Archive for the ‘Crypto Coins’ Category

sia-1

We are continuing our recent look into blockchain-based storage services such as Storj and crypto coins that are mineable with HDD such as Burst with another similar service that is more like Storj and Burst combined into one – the Sia. This project offers users to store files in the cloud using other users’ free disk space and people with free disk space to earn something extra by providing it to the network. Sia uses SiaCoin, a crypto currency token that is used for getting contracts to store your files as well as to get paid for sharing your free disk space. The SiaCoin is also available for mining in a more traditional way, so you might want to try that as well as an alternative way for obtaining the crypto currency token used by the service instead of trading it on an exchange. So far, so good everything sounds promising, especially considering that Sia is already operating a working network, though still in beta, with users hosting and buying space as well as mining. The question is how well it all works out and is it worth spending time and free space or even mining at this point in time, we wanted to know exactly this…

The Sia wallet integrates all of the basic functionality you need in order to operate with the service including the options to create contracts and upload files as well as to access them or to lease your free disk space to users needing such. This means that the wallet needs to be running all the time and that goes as well if you want to be able to mine SiaCoins as well. Currently SiaCoins can be mined using a GPU miner, an OpenCL one that works on both AMD and Nvidia GPUs, though it should be faster on AMD-based video cards. You can expect to get up to about 900 MHs from a Radeon 280X or a GeForce GTX 970 as a reference, but do note that the miner for Sia is also pretty CPU intensive, so if running with multiple GPUs the hashrate may slow down if the CPU gets overloaded. So far the Sia GPU miner needs quite a lot of extra work to become really useful, there are still no pools for SiaCoin mining and you need a running and unlocked wallet on each system you want to mine Sia on. Furthermore you need to run a separate instance of the GPU miner for each GPU you want ot mine the coin with, so with the current network difficulty and solo mining it may take quite a while until you hit a block, making the mining not to attractive.

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To get to try sharing some files by renting some space on the Sia network you can use a faucet to get some SiaCoins, however it seems that the faucet has some downtime, so alternatively you can purchase SiaCoins from Poloniex where they are traded with a price of 7 satoshi per SiaCoin (pretty cheap). You can see what is the average price per GB per month in SiaCoins in the wallet among the currently active available hosts to get an idea how much you may need to spend depending on your storage needs. So with 200 SiaCoins per GB per month if you need 1TB of storage you would need to pay for it about 0.014 BTC equivalent or a little over $5 USD each month. The service encrypts the files and apparently stores them on multiple hosts in order to ensure availability even if one of the hosts experiences some downtime. The problem here is that managing your files from within the Sia wallet is not the most convenient you would expect, so this is also something that needs work as alternative cloud storage services like DropBox and many others do provide much more convenient access to user’s files.

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The part where you are Hosting user files and are getting paid in SiaCoin in return is probably what more people are interested in. Here you set your price in SiaCoin per GB per month and the amount of free space you want to have available for sale and start waiting for getting contracts from people that need space. Dedicating 100 GB does not mean that they will be instantly filled at the moment even if you set a very low price of just 10 SiaCoins, it is wise to see what is the average price at the moment and base yours accordingly in order to get contracts as well as for them to be profitable. Based on your active contracts you will see what is the expected earnings that you will get at the end of the contract if you manage to fill them in. It is not very clear what level of downtime is acceptable before a contract is cancelled, but restarting the wallet a couple of times did not pose a problem for our few test contracts at a very low price. What is important here for providing Hosting services via Sia is that you need to be able to have your PC running the wallet accessible via an external IP, you can use port forwarding and the wallet supports UPnP as well. Though we’ve had a fair share of issues with connections not going through even though UPnP was working and port forwarding was just fine, leaving the wallet run for a few hours and these have disappeared by themselves. Getting your computer Hosting files on the Sia network accessible over the Internet could cause some issues for novice users and it also makes it hard to run multiple computers sharing free storage from a single external IP.

After spending a day trying to make Sia work properly and experiencing a few issues with things not working and trying to make them work we can conclude that although Sia does work decently it still needs a lot of work. The wallet needs to become more user friendly, better access to stored files is a must in order to get wider user adoption and to attract more people hosting files on the network, pool mining support needs to be added and the GPU miner needs to be further improved to support mining on a different computer running the wallet and so on. Sia, much like many others, also suffers from the lack of detailed information and answers to the many questions that new users may have, there is some information available and it is not very well structured, so that also needs quite a lot of work too. You can still give Sia a try if you are interested, but it is too early for people that are interested in seriously using the file storage functionality or the ones interested in earning from sharing their free space. At the moment Sia is at a stage where you can just give it a try to see how it works and what you can expect in the future, not something that you can use to make good profit mining or sharing free space. We are going to be checking Sia again at a later time to see how things may improve in the future…

For more details about the Sia collaborative cloud data storage service…

burst-local-wallet-windows-client

It has been over a year and a half since we’ve initially checked the Burst altcoin that you mine with a hard drive, so we’ve decided to revisit what has happened since. The Burst crypto currency uses a new algorithm for proof of HDD capacity (POC) mining, so it needs a lot of hard drive space – the more, the better and more coins you should be able to mine. One of the reasons that we wanted to check the coin out again was the availability of a Windows Wallet Client that is supposed to integrate everything in a single user friendly package that is easy even for novice miners to get started. So we have started fro the beginning downloading everything we need, generating a new wallet address, plotting 100GB for mining and trying out the CPU and GPU assisted mining software…

Unfortunately we’ve had some trouble along the way, like the lack of a default Java-based wallet config file for the local Burst wallet (apparently not included in the client package version 0.2) that was resulting in a weird error from the Java when trying to run the local wallet (we have Java installed and working properly, but the wallet is crashing with unexpected error because the config file is simply missing in the official zipped release of the GUI wallet, so it took us some time to figure out the cause of the error). Downloading the complete Burst blockchain can take a while as it is getting close to 2.5 GB already, though you can make it faster by downloading a zipped version and adding it to the local wallet. Generating plot files on the hard drives is also a process that takes quite some time, even for a relatively small 100 GB size it could take a while, let alone for large terabyte plots. We’ve also had trouble getting the GPU assisted miner working, though the CPU one apparently works just fine. You should try mining on a pool as solo mining is probably pretty pointless with such a high difficulty, but even on a pool with a small plot size it might not be worth the effort to start mining at all, so go for it only if you have a lot of free HDD space in the range of Terabytes, not Gigabytes.

In the end, if you still haven’t gotten into Burst, then it most likely it is late to do so now. There is an improvement since we’ve last tried it, however we dont think it is enough, especially on the user friendliness front and that is an important thing if you want to attract more new users and miners especially. Still, if you have some significant amount of free HDD space and what to try mining a crypto currency that does not require much of a CPU or GPU resources, then you can check Burst out. Another alternative for making money out of your free HDD space could be Storj’s DriveShare when it launches officially, hopefully later this year, so if you are in for the profit you might skip that one as well. For now we are probably going to stick for a while longer testing the DriverShare beta, but more out of curiosity as it is not very profitable and requires a significant initial investment in order to be eligible for rewards, instead of trying to mine Burst coins.

For more information about the Burst crypto currency with Proof of Capacity HDD mining…

ethereum-wallet-latest-beta-shapeshift

The official Ethereum graphical wallet is improving and getting more user friendly with each new beta release, making it easier for people that are not very happy with the console only clients such as geth and eth. The wallet relies on geth (by default) or eth as a backend and provides a user friendly interface with the most important information and functions available to the user without requiring him to type console commands to execute them. The latest Beta 6 release makes it easier to backup your wallet by adding a menu command that takes you directly tot he folder where your wallet is being stored, so the only thing you need to do is to copy the file in a safe location. The new wallet comes with a button called Deposit using Bitcoin that invokes integrated support for ShapeShift allowing you to easily and quickly buy Ether coins and have them easily transferred to your Ethereum wallet. Although the button is called Deposit with Bitcoin you can actually use other altcoins supported by ShapeShift to purchase Ethereum with the needed support built-in right into the wallet. Another useful new addition is that the wallet will now show historical prices from the time of the transaction thanks to integration with the CryptoCompare service, so you will know what was the exact fiat value of the Ethereum transaction at the moment you have made it.

To download an try out the latest official Ethereum GUI Wallet 0.3.9 (Beta 6)…


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