Hyperspace Cloud Storage: Overview & Founder Interview
The team at Luxor were fortunate to get an opportunity to sit down with Mark Huetsch, the founder of Hyperspace. He provided a variety of insightful comments on Hyperspace and where it is heading.
As a brief intro, we are Luxor Technology and we are building infrastructure to support the next generation of digital assets. We believe that digital assets will fundamentally disrupt the way value creation and value transfer will function in our new digital society.
Before we jump into the interview let’s run over the basics of Hyperspace. For a more detailed overview of the technology you can view the hyperspace website.
Hyperspace network is a decentralized global storage marketplace fueled by Space Cash cryptocurrency. Large cloud storage providers generally run only a few large data centers that are vulnerable to attacks, blackouts and many other threats. Whereas Hyperspace allows for private, decentralized, distributed cloud storage at a lower price point.
Hyperspace allows the user to retain control over their personal data - everything that’s uploaded to the Hyperspace protocol is end-to-end encrypted and locked by contracts. Therefore, all of your files are private and secure.
How Your data is Stored?
Everytime you upload content or data to the network each file is encrypted and split into smaller pieces. It is then uploaded to multiple servers (hosts) to achieve redundancy. Due to the number of times your file is replicated 66.66% of the hosts can disappear, loose your data or go offline and you’ll still be able to recover all your files.
Since your data is split into dozens of pieces and each piece is encrypted there’s no way that one host can access your files. In addition, the host has no way of determining what type of data it is, or whose data they are storing. This gives security to both parties: privacy to the renter and liability protection to the host.
The storage service functions similar to a torrent system since you grab multiple pieces from different hosts simultaneously. This enables extremely fast uploading and downloading transfer speeds.
Renting and Hosting
Anyone can rent storage or host it. Currently a TB goes for $2 USD per month. This is based on 1000 SPACE at a current OTC price of 0.002 USD/SPACE (SPACE is not traded on an exchange yet so its actual value is yet to be determined). This price is very low relative to other cloud storage providers.
Other renting fees include contract and bandwidth fees: Contract fees are one time fees to create the storage contract on the blockchain (1-5 SPACE) and are negligible. Hosts can set the pricing for both upload and download bandwidth to their server. As of August 15th 80 SPACE is the average price for downloading or uploading a full TB.
Collateral is the amount of SPACE the host is willing to risk in case they lose data or not complying with the contract (example uptime %) per terabyte. This is governed through smart contracts. The higher collateral the host puts up the higher trust they have earned with the renters.
Allowance is the maximum amount of SPACE the renter is willing to spend. So your ability to download and upload files will be capped to your allowance. Allowance can be changed at all times.
The default storage contract length is 3 months. Due to the infancy of the network there are very few hosts and renters.
Secured by PoW Consensus Algorithm
Hyperspace relies on proof-of-work which has proved to be the only reliable and trusted consensus mechanism. Alternatives such as proof-of-stake are still largely untested and have many security concerns.
ASICs built for the Blake2B algo are hashing on the Hyperspace network cranking the difficulty and therefore making a 51% attack very expensive to carry-out even at the early stages of the project.
The blockchain is in charge of securing transactions and storage smart-contracts that occur on the network. Data isn’t stored in the blockchain, that would make the blockchain too large for anyone to run a node and way too slow to transact.
There are several mining pools available to help to maintain the network hashrate decentralized. https://miningpoolstats.stream/hyperspace
Airdrop and Coin Supply
3 billion Space Cash are reserved for founders reward and is locked in for 3 years. 3.5 billion Space Cash was generated for a 10 to 1 airdrop to current holders of Siacoin. If you are uncertain about how to claim airdropped coins, there are a number of guides that cover the basics of airdrops.
The block time is 10 minutes and there is 144 blocks per day. 90% of each block reward goes to the PoW miners and 10% goes to the hyperspace community fund. This fund will be used to help further Hyperspace’s development such as getting listed on exchanges.
At the time of launch, the block reward was 60K Space Cash per block. Each block reduces by 0.2 Space Cash until the block reward reaches 6,000. Then it is fixed into the future.
Space Cash isn’t listed on exchanges right now. However, there’s an active OTC market on Discord.
Interview with Mark Huetsch
We had the chance to sit down with Mark the founder of Hyperspace and get his personal view on the project.
Luxor Tech (LT): What is Hyperspace trying to achieve?
Mark Huetsch (MH): Cheap, fast, private storage. We want to be AirBnB for hard drive space. Hyperspace provides a platform where anyone can easily plug in their computer to the network and offer up their extra hard drive space and bandwidth for rent. Likewise, renters can easily upload their data through an interface similar to Dropbox or Google Drive. Unlike Dropbox or Google Drive, all users’ data is encrypted locally before upload, so storage hosts have no access to it.
LT: Where do you see the project in a couple years? What is Hyperspace going to enable that can not be done with existing solutions?
MH: We’d like to be a household name. Once the hosting network is built out and we’ve optimized the user experience, we think people will feel right at home uploading and downloading via the network. We are particularly excited about video streaming, which is already coded and functional.
Because Hyperspace functions under the hood a bit like Bittorrent - where files are chopped up into pieces and uploaded or downloaded simultaneously via multiple p2p nodes - users should be able to enjoy fast video streaming via the network. This is a different architecture from both centralized storage providers like Dropbox and video service providers like Netflix. We think there are compelling technical, economic, and privacy reasons for deploying this new kind of platform.
LT: How Hyperspace differentiates from the Sia project? Why did you decide to fork from Sia?
MH: Sia is explicitly targeting enterprise users. They want users to operate a full node and have that node be responsible for cryptocurrency payments to the hosts and repairing the files on the network if some of the hosts go offline. The idea there is that a service like Dropbox or Netflix might use Sia as a backend and, when an end-user makes a data request, those enterprise clients will pull data from Sia to their local servers, then forward the gathered data to the end-user.
Hyperspace will start by targeting consumer users directly. It strikes us as inefficient that data being stored needs to be routed to a company maintaining a full node first and then passed on to the distributed storage network. It’s better if a laptop or mobile phone can transfer data back and forth with the distributed network directly. But at the same time, downloading and syncing a full node is just never going to fly for a typical user. Moreover, requiring typical users to frequently be online and pay cryptocurrency to hosts to keep their files consistently repaired will never allow us to reach mass consumer adoption.
So Hyperspace’s first order of business is adding light wallet support (SPV nodes) to the network. This has historically been something the Sia team has seemed unwilling to do. From there, we will publish official mobile apps. And then we’ll start working on the tougher task of allowing 3rd party service providers to handle smart contract formation and cryptocurrency payments with hosts on behalf of an end user while still allowing the end user to transfer storage data directly with hosts.
After that, we’ll work on having hosts auto-repair the network when one host goes offline or loses data instead of forcing the end-user to frequently be online to monitor the network for losses and make repairs. And end-user to frequently be online to monitor the network for losses and make repairs. And finally, we want to allow hosts to share in the network’s cryptocurrency block reward, much like the miners who verify the network’s transactions do.
We have some other important philosophical and practical differences with Sia - for example, we have a development fund via the network’s miners while Sia instead taxes the transactions between renters and hosts - but this is the key difference in project vision.
LT: How fiat pricing and free storage is going to be implemented? Are you planning to run “centralized” hosting facility?
MH: As I mentioned, we’d like to allow 3rd party storage contract management support. Hyperspace the business would like to be a service provider on the network. If users are willing to allow us to make their cryptocurrency payments and do negotiation with network hosts on their behalf, we would be able to generate bandwidth and storage contracts for them - essentially let them use the network - in exchange for a fiat fee.
Most companies in this market have a free or trial tier, so we think it’s necessary to provide one as well to be able to entice users. The business has a development fund which is replenished via the block reward of the network’s cryptocurrency, Space Cash, so we expect to be able to use that to help drive network adoption via free services, particularly in the beginning.
I want to stress that the business would be offering an additional service layer on top of the network and that people will always be able to use the network without going through our servers. We as a business just want to offer a convenience for those who think the trade-offs are right. Also, to reiterate, even if you used our servers for contract management, we’d never receive or see your storage data.
LT: Do you plan to enlarge the team? What roles do you need and when do you plan to start hiring?
MH: Currently, we’re just two engineers being helped by a designer. We’re hiring! Development is the biggest project bottleneck at the moment. We need blockchain engineers to help us build out the core protocol modifications and, going forward, we’ll also need front-end engineers and marketers. If you’re interested in a job, please contact me at [email protected]!
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.