On the 28th of June, Sia reached its first production ready release, the mighty one point zero. With this milestone the development team at Nebulous Inc have accomplished a solid decentralized storage solution that is fully functional and robust.
Imagine Dropbox, but without a company running the central servers. You can pick who you let store your files according to their cryptographically proven uptime, fee structure, and geographical location. You then pay the person hosting the server directly for their storage space. Once you’ve made a selection, a contract is entered into between the renter (you) and the host, with the host putting up money as collateral that they will not lose your files for the duration of the contract. Upon completion of the contract, the renter can renew the contract or cancel it. The host can’t change the fees on a renter mid-contract, and if they lose files, they lose the collateral. The files you store are encrypted before being transferred. If you need more space than a single host is offering, you enter into multiple contracts.
Sia Stands Out
Sia is different from solutions like Dropbox or Google Drive. In fact, Sia is more like Amazon’s S3, with some key differences:
- Storage is distributed.
- Renters set the criteria for hosts they want to use.
- The blockchain ensures performance.
- Anyone can host.
At the time of writing, there are over 144 hosts on the network, with more than 300 TB of storage on offer. Monthly storage costs range from $0.0006 to $0.02 per gigabyte, with the average being $0.006. Price-wise, Sia is cheaper than all of the options AWS has to offer.
Tit For Tat
If you run a server or have a computer that is always on, you can host files on the Sia network. Install the software, set up the connection, buy some Siacoin, and start hosting. For 40 GB of space, you can expect to earn around $0.50 per month. I know this doesn’t seem like much, it’s would allow you to store 6GB on the network – with multiple redundancy levels – for free.
Hosts like Dropbox, Amazon, and Google Drive index your files. Even if they are encrypted, the encryption keys aren’t yours. If a Government agency wants to look at your cloud files, they can force these hosts to open the doors for them. Even if you’re only a person of interest in a case, most nations have probable cause for a warrant to go snooping through your files. It doesn’t matter if you have nothing to hide. That’s still a problem. With Sia, if the police want to go through your files, they need to get you to hand over the passphrase to your private key. They can’t target the hosts directly, they don’t know who has what. they can’t read the files, because they are encrypted before they are sent.
There are plans to implement a full S3 compatible API. Soon we will see CMS plugins and tools that allow backups to be created and stored on the Sia network. As more and more people hear about Sia, and shift the way they think about privacy, the network will grow, and the system will become even more profitable.