Storage Market in Filecoin #

Storage Market subsystem is the data entry point into the network. Storage miners only earn power from data stored in a storage deal and all deals live on the Filecoin network. Specific deal negotiation process happens off chain, clients and miners enter a storage deal after an agreement has been reached and post storage deals on the Filecoin network to earn block rewards and get paid for storing the data in the storage deal. A deal is only valid when it is posted on chain with signatures from both parties and at the time of posting, there are sufficient balances for both parties locked up to honor the deal in terms of deal price and deal collateral.

Terminology #

  • StorageClient - The party that wants to make a deal to store data
  • StorageProvider - The party that will store the data in exchange for payment. A storage miner.
  • StorageMarketActor - The on-chain component of deals. The StorageMarketActor is analogous to an escrow and a ledger for all deals made.
  • StorageAsk - The current price and parameters a miner is currently offering for storage (analogous to an Ask in a financial market)
  • StorageDealProposal - A proposal for a storage deal, signed only by the - Storage client
  • StorageDeal - A storage deal proposal with a counter signature from the Provider, which then goes on-chain.

Deal Flow #

The lifecycle for a deal within the storage market contains distinct phases:

  1. Discovery - Client identifies miners and determines their current asks
  2. Negotiation (out of band) - Both parties come to an agreement about the terms of the deal, each party commits funds to the deal, data is transferred
  3. Publishing - Deal is published on chain, making the storage provider publicly accountable for the deal
  4. Handoff - Once the deal is published, it is handled off the Storage Mining Subsystem. The Storage Mining Subsystem will add the deal to a sector, seal the sector, and tell the Storage Market Actor that the deal is in a sector, thereby making the deal active.

The remaining parts of the deal lifecycle are handled by the Storage Mining Subsystem, which communicates with the Storage Market Actor in order to process deal payments. See Storage Mining Subsystem for more details.

The following diagram outlines the phases of deal flow within the storage market in detail:

StorageClientData TransferStorageProviderNodeStorageMarketActorStorage Mining SubsystemDiscoveryDiscovering MinersList Miner Actors from chain stateList of Miner ActorsQuery actor properties from chain stateMiner actor properties from chain stateloop[ Each Miner Actor ]Querying For AsksSend Query For Current AskCurrent Storage Askloop[ each StorageProvider ]NegotiationProposing a dealAdd funds for a deal as neccesaryFunds addedCalculate piece commitmentPropose a dealVerifying a dealVerify deal parameters (price, size, etc)Check StorageClient balanceClient balanceVerify balance greater that total storage priceIndicate Intent To Accept DealTransferring DataOpen push request to clientSend push request to providerAccept and request dataSend request for dataSend DataFinished Sending DataNotify data transfer completeVerify data matches piece commitmentEnsuring CollateralAdd collateral for deal as neededCollateral addedPublishingPutting Deal On ChainSign Deal ProposalPublish Deal On ChainDeal Accepted (w/ Publish Message CID)Deal PublishedVerify Deal PublishedVerify Publish Message Appears On ChainDeal PublishedHandoffStorageMiner Handoff And SealingAdd PieceStorage Mineradds piece to sectorprecommits,seals sector,activates dealSee Storage MiningSubsystemfor more detailStorageClientData TransferStorageProviderNodeStorageMarketActorStorage Mining Subsystem
Storage Market Deal Flow #

Discovery #

Discovery is the process where a client identifies storage providers (i.e. a miner) who might be able to store their data. There are many ways a client might identify a provider to store their data. This outlines the minimum discovery services a filecoin implementation MUST provide. As the network evolves, third parties may build systems that supplement or enhance these services.

Discovery involves identifying providers and determining their current StorageAsk. The steps are as follows:

  1. A client queries the chain to gain a list of Storage Miner Actors who have registerd as miners with the StoragePowerActor
  2. A client may perform additional queries to each Storage Miner Actor to determine their properties – worker address, sector size, libp2p Multiaddress etc
  3. Once the client identifies potentially suitable providers, it sends a direct libp2p message using the Storage Query Protocol to get each potential provider’s current StorageAsk.
  4. Miners respond on the AskProtocol with a signed version of their current StorageAsk

A StorageAsk contains all the properties that a client will need to determine if a given provider will meet its needs for storage at this moment. Providers should update their asks frequently to insure the information they are providing to clients is up to date.

Negotiation #

Negotiation is the out of band process where a storage client and a storage provider come to an agreement about a storage deal and reach the point where a deal is published on chain.

Negotiation begins once a client has discovered a miner whose StorageAsk meets their desired criteria.The recommended order of operations for negotiating and publishing a deal is as follows:

  1. Before sending a proposal to the provider, the StorageClient adds funds for a deal, as necessary, to the StorageMarketActor (by calling AddBalance)
  2. In order to propose a storage deal, the StorageClient then calculates the piece commitment (CommP) for the data it intends to store ahead of time. This is neccesary so that the StorageProvider can verify the data the StorageClient sends to be stored matches the CommP in the StorageDealProposal. For more detail about the relationship between payloads, pieces, and CommP see Piece and Filproofs.
  3. The StorageClient now creates a StorageDealProposal and sends the proposal and the CID for the root of the data payload to be stored to the StorageProvider using the Storage Deal Protocol

Execution now moves to the StorageProvider

  1. The StorageProvider inspects the deal to verify that the deal’s parameters match its own internal criteria (such as price, piece size, deal duration, etc) – and rejects the proposal if it doesn’t (it sends a rejection to the client over the Storage Deal Protocol)
  2. The StorageProvider queries the StorageMarketActor to verify the StorageClient has deposited enough funds to make the deal (i.e. balance > total storage price) and rejects the proposal if it hasn’t.
  3. If all criteria are met, the StorageProvider responds using the Storage Deal Protocol indicate an intent to accept the deal.

Execution now moves back to the StorageClient

  1. The StorageClient opens a push request for the payload data using the Data Transfer Module, and sends the request to the provider along with a voucher containing the CID for the StorageDealProposal
  2. The StorageProvider checks the voucher and verifies the CID matches a storage deal proposal it has received and verified but not put on chain already. If so, it accepts the data transfer request from the StorageClient.
  3. The Data Transfer Module now transfers for the payload data to be stored from the StorageClient to the StorageProvider using GraphSync.
  4. Once complete, the Data Transfer Module notifies the StorageProvider
  5. The StorageProvider recalculates the piece commitment (CommP) from the data that was transferred and verifies it matches the piece commitment in the StorageDealProposal

Publishing #

Data is now transferred, both parties have agreed, and it’s time to publish the deal. Given that the counter signature on a deal proposal is a standard message signature by the provider and the signed deal is an on-chain message, it is usually the StorageProvider that publishes the deal. However, if StorageProvider decides to send this signed on-chain message to the client before calling PublishStorageDeal then client can publish the deal on chain. Client’s funds are not locked until the deal is published and a published deal that is not activated within some window will result in an on-chain penalty.

  1. First, the StorageProvider adds collateral for the deal as needed to the StorageMarketActor (using AddBalance)
  2. Now, the StorageProvider prepares and signs the on-chain StorageDeal message with the StorageDealProposal signed by the client and its own signature. It can now either send this message back to the client or call PublishStorageDeals on the StorageMarketActor to publish the deal. It is recommended for StorageProvider to send back the signed message before PublishStorageDeals is called.
  3. After calling PublishStorageDeals, StorageProvider sends a message to the StorageClient on the Storage Deal Protocol with the CID of the message that it is putting on chain for convenience.
  4. If all goes well, the StorageMarketActor responds with an on chain DealID for the published deal.

Finally, the client verifies the deal.

  1. The StorageClient queries the node for the CID of the message published on chain (sent by the provider). It then inspects the message parameters to make sure they match the expected deal.

Handoff #

Now that a deal is published, it needs to be stored, sealed, and proven in order for the provider to be paid. (see Storage Deal for more information about how deal payments are made). These later stages of a deal are handled by the Storage Mining Subsystem. So the final task for the Storage Market is to handoff to the Storage Mining Subsystem

  1. The StorageProvider writes the serialized, padded piece to a shared Filestore.
  2. The StorageProvider calls HandleStorageDeal on the StorageMiner with the published StorageDeal and filestore path.

A note re order of operations: the only requirement to publish a storage deal with the StorageMarketActor is that the StorageDealProposal is signed by the StorageClient, the publish message is signed by the StorageProvider, and both parties have deposited adequate funds/collateral in the StorageMarketActor. As such, it’s not required that the steps listed above happen in exactly the order listed above. However, the above order is recommended because it generally minimizes the ability of either party to act maliciously.

Data Types #

The following data types unique to the Storage Market:

import abi ""
import addr ""
import filcrypto ""
import message ""
import cid ""
import smarkact ""

type StorageDealStatus uint64

// StorageAsk is the current price and parameters a miner is currently offering for storage
// (analogous to an Ask in a financial market)
type StorageAsk struct {
    Price             abi.TokenAmount  // attoFIL per GiB per epoch
    Collateral        abi.TokenAmount  // attoFIL per GiB per epoch

    MinPieceSize      abi.PieceSize
    // address of miner actor for deals
    Miner             addr.Address
    // the epoch at the time this ask was published
    PublicationEpoch  abi.ChainEpoch
    MaxDuration       abi.ChainEpoch
    MinDuration       abi.ChainEpoch
    // a miner should update sequence number each time it publishes an ask
    // so that anyone with two asks from the same miner can determine which is
    // more current
    SeqNo             UVarint

// A SignedStorageAsk is an ask signed by the miner that is making the offer
type SignedStorageAsk struct {
    Ask        StorageAsk
    Signature  filcrypto.Signature

// AskProtocolRequest is a request sent over the storage ask protocol to a miner 
// to determine their current ask
type AskProtocolRequest struct {
    Miner addr.Address

// AskProtocolResponse is the response a miner sends over the ask protocol with
// a signed version of their most recent storage ask
type AskProtocolResponse struct {
    Ask SignedStorageAsk

// DealProtocolRequest is a request sent by a storage client to 
// a storage provider on the storage deal protocol to propose a storage deal
type DealProtocolRequest struct {
    // The deal being proposed
    DealProposal  smarkact.StorageDealProposal
    // root of the data to be transferred
    Payload       cid.Cid

// DealProtocolResponse is a response sent by a storage miner 
// on the storage deal protocol with the current status of a storage
// deal proposal
type DealProtocolResponse struct {
    // The CID of the storage deal proposal 
    Proposal        &smarkact.StorageDealProposal

    // Status of deal
    State           StorageDealStatus
    // any additional information about status
    Message         string

    // CID of message published on chain, once it is published
    PublishMessage  &message.SignedMessage

type StorageDataTransferVoucher struct {
    Proposal &smarkact.StorageDealProposal
package storage_market

const (
	StorageDealProposalNotFound StorageDealStatus = iota

Details about StorageDealProposal and StorageDeal (which are used in the Storage Market and elsewhere) specifically can be found in Storage Deal.

Protocols #

Name: Storage Query Protocol
Protocol ID: /fil/<network-name>/storage/ask/1.0.1

Request: CBOR Encoded AskProtocolRequest Data Structure Response: CBOR Encoded AskProtocolResponse Data Structure

Name: Storage Deal Protocol
Protocol ID: /fil/<network-name>/storage/mk/1.0.1

Request: CBOR Encoded DealProtocolRequest Data Structure Response: CBOR Encoded DealProtocolResponse Data Structure