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Author Topic: Buying BTC with storage space (Sia/Storj/Burst...): Price analysis  (Read 1106 times)
d5000
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February 16, 2017, 11:16:18 PM
 #1

I was curious about methods to "buy" BTC without going through the standard procedures of "buying BTC with fiat" or "mining".

HD storage space is one of the things that can be most easily changed to BTC in a nearly-anonymous way*. There are three cryptocurrencies I know that allow to change storage space directly into a token you can change easily to BTC at an altcoin exchange: Sia, Storj and Burst.

Let's think of a HD price of 30 USD per TB of storage capacity.

In this first post I will focus on Sia (Homepage).

If you offer storage in Sia, they recommend you to offer it for less than 100 "siacoins" per GB and month.

- As said, 1 TB of HD space costs the "hoster" 30 USD.
- A siacoin is currently between 30 and 40 satoshis worth (exact price: 36 satoshis as of 2017-02-16).
- If you're able to get 100 siacoins per month and GB, with 1 TB you have: 1000 * 100 * 0.00000036 = 0.036 BTC.
- To buy 1 BTC in a month you need: 27,77 TB of space, so "1 SiaBTC" costs you: 831 USD!

That looks interesting at a first glance, given that as of today the BTC/USD price is >1000 USD. But unfortunately, 100 siacoins per GB is impossible to achieve. There are even hosts that offer storage for 100 siacoins per TB. The highest price someone is trying to get is 5000 siacoins per TB (see here for the exact numbers). The price of a BTC, for this hoster, would be about 16000 USD.

So actually Sia is not an attractive way to buy Bitcoin, at all. But it may be worth to follow the evolution for three reasons:
- it is perhaps the most anonymous way to get Bitcoins
- it can still be interesting if you plan to "invest" a lot of hosting time for BTC or if you have lots of spare TB of storage space - and you can use the HD after it for other purposes
- it's well possible that the achievable hosting prices will be higher in the future.

and that's why I started this thread. If someone wants to compare this "SiaBTC" price, for example, with a BTC "bought" with recent mining equipment - feel free to post your analysis.

In the next posts (in a couple of days) I will do the same calculations for Storj and Burst, the other two solutions I know Wink

*all solutions I know store your IP address, so it's not completely anonymous.

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July 11, 2017, 07:43:31 PM
 #2

Well, with some delay now I'll do a short calculation about Storj.

In the German Forum, one user has reported to have got paid about $6.10 worth of Storjcoins for one month and 144 GB that were used. That would be 42,36$ per TB.

If calculation 30$ per TB as cost for the hard drive, then you can say the "StorjBTC" (one BTC "bought" with storage space via the Storj mechanism) price is 1628.89 USD (a day when 1 BTC was >2300 USD). That would be, again, "too attractive to be true".

I just realized that there must be an error in this calculation, as 1 TB per month only costs 15 USD - then 144 GB never can be worth $6,10 for the provider. Maybe the $6,10 were for a longer period than a month. I'll ask and be back Wink

Just got confirmation: the price is for one month. There seems to be a kind of "subsidy", so long term this revenue will probably go down.

You can, however, only achieve this "price" if 100% of the storage space you provided is been used permanently.

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July 11, 2017, 08:21:28 PM
 #3

I know you're doing rough calculations but hosting requires a bit more than just buying a hard drive. I own a large NAS (59 hard drives) and the overhead just for the enclosures, controllers, etc., is significant. Then there is the bandwidth.

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July 13, 2017, 02:06:49 AM
 #4

I know you're doing rough calculations but hosting requires a bit more than just buying a hard drive. I own a large NAS (59 hard drives) and the overhead just for the enclosures, controllers, etc., is significant. Then there is the bandwidth.

You are totally right, the problem is how to integrate that into the calculation. Could you give a rough estimation how large is your overhead in percent of the total "investment", and how much are your bandwidth costs per month?

Anyway, the calculations are so rough they only can give an indication of the order of magnitude. For now, Storj seems a better bet than Sia to "buy Bitcoins with storage space" (although I would have to do the math again with the present Siacoin prices, but I'll wait until the volatility decreases a bit).

(I have got an answer that the numbers I wrote from Storj are correct, so I have edited the post.)

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July 13, 2017, 02:27:23 AM
 #5

Interesting thread, I'll start following.
I have some SIAcoin I've GPU-mined, I know it's possible to earn 'em renting space, I'll pay attention if it's worth.

If you'd like to help me saving for my babie's future, bitcoin:1QCD4EYjeuEGjVCxkD7PAD2feEVEMYvpGU
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July 13, 2017, 03:20:59 AM
 #6

Interesting thread, I'll start following.
I have some SIAcoin I've GPU-mined, I know it's possible to earn 'em renting space, I'll pay attention if it's worth.

Me too. From what I've heard, the problem is that no one is renting out space yet.
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July 13, 2017, 05:59:03 AM
 #7

Well I use ZFS with RAID-Z3 on three arrays so that's 9 drives for redundancy, 2 drives for the OS (smaller, but SSDs). Consumer drives, not professional. I bought the SAS enclosures (with internal SATA ports) used, about 200$ for 16 drives. 100$ for a SAS controller that you can use to connect 2 enclosures (in fact a lot more, as you can chain them, with some loss of performance). I have 4 enclosures and 2 controllers in use.

Bandwidth everything is at home so I only got a home ADSL connection, wholly inadequate to send data over the internet.

I guess electricity is also a factor.

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July 13, 2017, 06:14:07 AM
 #8

It's an interesting topic, which is rare on Bitcointalk these days!
1 question would be, do you not need to have a SSD to rent your storage space? That costs more than $30 per TB if so.

It also seems like you are talking about a 1 month job, which it wouldn't need to be. You would still have everything in month 2 and onwards to continue making money.

I guess the costs of running the HDs, along with the bandwidth and associated extra costs would end up making the procurement costs of the HD look minimal in the long term.
On a different note, I would worry about storing other people's data on my server. What if they have illegal stuff on there?
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July 13, 2017, 07:36:25 AM
 #9

you approach is not that different than just investing in altcoin, mining, in fact the resolutions are the same, with mining you are fairly buying bitcoin at cheaper rate much cheaper than what you would pay by buying

even cheaper than your $800 usd, because if one rig can do almost 0.3 a month of bitcoin by consuming only $100, you are effectively buying bitcoin at $350 rate...
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July 13, 2017, 03:21:44 PM
 #10

Now that there is some interest, I will try to provide weekly updates on the prices, at least of the SiaBTC price because it's the easiest to calculate because they have transparent statistics tools there.

Well I use ZFS with RAID-Z3 on three arrays so that's 9 drives for redundancy, 2 drives for the OS (smaller, but SSDs). Consumer drives, not professional. I bought the SAS enclosures (with internal SATA ports) used, about 200$ for 16 drives. 100$ for a SAS controller that you can use to connect 2 enclosures (in fact a lot more, as you can chain them, with some loss of performance). I have 4 enclosures and 2 controllers in use.

Thanks! If I understand right, your overhead then was $300 for 59 drives? Or $400 (because of the 2 controllers)? How many TB has your system in total? That would be important to get some numbers I can use in my analysis.

The good about that is that probably these additional parts lose value slower than hard disks that eventually fail.

Quote
Bandwidth everything is at home so I only got a home ADSL connection, wholly inadequate to send data over the internet.

Sia/Storj "hosters" at this moment also are often using "consumer-grade" internet connections. According to a German Storj thread, higher bandwidth seems to be a factor that would increase not only your costs but also your earnings.

Quote
I guess electricity is also a factor.
Maybe. I think however that it's almost negligible if you use the machine you rent also for other activities, because most people using online storage won't access it all the time but only, let's say, a few minutes per day.

1 question would be, do you not need to have a SSD to rent your storage space? That costs more than $30 per TB if so.
No, you can rent what you want - but with a SSD you potentially could get higher rates because of better performance.

Quote
It also seems like you are talking about a 1 month job, which it wouldn't need to be. You would still have everything in month 2 and onwards to continue making money.

Correct. I choose one month because it's an easy to grasp time lapse and it can be somewhat compared to the act of "buying a Bitcoin". The 100% correct price formula would be:

Earnings / Hardware Value Deterioration

so if we assume that a HD loses 10% of its value in the first month (the overhead value loss may be lower), then the price is only 10% from the value. I will try to find more adequate numbers than these 10%, but maybe they're a good approximation.

Taking this into account, I think in my updates I will provide three prices per platform:

- the formula I employed in the first posts (Potential Earnings / Hardware costs)
- the Earnings / Hardware Value Deterioration formula with Potential Earnings
- the Earnings / Hardware Value Deterioration formula with Mean Earnings

Quote
On a different note, I would worry about storing other people's data on my server. What if they have illegal stuff on there?

As far as I know, on Storj you can block content you don't approve, while on Sia it is the same as with Freenet - nobody knows what's on you drive, so in most jurisdictions you aren't legally responsible.

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July 17, 2017, 08:37:00 AM
 #11

4 enclosures : 800$
2 controllers : 200$ (one controller could be enough)
38 4TB drives and 19 3TB drives
one single "array of arrays" (ZFS pool) of 144TiB usable space

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July 18, 2017, 01:41:12 AM
 #12

4 enclosures : 800$
2 controllers : 200$ (one controller could be enough)
38 4TB drives and 19 3TB drives
one single "array of arrays" (ZFS pool) of 144TiB usable space

Thanks! I interpret that then you have 1000$ of (one-time) overhead cost. If we continue to assume that HD cost is 30USD/TB, then the 209 TB cost about $6270. The "array of arrays" would be already a superior hosting configuration to the mean Sia hoster, so I, for now, don't take it into account (it would mean an ~45% higher cost).

In conclusion: the overhead cost is ~16% (I'll round it to 15%).

So I could, in a preliminar way, break up the following formula:

StorageBTCperMonth (SBTCm) = (Potential) Earnings / Hardware Value Deterioration

if we assume:
Hard disk value deterioration = Hard disk price * 0.1 (10% deterioration per month)
Overhead value deterioration = (Hard disk price * 0.15) * 0.05 (5% deterioration per month)


SBTCm = Earnings / (Hard Disk price * 0.1) + ((Hard Disk price * 0.15) * 0.05)

That doesn't include electricity and bandwidth, so it's incomplete, but it's something to start with.

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July 18, 2017, 02:30:55 AM
 #13

I have some spare external hard drives, they are between 6-8 years old and have 640gb each. If I let them plugged the entire day, how much I can do for hour in BTC?
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