Category: Siacoin (SC)

Sia May-August 2017 Update

It’s August, so this means it’s time for our second triannual update! We published the first update in April, and are excited to continue this new tradition. This post is long, but read on if you want to understand Sia’s amazing progress over the last four months and our goals for this year.

We also realize that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the air, and we hope this post helps reassure our community. We’ve seen unprecedented community growth in the past few months, and we so much appreciate all your support and excitement for our product and our vision. So far, we’ve built a truly-decentralized, functional cloud storage network that allows users to upload files, hosts to sell storage space, and miners to generate Siacoin. We are one of the only projects in the blockchain space with a working product. We are committed to building Sia into a true Amazon S3 competitor, and ultimately into the storage layer for the entire internet.

We are committed to building Sia into a true Amazon S3 competitor, and ultimately into the storage layer for the entire internet.

Our Vision

At Sia, we believe in decentralization. We believe that your data should be fully private and in your control. We believe that everyone in the world should have equal access to affordable data storage, and should be able to tap into that storage layer without any centralized party getting in the way.

We want to liberate the unused storage space of the world and unite it into a worldwide free market for data storage. This means that, rather than data being stored in giant data centers controlled by Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others, it will be stored across thousands of Sia nodes — both large and small — throughout the globe.

Moreover, we want to produce an enterprise-grade platform. We do not only want to empower individual users; we want to also empower companies like Dropbox, Netflix, Slack, and so many others to store their data securely and for a fraction of existing prices with Sia.

We do not only want to empower individual users; we want to also empower companies like Dropbox, Netflix, Slack, and so many others

We’ve come a long way in the last three years. Today you can download Sia and securely upload files to a large network of several hundred hosts. You can sell your unused storage space and receive Siacoin, or you can hook up your GPUs (and soon your Obelisk ASIC miners) and mine Siacoin.

But, of course, we have a long way to go. On our roadmap you’ll find file sharing, video streaming, and other features that are necessary to compete with Amazon. We are confident we will deliver on these features, and more, and build Sia into the storage layer of the internet. And we have an amazing head start — we are years ahead of everyone else in the space.

Siacoin

We want to reassure the community that, contrary to some recent speculation, we very much care about the price of Siacoin. We know that a higher coin price means more credibility for the project and a more excited, engaged community. We also know that many of you have purchased Siacoin, at many different entry prices, hoping to make a significant return. Thank you so much for putting your faith in our team.

The recent Boston Globe article discussed the challenges of building an enterprise-grade cloud storage network with a fluctuating Siacoin price. We were excited to be featured on the homepage of the Business section, but some of the quotes were not provided with sufficient context. The Siacoin price is very important to us. As a company, we do not spend our efforts trying to pump the coin price with paid advertising, exaggerated claims, or impossible forward-looking statements. Instead we spend the vast majority of our efforts on software development, building our decentralized cloud storage network. This will naturally increase the coin’s value in a far more sustainable way.

Instead we spend the vast majority of our efforts on software development, building our decentralized cloud storage network.

Since the end of April, Siacoin has massively increased from a market cap of $30 million, to a high of $600 million, to about $250 million at the time of writing. These kinds of rises and falls are pretty standard in crypto, and we are excited to see such large gains for Siacoin in such a short period of time.

We are fully committed to seeing Siacoin in the top ten cryptocurrencies. We believe that we should be in the top ten, as we have one of the most ambitious visions, one of the best development teams, and one of the only working products in the entire crypto space. We will get there by building an incredible product surrounded by a strong organization. We are in this for the long-term.

Development

We released version 1.3.0 Capricorn in July. The update was packed with features, but remote file repair is the most important.

If a host goes offline or loses user data, the Sia software quickly selects a new host and uploads the necessary encrypted chunks of files. Before v1.3.0, users had to store local copies of all uploaded files in order to perform this repair process. This meant that Sia could not be used for backup or archival purposes, as all uploaded data must also remain on users’ computers.

But now, with remote file repair in v1.3.0, users can delete the data locally after uploading to Sia.

But now, with remote file repair in v1.3.0, users can delete the data locally after uploading to Sia. The data will live on the Sia nodes, and bad hosts can be replaced automatically without having to retain local copies of user data. This means that, with v1.3.0, Sia is finally ready for archives and backups, and is a large step closer to being an Amazon S3 replacement.

v1.3.0 Capricorn was released in July

v1.3.0 also included important network scalability fixes to address some growing pains caused by a huge increase in transaction volume. And now users can run the same Sia wallet on multiple computers, download the blockchain twice as fast, and enjoy a less buggy and more stable experience.

Team

Since our last triannual update, I dropped out of Harvard Business School to join Sia as VP of Operations. We also hired Marcin, an MIT student and their Bitcoin Club President, as Software Engineering Intern. And we are thrilled to announce that, this week, Steve is joining the team, and Chris will soon be joining as well.

Steve is joining us as Community Manager. He’s worked in training and support for both Apple and Comcast, and has grown his own Youtube gaming channel to over 100,000 subscribers. Steve will be working hard to improve the experience across all our social channels, with a focus on moderation and tech support.

Chris is a longtime Sia contributor, and he will soon be joining us as a Core Developer. He’s worked on the wallet and host reliability scoring, and is currently working on host scalability, automatic host pricing, and further reduced blockchain sync time.

Here is an updated list of the Sia team:

  • David Vorick: Cofounder, CEO, Core Developer
  • Luke Champine: Cofounder, President, Core Developer
  • Ava Howell: Core Developer
  • Chris Schinnerl: Core Developer
  • Marcin Jachymiak: Software Engineering Intern
  • Zach Herbert: VP of Operations
  • Steve Funk: Community Manager

Funding

To date, Nebulous (Sia’s parent company) has raised $1.65 million from a combination of venture capital, angel investors, and grants. We were thrilled to receive a $400,000 grant from INBlockchain in July to further support Sia’s growth. This grant came with no strings attached — Li Xiaolai, INBlockchain’s founder, is a Siacoin holder and angel investor in Nebulous.

Additionally, our Obelisk presale has so far brought in almost $4 million of revenue. While this is being used to fund the design of 28nm ASICs for Siacoin and the production of mining hardware, profits from Obelisk will help further fund Sia’s growth and development.

In the last three years, we’ve shown that we can do a lot with limited funds.

In the last three years, we’ve shown that we can do a lot with limited funds. We’ve delivered the only truly-decentralized cloud storage product on the market, with our own proof-of-work blockchain. We’ve been very effective at deploying our capital, and have so far chosen to allocate the majority to software development.

We plan to seek new funding in the near future in order to further accelerate our growth. These funds will continue to fuel our software development, but they will also be allocated to design, branding, marketing, sales, and PR. We’re confident that we can continue to effectively deploy our capital and stay far ahead of any other players in the decentralized storage space.

Design

For Obelisk, we placed a strong emphasis on design, working with talented designers to create a new brand and a new website. We will be turning this design focus to Sia-UI, Sia Explorer, and the Sia website. By the end of 2017, every existing Sia product and service will see a substantial design overhaul.

By the end of 2017, every existing Sia product and service will see a substantial design overhaul.

This will make our software more professional, more elegant, and far easier to use. Stay tuned!

Community

Our community has grown at crazy rates since April! Slack has grown from 2000 members to 8000, Twitter from 6000 followers to 23,000, and Reddit from 4000 subscribers to 13,000. We could not be more excited by the growth, and are looking forward to welcoming even more members to our community in the coming months.

As mentioned above, we’ve hired Steve as our Community Manager. He will help us support and grow the community, and will have a strong presence across all our channels.

We are migrating from Slack to Discord in the next couple weeks

We also have some big news! We will be moving from Slack to Discord in the coming weeks. Slack is built for company teams, and is lacking in capabilities and moderation tools. It is just not built for huge online communities — and with over 8000 members, we definitely qualify as huge!

We will be moving from Slack to Discord in the coming weeks.

Discord, on the other hand, is built for communities like ours. It includes complete message histories, member roles, moderation tools, voice chat, and many other fantastic features.

More details on the move will be posted on the blog soon! We hope you are as excited as we are.

Contributors

Our contributors are a crucial to Sia’s success. In the last release, we credited fourteen individuals for making substantial contributions. We also have a group of users currently working to build mining pool support directly into Sia’s core software.

Additionally, we have many community members building apps and hardware on top of Sia. Some dedicated users formed a new company, called Luxor, that is building an overhauled explorer, mining pool, and lite wallet. Minebox sold out its hardware presale. SiaDrive brings dropbox-style features, SiaBerryOS brings Sia to the Rasperry Pi, SiaHub has introduced an explorer, and the Wiki has grown substantially.

Many of our members have also contributed through moderating our fast-growing communities. We have an amazing group of Reddit mods, Slack admins, and Forum mods. And many others have developed apps, written user guides, helped answer support questions, and much more.

To all our contributors — thank you so much for helping grow and improve the Sia experience!

Bounties

We launched Sia Bounties last month to great success! Our first bounty was for a Minio integration for 300,000 SC, and it was completed in just days by David Gore (user dvstate).

You can learn more about the bounty here. Minio is a distributed object storage server, which allows users to connect to any data source (like S3, Azure, GCP), create buckets for file storage, and then share URLs to the files. It also provides an external S3-compatible API.

Minio’s web interface using Sia as backend storage

Minio has agreed to merge the integration into their upstream code, which means that the standard Minio version will come out-of-the-box with Sia support! Anyone who is currently using S3 can try out Minio, and experiment with replacing their backend storage with Sia today.

Minio has agreed to merge the integration into their upstream code, which means that the standard Minio version will come out-of-the-box with Sia support!

We will be announcing our second bounty this week to add Sia support for a backup-related application. Stay tuned.

Network Stats

We’ve seen excellent network growth over the last four months. Since April, we doubled the amount of file contracts from 100 TB to 200 TB. We tripled the storage capacity, from 1 PB to 3.3 PB. And the number of active hosts has increased almost 5x from 145 to 700.

Total contract size was about 100 TB in April, and now it is about 200 TB in August

We only released v1.3.0 a few weeks ago, and we expect that the amount of data stored will continue to increase at a rapid pace. By the end of the year, we are confident that we will see even larger increases in these stats.

Obelisk

We launched Obelisk, a subsidiary that is producing ASIC miners for Siacoin, in late June to much excitement — and to some controversy. ASIC miners do not have the best reputation, but Obelisk is a very important component of the Sia mission. I’ll summarize below, but you can read in much further detail on our blog post.

Rendering of an Obelisk ASIC chip for Siacoin mining

Security: The vast majority of cryptocurrencies today rely on GPU mining. This means that they are more vulnerable to attack, as there are countless numbers of GPUs in existence: in large Ethereum mining pools, corporate settings, government facilities, and more. With ASICs, in order to attack the Sia network, a malicious actor would have to buy or manufacture massive amounts of specialized hardware. ASICs make Sia far more secure.

Incentives: With GPU mining today, mining pools automatically switch to the most profitable coin. If a coin price decreases, large amounts of hashrate will switch over to a more profitable coin. This is convenient for miners, but very bad for network security and aligning incentives. With ASICs, miners have skin in the game — they can only mine Siacoin with their Obelisk hardware, so they are far more invested in Sia’s success.

Decentralization: At some point in the future, an individual or organization would have designed and manufactured ASICs for Siacoin. By being the first to do so, we can ensure that miners are widely distributed in a decentralized way by limiting the amount of hashrate we sell to a single party.

Our mission is to build an enterprise-grade storage layer for the entire internet. In order to accomplish that, network security, incentives, and decentralization are crucial. That’s why Obelisk is so important to our mission.

Network security, incentives, and decentralization are crucial. That’s why Obelisk is so important to our mission.

So far, the presale has been very successful! We’ve received preorders for about 1500 units, which has brought in almost $4 million of revenue. The sale is capped at 4000 units, but we will be shipping by June 2018 even if we do not hit the cap. The project is proceeding on-schedule, and we are looking forward to sharing the final chip specs in the next few weeks.

What’s Next

These are very exciting times for the Sia community. In the product roadmap, the most desired upcoming feature is file sharing between Sia users. This will help make Sia far more useful, and will create stronger network effects that will further increase our rate of growth. The roadmap further includes a ton of upgrades and improvements.

We also look forward to a larger community, Obelisk hardware designs and prototypes, exciting Sia integrations, and a redesigned Sia-UI and website. And we will raise more funding, which will allow us to expand the team and spend more on design, branding, marketing, sales, and PR.

Thank you for reading the update, and thank you for joining us on our journey to transform cloud storage. We had an incredible four months, and we are so much looking forward to the next four!

– Team Sia

Notable Reddit Post from our CEO

Notable Blog Posts

Notable Press Coverage

Notable Links


Sia May-August 2017 Update was originally published in Sia Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

<div class="infobox"><span class="appendinfo">This article was originally published on: <a href="https://blog.sia.tech/" target="_blank">The Siacoin Blog</a> on </span></div>