Sia 101

Let's take it from the top.

Sia has a few important terms that you'll want to get familiar with. These will be explained in more detail in their related sections, but here's a short sample.

  • Node: Your instance or installation of Sia.

  • Renter: Someone who uploads files to the network.

  • Host: Someone who lends their storage space so others can upload files to the network.

  • Contracts: Formed between renter and host, contracts determine how much data is being stored, for how long, and at what price. These are automatically tracked and completed by the software and blockchain.

  • Siacoins: The cryptocurrency that powers Sia.

  • Siafunds: A secondary, revenue-sharing token on the network that grants the holder Siacoins for every completed contract.

What Sia does

When a file gets uploaded to Sia, it gets split up, encrypted, and sent all over the world. Renters upload files, hosts store those files, and everything is automated. Once you upload your files, the network ensures that they're always accessible to you by copying them multiple times. And they're never accessible to hosts because they only receive pieces of whole files that are already encrypted.

Why it's here

Sia’s core goal is to bring decentralization to data storage. We want you to be able to store your data in a way that gives you full, exclusive control. We want to make sure you're protected against theft, censorship, and that you are never denied access to your data by hackers, miners, developers, or a government body. Your data belongs to you.

Who makes Sia?

Sia was conceived at HackMIT in 2013 by David Vorick and Luke Champine. The founders formed Nebulous Labs and later Skynet Labs to develop Sia. More recently, the Sia Foundation was formed as a non-profit dedicated to leading core development into the future.

Community contribution

While there is a distinct development and operations team, dozens of individuals have contributed to the core code or apps built on top of the network. Check out our GitHub repositories if you're interested in following along or writing code for Sia and further decentralizing the project!

Renting on Sia

When you upload files to Sia, you become a renter. You upload files to other users who have made their space available, called hosts. We use the term renter because Sia creates contracts with other hosts:

  • to store a certain amount of data

  • for a certain period of time

  • for a certain amount of money

Hosting on Sia

Hosting means you are contributing your excess storage space to Sia. You're helping to keep data where it belongs – safely in the hands of those who uploaded it, the renters.

You also earn Siacoin, the cryptocurrency that powers the Sia network. Siacoin can be used to purchase your own storage space, or converted to other cryptocurrency or fiat on crypto exchanges.

Hosts are a critical part of the ecosystem. You are contributing to the decentralized network that is the heart of Sia.

The Sia core software

Please note that while much of the documentation is written for siad and Sia-UI. We are actively transitioning to renterd, hostd, and walletd and will be updating all documentation to reflect this new software.

The original core Sia software consists of siad and Sia-UI. This software is currently being deprecated and replaced with the new software outlined below.

  • siad is a daemon that can be used via CLI. siad supports renting, hosting, wallets, and more - essentially all-in-one software for using Sia.

  • Sia-UI is siad wrapped with a graphical user interface.

The Sia Foundation has been developing a new suite of software that improves on siad and takes a more modular approach, with separate software for renting, hosting, wallet, and explorer. The software is generally more scalable, performant, and easier to integrate.

The new software is:

  • renterd is a next-generation Sia renter, developed by the Sia Foundation. It aims to serve the needs of both everyday users -- who want a simple interface for storing and retrieving their personal data -- and developers -- who want to a powerful, flexible, and reliable API for building apps on Sia.

  • hostd is an advanced Sia host solution created by the Sia Foundation, designed to enhance the experience for storage providers within the Sia network. Tailored for both individual and large-scale storage providers, hostd boasts a user-friendly interface and a robust API, empowering providers to efficiently manage their storage resources and revenue. hostd incorporates an embedded web-UI, simplifying deployment and enabling remote management capabilities, ensuring a smooth user experience across a diverse range of devices.

  • walletd is a watch-only wallet server. It does not have access to any private keys, only addresses derived from those keys. Its role is to watch the blockchain for events relevant to particular addresses. The server therefore knows which outputs are spendable by the wallet at any given time, and can assist in constructing and broadcasting transactions spending those outputs. However, signing transactions is the sole responsibility of the client.

  • explored An explorer backend for Sia.

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