Cloud storage has, without a doubt, reshaped the way we interact with data as individuals and as a society. Countless organizations have come to rely on this technology and professional communication has completely transformed. From static and private, documents have become participative as sharing options gradually led to more collaborative models. As for non-professional users, many have come to depend on cloud storage for their personal photo collection or even to have all their important documents available across multiple platforms at a moment’s notice. However useful and revolutionary they may be, cloud storage alternatives do possess a significant security flaw. Because legacy providers offer centralized solutions, user data is indeed at risk of falling into the hands of anyone who manages to breach their servers. In addition, the data itself is not encrypted and could potentially be read and/or exploited by the providers themselves. This is where Siacoin (SC) comes in.
Let us take a look at how Siacoin proposes to counter the important privacy issues cloud storage presents thanks to decentralized storage in our Siacoin guide.
The Siacoin cryptocurrency: Introduction and definition
Siacoin (SC) is a blockchain-based cloud solution which puts a decentralized storage platform at its users’ disposal. In essence, it relies on the peers present on its network to provide hard drive space to prevent centralization and reduce overall costs.
What makes the Sia network so different is the fact that it does not simply store one file on one server. Instead, the cryptographically secure system deconstructs and encrypts each file before distributing “pieces” of data across the entire network. Thanks to this approach, Sia is able to reward its participants who fundamentally rent their own storage space out to those who need it. Any network member with unexploited hard drive space can offer it to the other users and get compensated in the form of Siacoin (SC), the network’s actual cryptocurrency. Many like to think of Sia as the Airbnb of hard drives.
This idea of a global, decentralized cloud storage platform originally belongs to David Vorick and Luke Champine, both of Nebulous Inc, a Boston startup funded by venture capital. As their project received much attention, they went on to pursue it full-time.
Their objective was to give users full control over their data, eliminate the risk of hacking and prevent data mismanagement. Siacoin (SC) therefore enhances security and is more aligned with current professional practices – such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).
How does Siacoin (SC) work?
Before the files are even uploaded to the Sia Network, they are split into 30 segments and each individual segment is assigned its own target. It is then duplicated to be distributed to several hosts across the worldwide network, thus creating redundancy, reinforcing uptime and increasing reliability. Unlike standard centralized cloud service practices, Siacoin (SC) encrypts the files prior to sending them to the hosts, who never have access to a readable version of the portion of file they are storing. This also prevents the eventuality of a host demanding exorbitant fees to grant access to the segment they hold and secures users in the case of a host going offline by guaranteeing constant file availability. SiaPulse thus provides real-time information about host locations all over the world.
File contracts bind hosts and clients to an agreement and ensure both parties are aware of their obligations. These smart contracts are stored on the Siacoin (SC) blockchain and hold information about uptime, pricing, etc. They also form a safety layer that the entire network benefits from. This model requires no third party to be involved at any stage of the host-client interaction. This means that hosts may refuse clients (if they deem the data unethical, or too sensitive, for instance) or promote their own services. As for the renters, they have full control over their data’s security and can split the files, copy them between several hosts or even pay extra on top of the provider’s basic fee to gain preferential treatment.
Typically, Siacoin (SC) smart contracts run for 90 days and are automatically renewed so long as there are funds in escrow. If the contract is not renewed, the client receives a refund for the remaining period. As for the providers, if they wish to get paid, they need to supply what Sia calls Proof of Storage, specified by the terms of the contract.
The SC Token
The SC Token – or Siacoin cryptocurrency – is used by the hosts and renters present on the platform. These micropayments are carried out off-chain using the Payment Channels technology (comparable to Bitcoin’s Lightning Network), providing an efficient and scalable solution.
The price of the Siacoin (SC) token itself has experienced some ups and downs, including a 1150% spike in June 2016 followed by a steady decline throughout the rest of that year. At the time of writing, it occupies rank 62 at the Market Cap and trades at $0.002996 USD.
Why use Siacoin?
Among the advantages of Siacoin is the exceptional level of privacy it offers. Any materials committed to storage require the client’s private key to be accessed and the files are always encrypted. Conversely, traditional cloud storage options make user data entirely accessible to the servers.
This also protects the files against any vulnerabilities that could potentially affect a centralized system. Plus, Sia’s redundant storage model prevents clients from being impacted by a single point of failure.
Another element worth mentioning is Siacoin (SC)’s affordability. While some of the more popular Cloud storage options hover around the $20 mark for a 1 TB monthly storage, the same capacity on Sia can cost as little as $2 a month.
Sia does not constitute the only offer on the decentralized storage market. Yet, it rises above the competition with the highest market cap and its very own blockchain.
The main drawback of Siacoin does remain speed, as is practically always the case for blockchain platforms when compared to such cloud storage giants as Amazon or Dropbox. One of the most fundamental reasons for that is a lack of global adoption. This, however, should not make anyone doubt Siacoin (SC)’s disruptive potential. As more and more users continue to trust if for their less time-sensitive documents (old photos, for instance) and to offer storage space, Sia will keep on gaining momentum.
How to buy Siacoin (SC) on Bitit?
Those wishing to invest in Siacoin (SC) can obtain coins through various means, including mining. Sia made their software quite user-friendly and provide detailed instructions to learn how to host data, store it, or mine the currency. Thanks to mining pools, such as SiaMining or Luxor, the process is not complicated.
Some well-known exchanges also offer BTC/SC or ETH/SC pairings, allowing you to acquire Siacoin tokens on the condition that you already hold crypto and are relatively familiar with DEX interfaces. The latter are not aimed at the layman and can be rather intimidating.
The third – and much more hands-off – option is to go through Bitit. It is not an exchange platform and acts more like a typical online shop instead. To purchase Siacoin (SC) from Bitit, you simply need to open an account, indicate how much SC you wish to get or how much of your own currency (EUR, USD, GBP, etc.) you are willing to spend and place your order. A few moments later, your tokens are sent to your personal e-wallet of choice.
How to store SC?
Sia put two native wallet options at their users’ disposal. The first is a command line interface named Sia Daemon, available on Windows, Mac and Linux. It should, however, be noted that it may not be the best choice for beginners as its technologically advanced functions do not make it user-friendly. Sia UI, on the other hand, offers a graphical user interface most people will find less confusing.
Third party options include Sia Android Wallet and Sia Central Lite Wallet. As for physical alternatives, Siacoin (SC) is supported by the Ledger Nano S, which is among the most reliable offline storage solutions on the market.
Siacoin news does report that the project is making significant progress within the crypto sphere. For instance, it was recently announced that SiaTechHQ would cooperate with Prometheus and benefit from Skynet’s support to create the very first entirely decentralized social network: Ignite. Siacoin (SC)’s disruptive potential is continuing to materialize in the form of innovative endeavors.