Overview of Siacoin
Sia is a decentralized storage platform secured by blockchain technology. The Sia Storage Platform leverages underutilized hard drive capacity around the world to create a data storage marketplace that is more reliable and lower cost than traditional cloud storage providers.
Your data is sliced up, encrypted, and stored on nodes all across the globe to eliminate any single point of failure and ensure the highest possible uptime. Since you hold the keys, you own your data. No outside company can access or control your files.
Currently, Siacoin runs on charging the host for bandwidth and storage used for the file. We think this leaves the file especially vulnerable when the host stops watching and paying for the file. Additionally, the host might not have the ability to buy Siacoin quickly. We want to make decentralized storage truly free for all.
What it does
To mitigate this issue, we're creating an ad-supported upload and download web server portal that will allow the file to sustain itself monetarily on the network.
To use, the user will visit the site, upload the file after watching an ad and then receive a download link as well as their Sia permanent link. They could then disseminate the links to the users who would like to access the file.
Based on these calculations the Sia Cost: (prices as of 9/4/19)
Storage $0.68 / 1TB $6.8E-7/1MB Upload $0.11 /1TB $1.1E-7/1MB Download $0.59 /1TB $5.9E-7/1MB
We can clearly see that one 30 second video ad ~$0.01 can conservatively handle the price of 1gb of data on a download. One 30 second video ad on upload can also cover close to a year of hosting. One could say this isn't the true cost as explained below but we'll use this as a rough order of magnitude approximation.
We tried using a Node.Js server backend to get the files into the Siacoin. We had some difficulties understanding the API and understanding how the Sia daemon uses the Node.Js server to fully do everything we need. Additionally, It was difficult to get the Sia client working.
Still if we got the right configuration working, the upload side of the file would have to go to the web server, then uploaded to Sia. On the reverse side, the file needs to be queried from Sia to the web server, then downloaded to the client. In summary, this increases the bandwidth requirements considerably to use Sia as the final destination which will increase costs.
However, there are situations that this could make sense. On fairly small files, few ads could cover all of these costs anyway. One could assert that the bandwidth is the majority cost of the file hosting so this is only useful for mostly cold storage. However, as long as the original Sia path is known, the file is not reliant on the central web server shutting down. This allows the file to stay up indefinitely as multiple client software can still access the file. One could simply recover their password for their Sia files they uploaded and still access them.
What's next for Sustainable Ad-Supported Blockchain File Storage
Of course, this is all in the abstract. Due to difficulties getting the wallet working, much development would have to be done in the future. This idea was thought up by our hackathon team and we think might have promise in the future for Sia.