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Introduction to Sia and Skynet#

Sia is a layer 1 solution, decentralized storage. Anyone can become a renter (pays for storage) or a host (earns money by providing storage). Skynet builds on top of it and uses Sia as its backbone for layer 2 solution that can be best described as decentralized internet.

The fact you are reading this right now means you are interested in Sia and Skynet, aware of at least one of these, and want to learn more because:

  • You like Sia, want to "invest" into SC and want to store your coins securely. In order to do that, check out How does Sia and Skynet work section and its guides, specifically Trading and Wallets.
  • You have unused storage on your drives, or are planning to buy some big drives and start providing that storage to others for money. Then continue to Hosting - Get paid for your storage section.
  • You want to use decentralized storage for private data backups and want to manage everything by yourself. In that case, you want to use Sia directly and check out Renting - Using Sia for Private Backups section.
  • You want to use decentralized storage for both public and private data backups, but not being limited to that. You also want to share files and benefit from everything that decentralized internet can offer to you. In that case, you are looking for Sia's extension called Skynet and its rapidly growing amount of content/apps where everything can interact and all your data are your own. Did you ever regret spending years to build your community and content on centralized platforms only to never be able to leave it and take everything with yourself. On Skynet, every piece of data belongs to the user and if some developers makes a better app, you can switch in a second. If this sounds good, see it for yourself how deep this rabbit hole goes and Explore the Skynet, Decentralized Internet.
  • Or you are a developer who want to expand the ecosystem and build awesome stuff. Then Develop with Skynet is the section you're looking for.

For further technical details about each of these layers I recommend to check out our dedicated guides: - Sia, Decentralized Storage (Layer 1) - Skynet, Decentralized Internet (Layer 2)

Rest of this introduction is going to be dedicated to parties that brought us Sia and Skynet.

Sia Foundation is a non-profit organisation led by Luke Champine and funded (fork happened in February 2021) by addition of 30,000 SC (that is thirty thousand for those europeans out there) to block reward (you can find more details in the Proposal that was very warmly accepted by the community). While the inflation increased slightly (especially compared to majority of other projects), it allowed Sia Foundation to focus on parts of the Sia core tech that were previously difficult to justify for a VC funded company.

So far (October 2021), Sia Foundation released following quarterly reports where you can transparently see their finance management, hiring process and what they are working on: - - -

Since these reports cover things you might ask about now, this article won't dig into it. If interested, just read the reports.

Foundation promised to use the funds to help the Sia core tech to be more stable, efficient and user friendly. Most requested features are host stability fixes and improvements, small file support and Utreexo which is feature dramatically reducing blockchain requirements so lite nodes become a reality. That will open entire new world of possibilities on all kinds of devices. Foundation also promised to provide legal support to nodes participating on Sia network and burn any coins that it is unable to use for overall good and growth of the ecosystem. This was later also confirmed in 2021 Q3 report linked above.

Official place to come and communicate with Sia Foundation is its forum.

Skynet Labs is re-branded Nebulous, Inc., the company that created Sia with its founder and CEO, David Vorick. Since it is just re-branding of company, the entire team is the same with exception of Luke who continues to focus on Sia core.

For majority of 2020, Skynet Labs were already focusing on task that community was asking several years for. Getting Sia adoption grow. Skynet is biggest product built with Sia and it is directly integrated in it. Where Sia is trying to compete in decentralized cloud storage space, Skynet competes with entire centralized internet and offers an alternative. How this fight will look, that remains to be seen but it’s clear it opens attractive space for developers, content creators and their followers. It introduces users to completely new way of using internet. In a way where they control own data and decide which (client-side) application can access them.

But what does this all mean? It means that this split is good for anyone interested in Sia. It doesn’t mean the project is abandoned and devs are working on something else - it's the opposite, the technology is expanding from private storage to use cases that mainstream users need. For first time in Sia’s history, it is going to maintain presence on two battlefields. Sia Foundation will do everything in best interest of Sia, its technology, ecosystem and participants. And Skynet will be main force driving the adoption in a way that everyone and everything can use it without any pre-requirements.

Since Skynet uses Sia, it uses Siacoin (SC). It creates awareness and demand for the token to be used. By users who want to store data, by hosts as collateral and reward and by Skynet Portals who pay for activity of their users. This all is kind of usage that is on top of the only kind of usage that majority of projects has – the always present speculation. Also the bigger the network and amount of stored and accessed data, the more it will be rewarding for the Siafund holders. It’s win for everyone involved. The incentives feel to be just right and entire collective behind this site awaits the future with excitement and passion.

Written by: Danger, Last Edit: October 26, 2021