2020 has been quite a year. I mean that in every way possible — there’s been good and bad, gains and losses, hope and despair. I never quite agreed with how lots of other companies operate — the idea that they should ignore world events in order to avoid possible negative attention to their product. But I understand the desire to focus without distraction.
I think we’ve walked a decent line here. The nature of our business is rooted in things that can be political: things like privacy, censorship, and the free spread of information. We certainly tackle privacy issues fairly frequently, especially on Twitter, and I was proud to see David’s announcements in our Discord channel regarding staying safe in the pandemic, voting, and important legislation related to free speech and security.
A lot has been happening, and we’ve got a lot to cover. You might have noticed that this post is no longer called the Sia Community Update— we’ll talk about that a little later on. This new cadence (every four months or so) is what you can now expect for these updates. Importantly, we’ve got a lot of other great ways to follow us, and you can find those at the end of the post.
Let’s get on with it.
Our newest employees
The Sia Foundation
A new round of funding
SiaStream gets official
Comms from the Skynet team
Before we get into the incredible updates from the past few months, something even better. We’ve expanded our team with two new wonderful people, both in positions that have been highly desired for quite some time. I’d introduce Nicole and Daniel, but they can do it better themselves.
Hello everyone! I’m Daniel Helm, the new Developer Evangelist. I’m really excited to join the team and to get to work on building up and supporting the (already impressive) developer community around Skynet.
I live in Oklahoma City along with my spouse, 2 kids and dog. I have a background in media production, software development and visual art.
I’ve been on the fringes of the Sia community since 2017, and I am really humbled and thrilled to be joining a team that has been such a great project in the space for so long. I’ve spent the last couple years finishing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Art, Technology and Culture where I was constantly considering (and engaging with students about) emerging technologies, their social impact and how they interact with existing power structures. Needless to say, I’m delighted to get to work on a project sitting at the intersection of these things!
Hi all! My name is Nicole Tay, and I’m incredibly excited to meet all of you as the new Head of Marketing at Skynet Labs. My background is actually in healthcare and advertising, so if you ever want to discuss the inefficiencies/misaligned incentives there, don’t hesitate to reach out!
I started my blockchain journey 3 years ago having won a blockchain and healthcare hackathon. (Also happy to share that my team just won a prize at EthOnline for a DeFi app!) I’ve since been writing, educating, and presenting on blockchain technology for curious nerds and newbs alike. In my spare time, I write and direct short films (Maybe a Skynet x Sci Fi short film down the line?)
Lastly, I’m really passionate about decentralized technology and diversity, equity, and inclusion. My dream is that if we are building emerging technology to democratize the world, then we must also expand our inclusion efforts in historically marginalized communities.
I can’t wait to learn from all of you and build a better, freer future for all!
If you haven’t already, stop by Discord and give them a shout.
Skynet marches forward. Even from the last of these posts, the face of Skynet is wildly different from what it is today. We’ve never built something so fast — and nothing we’ve ever built has been as significant.
We put together some things to keep in mind as you develop Skynet apps and tools. You get find Skynet graphical assets there as well.
Community Dev Calls
You can listen to the dev calls for July, August, September, and October!
We are proud to announce the launch of SkyDB. This is without a doubt the most powerful technology ever put forward by the Skynet team. You can read about it and its powers here: https://blog.sia.tech/skydb-a-mutable-database-for-the-decentralized-web-7170beeaa985
We made a very simple example app that you can play around with, found here: https://siasky.net/_BF4CHsFIichxjdgAFhU-tEKqsoPDxC9OMsWbMkyMbz4KQ/
And we made a quick tutorial for using SkyDB here: https://blog.sia.tech/skydb-example-a-note-to-self-app-ccd4e7ba31ba
Please note the some of the SDK functions may be tweaked in the next few weeks based on feedback. We encourage all of our developers to begin playing around!
Skynet SDKS https://blog.sia.tech/the-skynet-sdks-751b35578b20
We’ve also held a number of hackathons focused on Skynet ecosystem growth and experimentation with new features. More on those later.
One thing has become clear as we’ve accelerated through Skynet development this year — a for-profit entity can’t be the best steward for something as idealistic as Sia. Sia needs room to breathe, and it needs to be the purely censorship-resistant layer that the new Internet is built on.
A non-profit can do that. A non-profit guided by the ever-wise (Nebulous co-founder) Luke and a group of other ethical blockchain experts can do that even better. That’s why we proposed the Sia Foundation, which can make sure that Sia is never beholden to corporate interests. It can make sure that Sia stays above the fray, only enacting the updates and policies that keep the network clean and trust-less.
Read our proposal, and read the comments. We were incredibly pleased to have immense buy-in from the community regarding ways the Sia Foundation can improve the dstorage ecosystem, the Sia userbase, and hopefully the world.
Our big rebrand
To go along with the creation of the Sia Foundation and Nebulous’ laser focus on Skynet, we are updating the company’s branding to extend this vision.
Soon, Nebulous Labs will officially be Skynet Labs.
“We believe that having a single name for both the company and the product will simplify the experience for users and make the ecosystem more accessible.”
Read the entire post here.
New Sia releases
Download the latest Sia release from the Sia website.
v1.5.3 included a version bump (oops — missed that in v1.5.2) and also a quick fix for an out of memory bug that some users with very large files were experiencing.
Fixed the same thing that 1.5.3 did, but we forgot to update the version number.
The major feature of this release was the Sia Registry, which is the protocol level foundation for SkyDB. Hosts needed to do some configuration to add support for SkyDB, which we highly recommended as it takes a small amount of storage (about 4 GB) yet can produce as much revenue as several TB of storage. As always, this release also featured a significant number of performance improvements and stability improvements.
The new Sia forums
We’re launched a new forum for the Sia community.
The forum will serve as a home for long-form discussion of the Sia platform, including core development, Skynet, third-party apps, non-technical Foundation initiatives, and more. Importantly, we are also designating the forum as the official venue for Foundation proposals.
We are thrilled to announce a $3M funding round led by Paradigm, with participation from a powerhouse group of investors! Read more on our official press release and stay tuned on our rebranding to Skynet Labs. Coindesk also put together an article highlighting all the important bits.
We’ve officially released SiaStream.
This release contains a number of significant improvements in addition to being the first completely public release, including an updated on-boarding, and letting SiaStream manage the allowance or managing it yourself.
Get it now at https://siastream.tech/
The hackathon is finished, results are coming soon!
The SkyDB Debut was our latest hackathon, and was a resounding success. We haven’t gone through the winners yet, but in the beginning of December we’ll have a lot of announcements, along with a live judging day.
Own the Internet
Skynet and Namebase partnered with Gitcoin for a brand new hackathon to Own the Internet. This was a hackathon that enabled developers to build the next generation of decentralized applications, and introduce easy to read Skynet addresses into the ecosystem.
Skynet/Namebase Combined Prize Winner
Wakio https://siasky.net/hns/wakio/ is a Skynet blogging platform that integrates blog posts with Handshake. We are excited about Wakio because the overall experience feels close to what you might get on a centralized platform like Medium, and we feel that there is great potential for apps that continue to move in this direction.
SkyBlog Builder is another impressive blogging platform. Skyblog Builder also won the Judge’s Choice award from Hudson Jameson, Developer Liason at Ethereum Foundation — “Skyblog Builder has the best balance of design, being education minded, technicals, and good use-cases. It was especially impressive coming from someone who was being exposed to blockchain for the first time”
Resolvr, a firefox extension which allows users to click on and visit handshake and skynet URLs within a webpage, giving users a more fully integrated experience within Web3. Resolvr won the Judge’s Chioce award from Eric Meltzer, an OG crypto VC — “To see greater adoption outside of the crypto community we need tools like Resolvr that make it easier to use these projects”
Jellyfin Uploader, a Jellyfin integration to stream content from Skynet and even share content with their friends via Handshake powered RSS feeds
Skydroid, an Android application that functions as a decentralized app store. This project is particularly interesting in light of recent de-platforming events on both the Apple and Google mobile platforms
Wayback, a project for archiving pieces of the Internet on Skynet, which is a critical component for a robust Internet
Skynet Only Prize Winner
SkySpaces is a Skynet tool which allows you to upload and manage collections of files and applications, including features such as tagging. What stood out about SkySpaces is the way that SkySpaces makes Skynet feel like a more fully integrated experience, rather than a collection of disjointed links to content and apps
SkyChat/Defy.chat leverages Skynet and GunDB to create a real-time chatting application which is fully decentralized. Skychat particularly stands out because prior to it’s development, real-time chat is not something that we thought was feasible.
Skybox is a pure-Skynet application to help developers create Skynet pages and applications. It includes features such as drag-and-drop, which will automatically upload the image to Skynet and then load in the correct Skylink in the image tag
Github pages on dgit is a previous hackathon winner that was improved upon by a new developer by adding a feature to publish webpages and frontend applications to Skynet via dgit. This is the beauty of open source applications, where developers from around the world can continue improving and expanding on existing projects.
TorrentYks allows users to seed skynet files over bittorrent. We like TorrentYks because it extends the reach of Skynet content to another highly popular peer-to-peer application.
Hack the Rainbow
We partnered with Near, another incredible decentralized app platform, to give devs a chance to get the front-ends for their Near apps hosted on Skynet.
Piece is an awesome app that exemplifies what should be a core tenant of the Internet — supporting the content you enjoy by contributing directly to content creators.
Almost There is a great app that takes on the crowdfunding market. We loved the chance to check out a project with a fresh take in a new market
The next was Influences, a really stand out app that delves into social media in a fully decentralized way. In addition to working well, Influences just looks good, and feels like the real thing.
Congratulations to all our hackathon winners, runners up, and a massive thank you to everyone who submitted a project!
We hosted an AMA.
Reducing Latency 96%, by Chris.
The Terminators: A Short Story by David Vorick. As part of CoinDesk #Internet2030 series, this autobiography of the Internet walks us through the inevitable rise of decentralized web through the vision of Skynet.
In collaboration with CoinMarketCap (CMC), Skynet core developer Marcin takes you through a deep dive into Skynet.
We’ve just released decentralized nameservers for Skynet and HNS. Karol describes how you can update your skapps in seconds instead of hours, and you can do it as often as you want without needing to create on-chain HNS transactions every time.
David’s new podcast with Steven Mckie where he dives into our vision of decentralized web and how Sia/Skynet has taken a different approach than Filecoin.
Open Web Collective’s latest podcast with David where he talks about the centralized internet, building for convenience-minded users and sustainable creator economy. Give it a listen on Spotify or Apple.
Watch David on the latest RIF Expert Panel: The State of Decentralized Storage!
Creating your first web app in Skynet, from Marcin.
Ephemeral Accounts are a packetized payment technique to decrease latency and boost bandwidth by prepaying hosts. Chris guides us through them.
Just a few of the many incredible community contributions we wanted to highlight!
We just published a blog post from @gagdiez about his experience building Wakio, a hackathon winning blogging platform built on Skynet. Wakio has a smooth user experience and lets you get a blog on the decentralized web in minutes.
Nate (Sia Central) introduced continuous and on-demand benchmarks for the Sia network hosts, available through its troubleshooting tool. Nate also published on the Sia official blog an article about all his recent developments for the Sia network. Finally, Nate released v1.0.21 of his companion app for hosts “Host Manager”, featuring integration with Sia 1.5.0, a revamped dashboard and multiple bug fixes.
Fornax, owner of the file storage platform Pixeldrain (one of the biggest renters of the network), published the requirements the website is using for forming contracts. This will be useful for hosts, that can tune their settings if they wish to be selected.
Delivator released a new version of his Skynet app “SkyGallery”, improving the drag-and-drop experience, the video uploads and the thumbnails.
The Gitcoin team (who are hosting the current Hackaton) published a blog post about the CDN capabilities of Skynet.
DaWe contributed a post to the blog about his experience building SkyLive for our hackathon!
Also from DaWe, SkyID can serve as a single login for users that allows them to safely manage their data across many applications. We encourage everyone building on SkyDB to check it out.
That’s it! Actually, it’s far from it. There’s so much more to find by staying connected to our social channels: Discord, Twitter, and Reddit.
Our next update will be early 2021, and I can guarantee you this post will be just as packed. On behalf of the Skynet team, I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you. Stay safe, and have some happy holidays.
Until next time.
steve#4381 on Discord