Sia is a decentralized cloud storage platform that uses a blockchain to facilitate payments.
Sia uses Siacoin, to enable decentralized payments across the network.
This guide is not, and should not be regarded as 'investment advice' or as a 'recommendation' regarding a course of action.
Note: Images can be clicked to see a larger version. If you're confused by any terms used, a glossary can be found here.
Open the downloaded .zip file and extract the files to a new folder. Rename the folder 'Sia' and place it somewhere on your computer where it won't get accidentally deleted.
In the folder, double click the file named 'Sia-UI.exe' - a security warning may pop up- click run.
The Sia user interface will now be open. Your firewall may issue a warning- press the button 'allow access' to allow Sia to connect to the internet.
Now it's time to create a Siacoin wallet. Click the 'wallet' option on the left sidebar. Click 'create a new wallet'.
If you wish, choose the option to use a custom passphrase- which simply means you'll input your own password on the next screen rather than use the one Sia generates for you.
You will now see your wallet 'seed' and 'password'. If you chose not to input your own password, these will be identical. It is very important to back up these pieces of information somewhere safe and private. They are the key to your wallet. If anyone gets ahold of this information, they can access your wallet too.
Note: the seed and password in this image are for example only. Do not use them yourself.
Once you have the seed and password safely stored, click the button 'I have written these down in a safe place'.
Now it's time to test that you have your password written down correctly. Type your password into the prompt and press 'unlock'.
Your wallet is now open and ready to receive Siacoin. Notice the 'synchronizing' status bar in the top right corner- leave Sia running until this reaches 100% or the wallet won't register any of the Siacoin's we're about to buy and send to it.
At this point it's good form to backup the wallet files that Sia has created on your hard drive stored at:
Copy all the files inside that folder and back them up on a USB stick or external hard drive, and keep that somewhere safe. These wallet files aren't strictly necessary in recovering your Siacoin wallet, but they are another layer of security.
Even though your wallet hasn't finished syncing with the Sia network you can still safely receive coins to it.
Click 'Receive Siacoin'. The wallet will give you an address to send your Siacoin to. Copy this somewhere safe as we're going to need it soon.
Important note: Each time your click the receive button in the Sia wallet it will give you a new address. This is a security feature of Siacoin and nothing to panic about.
Now we'll purchase the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin, so that we can exchange it for Siacoin (if you already own Bitcoin you can skip ahead).
Choose which Bitcoin exchange you'd like to use (by clicking on the logo), and the guide will continue:
If you use this link to sign up to Coinbase we'll both receive ten dollars of free coins when you spend over $100 (or the equivalent in your currency).
Press the 'sign up' button and fill out your name (make sure this is exactly how it's written on your photo ID), email, password and location.
Just like a US bank, Coinbase is regulated by the US government, and has to follow strict financial rules. So they take verifying your identity very seriously. It's a pain, but it does give Coinbase a reputation for being the most trusted way to convert fiat currency to cryptocurrency.
To verify your account you must supply a phone number, upload an image of your photo ID and verify a credit/debit card or bank account before you can buy.
Using a credit/debit card on Coinbase means higher fees but offers instant purchasing. Using a bank transfer is cheaper but slower (taking up to a week to get your coins).
Once your payment details are verified, click 'buy/sell' on the top menu.
Select 'Bitcoin', and at the bottom of the page choose how much to spend in your local currency / how many coins you want to buy.
Once you're happy with the amount, click the big 'Buy' button.
You'll be asked to confirm your purchase.
Press the 'Confirm Buy' button.
Congratulations! You now own some Bitcoin. But don't close Coinbase yet, we're going to need it again in a few minutes.
Click here to go to Cex.io
Click the 'Register' button along the top menu.
Enter your email address and a secure password. Click the checkbox to agree to the terms.
You will now be asked to set up 2-factor authentication for your new account. It is strongly advised not to skip this step, as 2-factor authentication makes your account far more secure.
We recommend using the 'Smartphone App' option.
Once your security has been set up, you'll be taken to your account dashboard.
Before we do anything else, head on over to your personal email account- there will be an email from Cex.io asking you to click a link to verify your account. Click it.
You will be taken to a page telling you your email has been confirmed. Click 'Go back to the site'.
Look for your user ID in the top menu, hover your mouse over it and in the drop down menu click 'Verification'.
Every exchange that lets your buy cryptocurrencies for cash require you to verify your identification before doing so.
Complete the Cex.io verification process by supplying your personal information and uploading your ID.
Once you're verified, click the 'Deposit' button along the top menu.
You now get to choose how you'd like to deposit money:
Via credit/debit card
If you choose credit/debit card you can buy instantly, but you pay commission on the money you deposit.
Via bank transfer
This option takes a few days for the transfer to arrive but has no commission fees.
Choose the method you prefer and follow the instructions to deposit your money.
Once your money is in your account, click 'BUY/SELL' on the top menu.
Choose 'BTC' and the currency you'd like to buy it in (Dollars, Euros, Pounds or Rubles).
You will be offered some precalculated amounts of Bitcoin, or you can scroll to the bottom of the page and input the amount of Bitcoin you'd like to buy in the 'Custom amount' box.
Once you've decided, click 'Buy'.
You'll be asked to confirm your buy.
Check everything looks correct and click 'Confirm the order'.
Congratulations- you now own some Bitcoin!
Click here to go to LocalBitcoins, and click 'Sign up' on the top right menu.
Enter a username, your email and a strong password (that you won't forget!).
An email will be sent to you with a link to confirm your email address. Go find that email and click the link.
This will open a new window that will have automatically logged you into your new account.
Press 'Buy Bitcoins' on the top menu.
Click 'Quick buy'.
In the first input box, write how much money you want to spend on Bitcoin.
In the first drop down menu, select your currency. For example USD is US dollars, GBP is Great British Pounds etc.
Then in the next drop down select the country you're in.
If you wish to buy Bitcoin without needing to provide any ID, click the check box beside 'ID not required'. Please note that this may limit the numbers of sellers, and may be a more expensive way to purchase Bitcoin.
In the final drop down menu you're given a wide range of buying methods. You can choose to look for sellers that accept Paypal, bank transfers, Amazon gift cards etc. - or just choose to look at all options.
Once you're happy with your selections, press Search.
You'll be given a list of sellers matching your criteria.
Beside their user names you will see the number of transactions they have done on the site (e.g. 1000) and their feedback (e.g. 100% positive).
You will also see the payment methods they accept, the price they're selling Bitcoin at and any limit to the amount they will sell in one transaction (for example, they might have a lower limit of $50 and an upper limit of $10,000 for a single transaction).
Choose which seller you'd like to use and click 'Buy'.
On this page, read the terms of trade with your selected user. Make sure you're happy with them.
Pay attention to the opening hours- are they open right now? Also pay attention to the 'payment window'- this is how long you have to pay after sending the trade request. If you're not ready to send the payment within that time frame, don't continue.
Once you are ready, input the amount of Bitcoin you'd like to buy in your chosen currency. You may be limited to a smaller amount as this is your first time using LocalBitcoins- your limit will increase as you get positive feedback.
You may choose to write a message to the seller, but this isn't required.
Press 'Send trade request'.
You will now be given the payment details for the seller- for example, their bank account details, Paypal address etc.
Use these details to send the correct amount of money to the seller, within the payment window, by following the steps laid out on the right side of the screen.
It's very important to include the reference message with your payment so the seller knows the money came from you.
Once you have made the payment, click the 'I have paid' button.
You will be asked to confirm that you've made the payment.
Read the information and when you are sure you're happy to accept, press 'Confirm payment complete'.
You must now wait for the seller to confirm they have received the payment.
Once they have, the Bitcoin will be released into your account- you will get a message on the site (which can be seen as a red speech bubble along the top menu), as well as an email to confirm it.
Your coins will appear in your wallet (also on the top menu). Click it.
And now leave this page open as we're going to need it soon.
To get the best exchange rate possible, we'll use the site Bittrex to exchange your Bitcoin for Siacoin.
Click here to go to the Bittrex sign up form, and enter your email and a password. A confirmation email will be sent to you- click the link in it to access your new account.
Once you're in Bittrex, click settings > basic verification. As with most exchanges, Bittrex requires some basic information about you before you can access its trading services. So input your name, date of birth and address, and click submit.
Once your details are verified (usually within minutes or hours), click 'wallets' on the top menu, and then in the list that appears find Bitcoin.
Press the + (plus) button.
Note: Double check you've actually selected Bitcoin (BTC)- if you send your coins to the wrong wallet you will lose them.
You'll be given a Bitcoin deposit address, which looks like a long string of numbers and letters.
This address is where we'll send the Bitcoin you just purchased. Copy the Bitcoin deposit address Bittrex gives you.
Now, return to Coinbase.
Click 'Accounts' from the top menu, then find your Bitcoin wallet listed on the left.
In the 'Recipient' box, paste the Bitcoin wallet address we just copied from Bittrex.
In amount, type how much Bitcoin you wish to send (there is a 'use max' option if you wish to send it all).
Coinbase may ask you to confirm with your password/phone. Follow the instructions until it confirms the Bitcoin are sent.
Go back to Cex.io
Press 'Withdraw' on the top menu.
Under 'Select currency and amount' click 'USD' and select 'BTC' in the drop down menu.
Input the amount of Bitcoin you're sending.
In the box labelled 'Enter the recipient's address below' paste the Bitcoin wallet address we just copied from Bittrex.
Once you've looked everything over, click the check box to confirm you've double checked everything is correct.
You will be asked for a 2-factor authentication number.
Use your selected method of authentication to generate the number and write it in the box. Press 'Confirm'.
You will be sent an email to confirm the withdrawal.
Go to your personal email and click the link Cex.io has sent you. This will send the coins on their way.
Go back to LocalBitcoins.
You should still be in your wallet page.
In the box labelled 'Receiving Bitcoin address' paste the Bitcoin wallet address we just copied from Bittrex.
Enter the amount of Bitcoin you're sending.
You will be asked to enter your password to confirm the send.
Once entered, press 'Send from wallet'.
You will be taken back to your wallet and a message will appear to confirm the Bitcoin has been sent.
Now we've got to wait a few minutes for the coins to move across the network.
Unless there's an unusually large network backlog, the coins will take between 5 and 30 minutes to appear in your Bittrex wallet.
Bittrex will update automatically so there's no need to refresh the page.
While you're waiting, consider sharing this guide with your friends and followers to spread the word about Siacoin, encouraging its popularity and value to grow.
Here's some share buttons to make it easy:
On the Bittrex wallet page, click the 'hide zero balances' tick-box to make it easier to tell when your Bitcoin has arrived.
Once it shows in your 'available balance' we're ready to trade for Siacoin.
Click here to be taken to the Bitcoin / Siacoin exchange section of Bittrex.
This interface is where we will trade your Bitcoin for Siacoin. It looks overwhelming at first, but ignore the charts- all we're doing is a simple exchange from one coin to another.
Find the section labelled 'Trading' and 'Buy Siacoin'. Press the 'max' button, which tells Bittrex you want to use all your Bitcoin in this purchase. Now click 'price' and in the menu that appears select 'Last'.
You can use the Bid or Ask options if you wish to try and time the market to buy at a cheaper price, but that's a little more advanced than we're covering in this guide.
Press the 'Buy Siacoin' button. Then 'confirm' in the pop-up box. Your order is now activated.
Depending on the market, your order may be filled immediately (meaning, your Bitcoin was instantly converted to Siacoin) or your order may be waiting for enough Siacoin to become available at your chosen price to fulfil your purchase request.
To see if your order is still active, or has been partially filled, click the 'orders' button on the top menu of Bittrex. If your order is showing, you may choose to cancel it and attempt to purchase at a different price, or simply let the order sit to see if it's filled.
When your order has been filled- you can proudly say you're the owner of your own Siacoin!
Click wallets, and make sure the tick-box 'hide zero balances' is selected. You should now see your Siacoin in your Bittrex Siacoin wallet.
If you're comfortable with it, you could just leave your coins on Bittrex and they would probably be safe. However, exchanges have been hacked in the past, and people have lost coins, so we do recommend you keep them in a personal wallet. Here's how:
Click the - (minus) sign beside the Siacoin wallet and it'll bring up a screen for you to input your withdrawal details.
Put the wallet address that you copied from Siacoin (in step 9) into the box labelled 'address'.
In quantity, we would suggest doing a small test transaction of a couple of coins to be sure everything is working correctly. Press 'withdrawal'.
It will take a few minutes for your Siacoin to transfer.
Note: Bittrex may ask you to confirm the withdrawal by clicking an email link or inputting a code from your mobile.
Go back to the Sia application on your computer. Once it has 100% synchronised with the Sia blockchain you will see the coins in your wallet. Congratulations!Note: Be sure you have saved the seed and password to your Siacoin wallet securely. If something horrible happens to your computer they would be the only way to get your coins back.
Now that you have coins in your wallet you may want to consider staking some of them and selling any unused space on your hard-drive. There's more details about this on the official Sia website.
When it comes time that you want to send your Siacoin to another wallet or exchange, it's as simple as pressing the 'send Siacoin' button in the Sia application, inputting the amount of Siacoin you wish to send and the wallet address you're sending it to.
What about when you're ready to sell your Siacoin?
You simply reverse the order of tasks you performed in this guide.For example, you send your Siacoin to Bittrex, exchange it for Bitcoin, send that Bitcoin to Coinbase Cex.io Local Bitcoins and sell it for your preferred currency.