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.
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.
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.
Sia was conceived at HackMIT in 2013 by David Vorick and Luke Champine. Over time, the crew has grown into the US and EU-based Nebulous team, the core developers of Sia.
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 Contributor's Guide if you're interested in writing code for Sia and further decentralizing the project!
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 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.