Filecoin FAQs

This post answers the frequently asked questions on everything from the crypto-economics of Filecoin and storage costs to hardware and networking.

What Are Some of the Primary Use Cases for Filecoin?

A truly trustless, decentralized storage network is made possible by the core primitives offered by the Filecoin protocol. These primitives and features include a public blockchain, crypto-economic mechanisms, and publicly verifiable cryptographic storage proofs. The extremely difficult task of building a trustless decentralized storage network is solved by Filecoin’s primitives.

Many layer 2 solutions, many of which also use IPFS, are available on top of the core Filecoin protocol to enable a wide range of use cases and applications. Powergate, Textile Hub, and other options are among these solutions. With the aid of these approaches, any use case that can be built on top of IPFS can also be built on Filecoin!

Some of the primary areas for development on Filecoin are:

  • Libraries, layer-2 solutions, and additional developer tools that improve the ecosystem and developer platform of Filecoin.
  • IPFS applications seeking both a decentralized storage solution and a decentralized method of data persistence
  • Wallets, signing libraries, and other financial tools and services are available on Filecoin.
  • applications that guarantee users timestamped and trustless storage through the use of publicly verifiable cryptographic proofs provided by Filecoin.

How Can a Website Or App Be Free If It Costs to Retrieve Data from the Filecoin Network?

Ads are the most common way that websites and apps monetize. A Filecoin incentivized retrieval setup could take the place of this type of income model, where users pay small amounts of FIL for the files they want to download. Several large datasets are hosted through Amazon’s pay per download S3 buckets, which Filecoin retrieval could easily supplement or replace.

How Will Filecoin Attract Developers to Use Filecoin for Storage?

A significant shift in our perspective of the internet will be necessary. At the same time, it is a very exciting shift, and things are gradually moving in that direction. Companies that make browsers, including Firefox, Opera, and Brave, are making investments in decentralized infrastructure.

We think that the internet must return to its decentralized roots to be resilient, robust, and efficient enough for the challenges of the next several decades. We’re thrilled to collaborate with the early developers in the Filecoin ecosystem to create this space because they share our vision for the internet and its potential.

What Are the Detailed Parameters of Filecoin’s Crypto-economics?

Our crypto-economic parameters are still being refined, and they will keep changing.

Here is a blog post from December 2020 about Filecoin economics: Filecoin network economics.

How Expensive Will Filecoin Storage Be at Launch?

Given that Filecoin is a free market, a number of factors relating to the supply and demand for storage will impact its price. Predictions prior to launch are challenging. Inexpensive storage is supported by a few network design features, though.

Storage Miners also receive block rewards, with the expected value of winning a given reward being inversely correlated to the amount of storage they have on the network, in addition to income from active storage deals. As block rewards become less frequent over time, they are heavily weighted toward the network’s early stages. In order to close more deals and increase their expected block reward, storage miners are therefore relatively motivated to charge less for storage.

Further, Filecoin introduces a concept called Verified Clients, where clients can be verified to actually be storing useful data. Storage Miners who store data from Verified Clients also increase their expected block reward. Anyone running a Filecoin-backed IPFS Pinning Services should qualify as a Verified Client. Although we do not yet have a finalized verification process, we anticipate it to be similar to submitting a GitHub profile.

Will It Be Cheaper to Store Data on Filecoin Than Other Centralized Cloud Services?

A fiercely competitive market for data storage is produced by Filecoin. Instead of a single fixed price on the network, there will be a wide variety of storage providers and prices. Although it’s impossible to predict exact costs until the network is operational, we anticipate that Filecoin’s permissionless model and low entry barriers will produce some very efficient operations and inexpensive storage.

What Happens to the Existing Content on IPFS Once Filecoin Launches? What If Nodes Continue to Host Content for Free and Undermine the Filecoin Incentive Layer?

The addition of Filecoin nodes will not alter IPFS’ current functionality. There are many use cases that don’t need financial incentives. Imagine that Filecoin is similar to S3 and that IPFS is HTTP, with only a small portion of IPFS content present.

Clients who want guaranteed storage should store their data with Filecoin storage providers, while individuals with unused storage who want to earn money should pledge that storage to Filecoin.

Lotus Or Venus, Which is Better for Storage Providers?

The Filecoin protocol is most commonly implemented using Lotus. To participate in the Filecoin network at this time, we advise the majority of storage providers to use Lotus.

What is Your Recommendation on the Right Hardware to Use?

The Filecoin team has shared some hardware setups, though we do not advocate any particular configuration. Additionally, we created this storage mining guide, which we advise storage providers to read before deciding to offer storage. The likelihood that there are more effective configurations, however, is extremely high, and we fervently urge storage providers to test and experiment to identify the most effective combinations.

We Are Worried About the Ability of Our Network to Handle the Additional Overhead of Running a Filecoin Node and Still Provide Fast Services for Our Customers. What Are the Computational Demands of a Lotus Node? Are There Any Metrics for Node Performance Given Various Requirements?

We Bought a Lot of Hard Drives of Data through the Discover Project. When Will They Be Shipped to China?

The construction of the verified deals and the associated crypto-economic parameters still require some finalization in terms of a number of details.

Although it is our intention to wait until these details are settled before shipping, given the tight deadlines, we are thinking about allowing teams to receive these drives before the specifications are decided. On the Filecoin blog, we’ll post updates on the Discover project’s progress.

Do Filecoin Storage Providers Need a Fixed IP?

You will require a public IP address for mainnet, but it doesn’t have to be fixed—it just needs to be reachable.

What If We Lost a Sector Accidentally, is There Any Way to Fix That?

If you lost the data itself, there is no way to recover it, and you will be punished for it. If the data itself is recoverable, though (say you just missed a WindowPoSt), then the Your sector will be restored through the recovery process.

Has Filecoin Confirmed the Use of the SDR Algorithm? is There Any Evidence of Malicious Construction?

We have no proof of malicious construction, and SDR (Stacked DRG PoRep) is confirmed and used. Additionally, the algorithm is undergoing internal and external security audits.

Contact our team at [email protected] if you have any knowledge of a potential security issue or malicious construction.

How Likely is It That the Filecoin Protocol Will Switch to the NSE Proof-of-Replication Construction Later?

Teams are working on implementing Native Storage Extension (NSE), one of the best candidates for a proof upgrade. However, there are also other hopeful candidates. We don’t yet know whether another algorithm will prove to be superior to NSE in the end. After the mainnet launch, proof upgrades will appear and coexist.

Hardware from AMD might be best for SDR. For further explanation of why, please see this description.

How Are You Working on Bootstrapping the Demand Side of the Marketplace? the Discover Program is Nice, But Who is the Target Market for Users, and How Do You Get Them?

In addition to Filecoin Discover, a number of organizations are actively developing tools and services to support the adoption of the Filecoin network among developers and clients. For updates on Textile Powergate and Starling Storage, for instance, look at the recordings from our Virtual Community Meetup. Additionally, you can learn more about some of the teams using HackFS to develop Filecoin-based applications in our HackFS Week 1 Recap.

Does Filecoin Have An Implementation of Client and Storage Provider Order Matching through Order Books?

Off-chain order books and marketplaces for storage providers will exist; some of these are already under development by various teams. Since there aren’t enough transactions per second on-chain to support the volume of usage we anticipate for Filecoin, they will primarily operate off-chain. These order books expand upon the on-chain deal flow at its core. These order books will appear according to their own development paths, most likely soon after the mainnet launch.

Why Does Filecoin Mining Work Best on AMD?

AMD processors are currently preferred for running Filecoin’s Proof of Replication (PoRep). For more details, refer to this description of Filecoin sealing. It actually operates considerably more slowly on Intel CPUs. On some ARM processors, such as those in more recent Samsung phones, it runs competitively quickly, but these processors lack the RAM necessary to seal the larger sector sizes. AMD processors’ use of the SHA hardware instructions is primarily to blame for this advantage.

What Do Storage Providers Have to Do to Change a Committed Capacity (CC) Sector into a “real-data” Sector?

Storage providers will make an upgrade announcement to the chain, demonstrate to the chain that a new sector has been properly sealed, and publish storage deals that they will use to upgrade the CC sector. After the mainnet launch, we anticipate developing this and making it more affordable and appealing over time.

What Does “terminating a Sector” Mean?

A committed capacity sector can become a sector with deals, be added to the chain, have its lifetime extended, or be terminated through faults or voluntarily. Although we don’t anticipate this happening frequently on mainnet, a storage provider may decide it makes sense to break their promise to the network and their customers and accept a penalty.

Does the Committed Capacity Sector Still Need to Be Sealed before It Upgrades to One With Real Data?

Yes, for the protocol’s initial implementation. With no resealing necessary and other benefits, we have plans to make it more affordable and economically appealing after mainnet.

What’s the Minimum Time Period for the Storage Contract Between the Provider and the Buyer?

The storage provider’s ask specifies the deal’s minimum duration. Because sectors must last a minimum of 180 days, there is also a practical restriction.

After I Made a Deal With a Storage Provider and Sent My Data to Them, How Exactly is the Data Supposed to Be Recoverable and Healable If That Storage Provider Goes Down?

We have postponed a feature that will automatically repair corrupted data until after the mainnet launch. For the time being, redundancy can be achieved by storing your data with multiple storage providers. Here are some notes that will help you understand how we plan to approach future repairs.

How Do I Know That My Storage Provider Will Not Charge Prohibitively High Costs for Data Retrieval?

Always store your data with a fairly decentralized group of storage providers to prevent extortion (and take note: it’s challenging for a storage provider to be certain they are the only ones storing a specific piece of data, especially if you encrypt the data).

Right now, storage providers offer a “dumb box” user interface and will give anyone access to any data they have. Access control lists (ACLs), logins, and other features might be provided by storage providers in the future, but you’ll need to have faith in them before you can use them. The suggested (and safest) course of action in this case is to encrypt data you don’t want others to see before storing it.

How Do You Update Data Stored on Filecoin?

We have some really great ideas for mutable and provable “warm” storage that we intend to put into practice soon. However, for the time being, your app will have to view Filecoin as an append-only log. Simply write new data if you want to change your existing data.

‘With a little trust and a contract with a storage provider that has a far-off start date, warm storage can be accomplished. The storage provider can decide to store your data in a sector now (but they won’t get paid for proving it until the actual start date), or they can hold it for you (and even send you proofs of it upon request), and you can then send them new data to overwrite it along with a new storage deal that replaces the previous one.

There is a sizable design space here, and depending on the trust levels involved, the price sensitivity, and the frequency of updates clients want, we can do a lot of different things.

Who Will Be Selected to Be Verifiers to Verify Clients on the Network?

The Filecoin Network’s Notaries act as fiduciaries and distribute DataCap to clients with valuable storage use cases after being chosen through an application process.

See Filecoin Plus.

Will the Existence of Filecoin Mining Pools Lead to Centralized Storage and Away from the Vision of Distributed Storage?

No, Filecoin helps build a decentralized storage network by significantly lowering the entry barrier for storage providers. Even if there were some sizable pools, anyone can join the network and offer storage with just a small hardware purchase, and we anticipate that clients will store their files with a variety of storage providers.

Also, keep in mind that Filecoin mining location is important because many customers will favor storage providers in particular areas of the world. As a result, many storage providers can flourish anywhere there is a need for storage

Even Though Filecoin Will Be Backed Up to Our Normal IPFS Pinning Layer, We Still Need to Know How Quickly We Can Access Data from the Filecoin Network. How Fast Will Retrieval Be from the Filecoin Network?

The worst-case retrieval time for data retrieved from IPFS or a remote pinning layer should be on the order of milliseconds to seconds. A sealed sector containing data can be unsealed in about an hour, according to our most recent tests for direct retrieval from the Filecoin network. 1-5 hours is our best real-world estimate to go from sector unsealing to delivery of the data. Building on Powergate or an FPS is advised if your application requires faster data retrieval.