How to

Tutorial: Storing files on the blockchain with SIA

Each time we have more data and less space to store it. Maximum computer addicts, although this problem is not alien to the rest of the population. How many of us have come across that annoying symbol of little space on our devices. Maybe some people think “But I have a high-end device with 128 GB of internal storage” well, don’t worry, in 2009 having 2 gigabytes of storage on our devices was an exaggeration and having 4 GB of expandable storage was a waste of space. So don’t worry, one day you will have to save your files somewhere else, as your 128Gb will be full.

Every day the amount of created data increases, and the problem is: where to store it. One of the options of the last decade was storage stto the cloud, a great option, but not at very low prices, nor that safe. Options like Apple’s iCloud offer 2 TeraBytes of storage services for just $20 per month. Economical, right? But there is a precedent that many Hollywood celebrities remember very well. In March 2017, more than 300 million iCloud accounts were hacked and their “explicit” content was published online. Now, are you sure these types of options are right for you?

So what would you think if you could pay the same amount of storage for a fraction of the original price and also count on your data being stored on encrypted and decentralized networks? Well, no, we’re not talking about fantasy Sia storage service offers that.

Sia is a storage service which divides your files into parts and shares them in its own blockchain, ensuring, above all, that there are no middlemen or people outside of us who can see our data. Likewise, our files, in the event that any node on the network fails, will be simultaneously distributed to all nodes on the network; That is, there is no risk of loss. Finally, because of the encryption our data receives, only we have the key to view it. Synthesizing: it is a blockchain network storage service that offers us high security and low cost.

But how low are those costs? Let’s look at the following comparison table, setting the storage margin at 5 terabytes.

Price comparison chart of monthly costs between different cloud storage service providers

As we can see, we can achieve savings of up to 90%, and we will also have the advantage that our data will not be compromised.

Now that it’s clear what Sia is, it’s time to give it a try.

SIA download and installation

Start we need to download a client to create a node on the Sia networkfor this we will go to the main portal Is; In the top menu, we will click on «Downloads» and we will download the version for our operating system. Something to note: this guide focuses on the storage section of the Sia network, but Sia also offers hosting services, Siacoin mining software, as well as the Sia API for your deployments. That’s why when downloading we have to select the files that are under the section SIA-UI.

After downloading the file, we will extract the folder and run the Sia-UI file, which will open the following.

Sia main interface

Here we will find the main Sia interface, where we can manage our Siacoin wallet and files found online. We will also monitor subscriptions to Sia storage services. In the upper right corner, when running, we will see a bar that tells us that Sia is syncing with its blockchain; This may take some time due to the size of this network, so don’t despair, it will all depend on your provider’s internet speed.

The first thing to do in this whole process is to create a wallet and get us siacoin. But what is Siacoin? It is the platform’s own cryptocurrency, which is used to pay for services that Sia offers, such as storage services.

Knowing this, we will create a portfolio from the application, to do this we will click on «Wallet» which will show us next.

This menu will only appear when we open the program for the first time, and we haven’t created a portfolio yet.

Here we will click for the first time «Create a new wallet» which will generate a new wallet for us.

Always remember to store these types of keys on physical media, such as: written down on a piece of paper.

The phrases that appear on the screen correspond to our recovery phrases. These must be kept in a safe place, so if we want to restore our wallet to another device, it is possible to use these words. It is recommended to store these words on a physical medium, such as a piece of paper.this way theft due to hacking is avoided.

Once we have copied our recovery phrases, we will click on the button below where we will enter the previously copied words, including the spaces between the words.

Don’t forget to insert our phrase in order and respecting the spaces between the words

We will click on «Unlock» and we will wait a few minutes until our wallet is unlocked.

Sia wallet ready to use

We already have our portfolio ready. It’s time to get Siacoin, with which we can buy storage space on the platform. We have to consider that 1 TB costs ~500 SC, which is about $5 at the current Bitcoin price (2500). To get Siacoin we can follow the following steps:

The first step: Exchange our fiat or circulating currency for bitcoins, we can do this on portals like Localbitcoins. If you already have bitcoin, skip this step.

Second step: Exchange our bitcoins for Siacoin. For that we will use exchanges like Poloniex, Shapeshift Fr Bitsquare.

The third step: Transfer Siacoin to our wallet. To get our wallet address, we need to select an option from our wallet menu Receive Siacoinwhich will show us a dialog box with the address.

With Siacoin in our wallet, we’ll be ready to start storing files.

Upload files to Sia

To start sending files, we need to set the allocation, that is, determine the amount of Siacoin that will be used to upload and download files to Sia, this means that each upload or download of files will be equivalent to a cost in Siacoin. This assignment lasts for 3 months and automatically renews halfway through the period.

It’s time to complete our first task; To do this, in the top menu, we will click on «Fillet” about “Create Allowances«.

This is the first step to start uploading files online.

In this field we need to enter the amount of Siacoin for the corresponding task. It does not matter that this amount exceeds what is available in our portfolio; Recall that this task only defines how much space we will need.

Before we continue, let’s understand what contracts are in Sia: Contracts are agreements between a customer and a storage service provider., taking into account that in this network the same users offer storage space. These contracts are created automatically after a task is set up, and are renewed, as we mentioned earlier, halfway through the lease period.

Well, to be clear about this, as we mentioned, it doesn’t matter if Siacoin’s allocation exceeds our wallet funds, because Sia will use the available amount of funds to create as many contracts as possible.

On the other hand, we have that Sia requires a minimum of 20 contracts to be able to upload files, to give more redundancy to our data and have very low loss rate, thanks to the Sia storage algorithm. This is because in the event that one of the storage nodes fails, our file can be rebuilt from any of the remaining ones.

Let’s continue. After you enter the amount, we’ll click on «Accept» and we will wait for the contracts to be created that match the task. We will immediately see several movements in our portfolio.

It just means that they deduct the cost of each contract from us. If you deposited more Siacoins than what was available in your wallet, they will stop as soon as there are no more funds available in our wallet. In case you want to add more contracts, and the allocation amount you have placed is greater than what is available in your portfolio at the time of creation, you just need to add more funds to your portfolio to generate new contracts; Otherwise, you must create a new task.

Here the assignment is set and the corresponding contracts are created.

What we see is our storage interface ready to upload files. As we can see at the top, we find the contracts that could be created from our available funds, as well as the amount of Siacoin spent and the allocation we invested in it, which in our case was 1000.

To start uploading files, we need at least 20 contracts. If so, let’s click Upload Files. Hovering the mouse over the button will display a menu: in case we want to upload the entire folder, we will click on Upload Folder; If you upload only one file, we will click the menu button. Then a selection box will appear where we will only search for the file.

In the section File Transfer We will be able to see the status of files that are uploaded or downloaded from the network. We will also find a list that shows us our files online.

Although the file is small, it may take time to sync with the network.

To download, modify or delete our file, we just have to click on one of these and a menu will appear at the bottom.

From this menu you can download the file, rename it or delete it.

The download may take some time, as the file must be synced and found among your storage providers, then reconstructed and downloaded, bearing in mind that the file is fragmented over the network.

Reviews about Sia

In terms of cost, Sia has no competition. It is one of the most economical services in the cloud storage market. Added to this is its security and guarantee that our files will not be lost thanks to the fact that they are stored simultaneously on different nodes. Likewise, there is anonymity associated with the files: since only we can see them, there is no way for other entities to view or delete them, as is the case with other storage services.

Although not everything can be rosy. One of the main disadvantages that Sia has is the synchronization time with its blockchain, this can take weeks depending on how long the application has been active and the internet speed we have. Also, there’s the fact that we can’t create shared folders, and currently Sia doesn’t exist for mobile devices.

On the other hand, to avoid bad times, we must always use the latest version of the Sia client. We don’t need to do much, just download and open the latest file and it will open with the same configuration as the previous one. This is because the platform may present some bugs when using previous versions.

Despite these clear shortcomings, they do not overshadow all the potential that Sia has to offer. Let us recall that decentralized blockchain technologies are in full expansion, and Instant confirmation of your transactions is just a matter of time. All we have to do is try them out

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