How can I help the Sia project?
A question that is occasionally asked by newcomers is "How can I help on the Sia project?"
Here are some ideas for how you can help Sia grow, regardless of your skills, background and resources. There is something for everyone to do!
If you have more suggestions, comment below and I will update this post as required..
Run a node
The first experience new users have with Sia is downloading the Sia core application and synchronizing the blockchain. Synchronization takes, at minimum, several hours. Shorter synchronization time leads to happy users and higher user retention.
Fast synchronization depends in part on a large, healthy Sia network composed of many peers that can share up-to-date blockchains. By running Sia continuously on your computer you ensure that your blockchain is refreshed every 10 minutes. Furthermore, this allows other peers to more easily locate up-to-date nodes and synchronize themselves.
An important contribution you can make, therefore, is simply running Sia on your computer as much as possible. This improves the overall health of the network and enables new users to synchronize faster.
Run a host
The Sia network cannot work without shared storage space. A larger number of hosts furthermore reduces the redundancy of a file on the network. More hosts leads to lower redundancy which leads to more net available storage, less bandwidth consumption and (best of all) lower prices for all!
A very important contribution you can make, therefore, is to run a Sia host on your computer. By running a host you also benefit from "farming" Siacoins in return for disk space used on your computer. Before you consider announcing your host, however, note the requirements:
- You need a static IP (this will change in future releases)
- The host computer needs an uptime of at least 95%
- The host must have at least 25 GB storage available
- You should allow the host to run for at least 3 months
If you meet these requirements, you simply announce your computer as a Sia host from the Host page in the UI.
Use the latest release
By using the latest release, you support both the health of the network as well as its development. New versions may introduce soft forks that introduce features not supported by older releases. By using the latest release, you enable these features on the network faster. When using the latest release, developers also gain insights into how the network behaves with the new features in place.
The Sia core application is written in Go.
The foundation of Sia is a Proof of Work (PoW) blockchain. The blockchain records transactions and storage contracts. Sia's hashing algorithm is blake2b. Mining is most commonly performed using high-performance GPUs. CPU mining is possible (and supported by the Sia core) but generally not recommended due to the low hash rate. The block reward is 300,000 Siacoins minus the current blockheight. When blockheight reaches 270,000 the block reward will remain at 30,000 Siacoins/block indefinitely. There are no mining pools at present and all mining is therefore performed solo. By mining, you earn Siacoins and support the network.
Help answering questions
A responsive and supportive user community is very important for the growth of Sia. Newcomers often approach the Sia community for questions and help configuring a new node/wallet/host. You can therefore help by monitoring any of these channels regularly and address questions and comments to the best of your ability:
I see questions often also being asked on the #siatalk channel on the freenode IRC network, i.e. irc://chat.freenode.net/#siatalk
Since I personally rather favor the good ol' decentralized IRC protocol (though freenode itself doesn't work in a decentralized manner) over newfangled web-based chat thingies, I'd be delighted if this venue weren't left out.
@LjL Thanks. I added a weblink to the IRC channel.