ‘missed proof address’ until the proof of storage is provided. The contract can also be suspended entirely if too many proof of storage are missed by the provider.

File contracts

When a client and a provider settle business, a ‘file contract’ is drafted that is stored on Sia’s blockchain instead of provider’s storage where everything else is stored.

The file contract stored on the public ledger ensures that both the parties abide by the terms and conditions of the storage agreement. The contractual terms are also flexible depending upon future conditions.

File contract provides high level of security by storing the date and time of when a provider is to submit proof of storage or when other events of the deal are to take place.

When contracts are created, clients upload a collective amount of Siacoins in the contracts for future payments. With every document requested for storage, a specific amount of Siacoins is transferred to the provider. At the end of the deal, the remaining coins (if any) are returned to the client’s wallet.

The decision of choosing a provider is entirely in the hands of clients. They can select any provider keeping in view their reputation, storage reliability, and requirements. Similarly a provider has the option to accept or deny a client storage request based on the client’s demands.

Credits: CoinCentral.com
Credits: CoinCentral.com

What’s so unique about Sia?

As compared to its competitors, Sia offers a wide range of benefits on its network:

  • Security: All data on Sia is encrypted and secured from vulnerabilities, as it is processes through a decentralized network rather than a centralized system. Moreover, user’s storage files are copied and split between multiple providers to avoid data loss in case of any storage problem.
  • Affordability: As compared to rivals like Amazon, Sia stores data at a much cheaper rate. Prices are set by providers and therefore clients have a number of options to choose from.

“On average, Sia’s decentralized cloud storage costs 90% less than incumbent cloud storage providers. Storing 1TB of files on Sia costs about $2 per month, compared with $23 on Amazon S3” – Sia

  • Data Privacy: Users’ stored data files cannot be accessed by anyone not even the provider unless they have data’s private key. Unlike traditional cloud storage providers that have complete access to clients’ stored data.

    Credits: CoinCentral.com

A quick peek into Sia’s trading history

Just like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Siacoin is also a major contender in the crypotcurrency space.

Siacoin Chart

The cryptocurrency, like most of the digital currencies, soared explosively in the December-January time period. From just under a cent in November, Siacoin jumped to an all time high of $0.11 in January.

Currently, Siacoin trades at $0.04 and is listed at 28th position on CoinMarketCap

Where to buy Siacoin and where to store it?

The crypto-asset can be bought in Bitcoin or Ethereum trading pairs from UpBit, Bitterex and Poloniex. Bitterex accounts for 48 percent of Siacoin trading while UpBit accounts for 42 percent (with both BTC and ETC trading pairs). While Poloniex accounts for only 9.26 percent with its BTC trading pair only.

Siacoin is stored in its official wallets, present on Sia’s website.

Road-map and future plans

The team behind Sia is working hard on its network and aims to improve its services very soon. In the short term, they plan to speed up contract processing time from 60 minutes to just 5 minutes, allow file sharing between users, recover files from wallet seeds, allow partial/fragmentary downloads and fix bugs.

Whereas, in the long term, the Sia team wants to implement video streaming, improve the service to support files greater than 10TB at a single time, allow clients to blacklist/white list providers, add features to enable file sharing with networks outside of Sia and add mobile support.

As a cryptocurrency, Sia looks quite promising. It has the potential to disrupt the traditional storage providing platforms and solely rule the market.

Disclaimer: This article is originally posted on CoinCentral.com.

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