Optimizing Payment Channels to Achieve CDN Latencies (Skyrocket Part 2)

This article was first published on Sia Blog - Medium

Optimizing Payment Channels to Achieve CDN Latencies

(Skyrocket Part 2)

A bit over a month ago we released a blogpost about a protocol optimization we call Skyrocket. If you haven’t already you should check that out first.

The second part of optimizing Sia was introducing so-called Ephemeral Accounts (EAs). As the name might suggest, EAs are about keeping a balance on an account. These accounts reside on the individual hosts on the network and can be used to pay them. So for example, if you had an EA on a host with 1 Siacoin (SC) in it, you could pay that host for downloading data worth up to 1 SC.

Why is this useful? To understand this we first need to dive a bit into how renters pay hosts on the Sia network.

Smart Contracts

Every renter who wants to upload data to a host on the Sia network first needs to form a smart contract with the host for a certain period of time. In the Sia ecosystem, those smart contracts are called file contracts (FCs). These FCs contain tokens from both the renter, to pay for storing data and the host, to put up collateral. All of that is locked away until the FC expires. While the funds are not accessible before that, it can be revised by both parties together to shift the balances within the FC around. For example, if both parties locked away 2 SC each, the renter can pay the host by shifting 1 SC from its balance to the host’s balance. So after the FC expires, the renter would receive 1 SC and the host would receive 3 SC.

The advantage of this approach is, that only the initial revision and the last revision of the FC need to be submitted to the network and mined into blocks. ...

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Sia Blog - Medium

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