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Filecoin

The distributed CDN isn't really just for "anybody"

For a while, I've been trying to understand Filecoin. I thought it was a layer on top of IPFS that would allow people that "pin" (store for a longer period of time) to be reimbursed in a crypto-currency: filecoin. My expectation was for anybody to be able to join the decentralized network with however much storage and bandwidth, then either statically or dynamically ask a price for people storing the data. Buyers of that storage and bandwidth would then have access to a marketplace within the network where they could find storage providers.

Now, that was the theory, but how far was I off?

Anybody can participate

Quoting from the main page on mining

The Filecoin network achieves staggering economies of scale by allowing anyone to participate as a storage provider and monetize their open hard drive space.

That sounds great! Close to what I expected

The Filecoin network is designed to reward participants at multiple levels ÔÇö from large scale data centers to local entrepreneurs with mining rigs that cover the last mile.

So... not my free storage on a VPS or on my HDDs at home?

Let's check the hardware requirements:

A miner will need an 8+ core CPU.

Alright, a little beefy, but OK

128 GiB of RAM are needed at the very least. This should be complemented with 256 GiB of swap on a very fast NVMe SSD storage medium.

Suuure, OK.

Performance of Miner operations can be heavily affected by slow disks. For example, a 32GiB expands to ~480GiB during the sealing process.

Alllright, definitely not a cheap VPS and definitely not just a spare laptop from 5 years ago.

At this point, I stopped reading. This definitely isn't just for "anybody".

Conclusion

One last point on mining: the process isn't setup for simply providing storage and bandwidth. It's maybe possible, but definitely doesn't seem like the core of file coin, which is ironic given its name.

One still has to mine blocks (it's a blockchain after all) and storage space gives one a higher chance of mining a block. Computational power is however also quite important.

I was ready to join it, but given the hardware requirements and the insistence on mining... nah.