Discover how Filecoin’s retrieval miners enable decentralized data and retrieval in Filecoin mining, while preventing malicious behavior.
Currently, Filecoin has two types of miners: storage miners and retrieval miners. Miners can choose to participate in either or both of these mining activities based on their preferences and conditions.
Storage Miners: Storage miners provide data storage services to clients. To become a storage miner, they must pledge a certain amount of collateral in FIL (the native cryptocurrency of the Filecoin network) that is proportional to the storage space they offer. Storage miners respond to client Put requests by storing data within a specific time frame. During this process, they generate “proofs of space-time” and submit them to the blockchain network to prove that they have stored the client’s data within the specified time. If the proof is found to be invalid or lost, storage miners may be penalized, and a portion of their collateral may be deducted by the network.
Retrieval Miners: Retrieval miners provide data retrieval services to clients. Unlike storage miners, retrieval miners do not need to provide collateral or submit stored data or proofs. They participate in Filecoin by responding to client Get requests and delivering the requested data. Once the data is received, both the miner and the client sign a transaction order and submit it to the blockchain. Upon verification of the transaction, the retrieval miner receives the corresponding reward.
Filecoin is also developing other roles, such as “repair miners” dedicated to maintaining and repairing the network. However, these roles are not yet fully developed and implemented. Currently, storage miners and retrieval miners are sufficient to ensure the system’s normal operation.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the Filecoin Retrieval Miner and how it works.
Table of Contents
What is the Retrieval Market?
We all know that in Filecoin’s distributed storage network, data is stored and addressed based on content. Each file has a corresponding Content Identifier (CID). The Content Identifier is formed using a unique string of letters and numbers (known as a cryptographic hash) to represent content like pictures, videos or other files on the IPFS network. Even if the file name is different, as long as the content is the same, its CID is the same. Content-based file storage is very suitable for distributed storage networks and improves the delivery efficiency of files in the network.
In the HTTP network, users need to know the server address of the file in the network to access data. Even the same file will be considered different. In the Filecoin network, however, only the CID of the file is needed for users to retrieve data through the storage provider node that stores the file. This process requires help from retrieval miners. And when the demand for file retrieval increases,the retrieval market is required to satisfy the needs.
Retrieval miners can earn rewards by quickly providing the files that users are looking for. Users provide file CIDs and the system will match the deals generated by users with retrieval miners. Retrieval miners use Filecoin’s distributed hash table to find the targeted files. Miners will be rewarded after the users received file fragments and until the files are finally sent and completed. The approach is similar to Streaming Payments. Miners are rewarded and users get the files they need.
Retrieval miners play a pivotal role in the retrieval market. And they can also be storage miners. When there is too much data needed to be retrieved, it can also be obtained from storage miners. And in this way, both retrieval and data storage functions are available.
How Do Filecoin Retrieval Miners Work?
- Retrieval miners search for the prices submitted by storage miners and publish them on the online marketplace.
- Retrieval miners review user orders and confirm if there is a match with their capabilities.
- Once an order is matched, the retrieval miner delivers the data to the client. After receiving the data, both the miner and the client sign the transaction order and submit it to the blockchain.
- When the transaction is verified, the retrieval miner receives the corresponding reward.
How Does Filecoin Implement the Retrieval Process?
- The client initiates a data retrieval request (Get) from the desired retrieval miner.
- The content contributor (retrieval miner) responds to the order.
- Upon successful order matching, the transaction record is stored in a block on the blockchain.
- The content contributor receives income for their participation.
How to Prevent Malicious Miner Behavior?
Filecoin employs several mechanisms to prevent malicious miner behavior:
- Proof-of-Space-Time (PoST) and Proof-of-Replication (PoRep): During the secret leader election process, PoST, PoRep, and proof copying are used for process identification. These mechanisms help ensure that miners are not able to cheat the system.
- Value Equivalence and Collateral Bonding: Filecoin’s token design incorporates value equivalence and collateral bonding. The system rewards network-building behaviors while discouraging malicious actions. The ultimate goal of interactive verification or bonding mechanisms is to prevent miners from acting maliciously.
Potential attacks that Filecoin aims to prevent include:
- Outsourcing attacks: Malicious miners might promise to store more data than their actual physical capacity by quickly obtaining data from other storage providers.
- Sybil attacks: Rogue miners create multiple identities (known as “witches”) to deceive the system by pretending to store multiple copies physically when they only store a single copy.
- Proxy attacks: Rogue miners may flood their storage with a large amount of data when efficiently generating requests using applets. This deceptive practice creates an impression of storing a significant amount of data and increases their chances of receiving block rewards in Filecoin, proportional to the current miner’s usage.
In conclusion, Filecoin’s decentralized storage network provides a platform for storage miners and retrieval miners to participate in mining activities. Storage miners offer storage space and respond to client requests, while retrieval miners focus on delivering requested data to clients. The retrieval market facilitates efficient retrieval of files based on their Content Identifiers (CIDs), and retrieval miners play a crucial role in meeting user demands.
Through mechanisms like Proof-of-Space-Time, Proof-of-Replication, value equivalence, and collateral bonding, Filecoin aims to prevent malicious miner behavior and maintain the integrity of the network. These measures protect against potential attacks such as outsourcing, Sybil, and proxy attacks, ensuring the reliability and security of the Filecoin ecosystem.
As Filecoin continues to evolve and develop additional roles, such as repair miners, the network will become even more robust and resilient. The combination of storage and retrieval miners, along with future enhancements, will further strengthen the Filecoin network’s capabilities.