What's with the cryptocurrency and blockchain?
You can build a cloud storage app without a blockchain. You can pretty much build anything without a blockchain. And there are some things that shouldn't be built with blockchains.
What standard cloud storage looks like
If we didn't have a blockchain, we'd be Amazon, Google, or Microsoft. They provide cloud storage solutions with some good features: they're mostly reliable, they're kind of cost effective, and they're pretty easy to use.
But when they go down, they go down hard. A 2017 AWS outage caused hundreds of millions in damages to companies relying on it, and hours-long disruptions to services that regular people use all the time. This is because they're centralized - they operate all the servers and centers that control the flow of data.
What decentralized cloud storage looks like
Forget every weird thing you've ever heard about cryptocurrency or blockchain. Here's how an actual blockchain works: a bunch of stuff gets put together into a block of information. Then multiple blocks get linked together to form a chain of information. Crazy, huh?
Take Bitcoin for example. The stuff getting blocked and chained are money transactions - no one can lie about having a million bitcoins unless they actually do, because the blockchain has a record of every transaction.
For Sia, the stuff getting blocked and chained are your storage contracts (but not your actual data). No one can lie about the terms of these contracts because the blockchain has a record of every one.
The other benefits of decentralization
While the Boston-based Nebulous team are the primary developers of Sia, we can't control the network in any way. There's no switch to be flipped to raise prices or deny access. And because that switch doesn't exist, no hacker, corporation, or government can flip it either.
Every update we push has to reach consensus - our existing users need to decide to download and use it. If we try to implement unpopular changes, anyone can fork it off, make whatever changes they want, and start their own network because Sia is open source.
The token that powers it all
In order to stay fully decentralized and automated, transactions have to be fulfilled using cryptocurrency, something a blockchain can control (and something outside influencers can't, unlike the dollar or other government currencies).
Our cryptocurrency is Siacoins, which allow for fast transfers, un-manipulated pricing, and pre-funded contracts that make sure that ensure everyone gets what they want. This influence-free marketplace provides fair competition and prices that are driven to the floor.
What it all means
When you store your media with SiaStream, you're guaranteed to get what you pay for. No one can see your media but you. No one can deny you access to your media. You only pay for what you use. You pay prices that are far lower than any centralized alternative.