Using Chia DataLayer as a Software Distribution Platform

Michael Taylor
5 min readOct 19


The Chia DataLayer offers an economical and efficient solution for data distribution to your subscribers, positioning it as a compelling foundational element for a peer-to-peer software distribution marketplace. Utilizing Chia DataLayer in this capacity presents multiple advantages, primarily its cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation.

There are two primary software distribution models to explore:

1. Open Subscription Model

2. Paid Subscription Model

This article will provide comprehensive guidance on configuring both models to enable seamless, continuous delivery of your software to your customer base.

Open Subscription Model

Chia DataLayer offers robust support for the Open Subscription Model, requiring minimal configuration to get started. The general workflow for this model is outlined below:

  1. Store Initialization: The publisher sets up a DataLayer store and uploads the software. Concurrently, a mirror coin is created, which provides information on locating the server for the store.
  2. User Subscription: Users interested in staying updated with the latest software version can use Chia’s built-in functionality to subscribe to the publisher’s DataLayer store.
  3. Data Updates: When the publisher pushes new data to the store, the on-chain root hash of the store is automatically updated.
  4. Automated Synchronization: Subscribers’ DataLayer systems detect the change in the root hash on the blockchain and automatically download the updated content locally.
  5. Software Extraction: Users have two options for accessing the updated software:
  • Run specific command-line commands to extract the new software from the updated store.
  • Utilize a utility provided by the publisher that operates as a service, automatically detecting and installing new updates on the user’s system.

Scalability and Cost-Efficiency

This model offers exceptional scalability, differing significantly from commercial systems like those provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Unlike AWS, where costs scale with the number of subscribers, the Open Subscription Model via Chia DataLayer maintains constant operational costs regardless of subscriber count. Whether you have one subscriber or one million, the distribution costs remain unchanged, offering a cost-effective solution for software delivery. 🌲⬅️

Costs to Consider

Although Chia DataLayer is a cost-free solution for data distribution to subscribers, there are some expenses that you should be aware of:

  1. Hosting Costs: If you opt for third-party hosting services for your DataLayer store, you’ll incur hosting fees. Self-hosting eliminates this expense.
  2. Bandwidth Costs: While the data distribution to subscribers is free of charge, end-users may incur bandwidth costs when downloading your software, depending on their internet service plan.
  3. Mirroring Costs: Described below.

It’s important to note that the data distribution mechanism leverages Chia’s peer-to-peer technologies, which mitigates the cost for the publisher, making it an economical option for distributing software to a wide audience.

Managing Bandwidth Costs through DataLayer Mirrors

One effective strategy for limiting bandwidth costs is to leverage DataLayer mirrors. In this setup, other entities act as secondary hosts for your DataLayer store. After receiving an updated copy of your store, these mirrors broadcast a “mirror coin” that indicates they too can serve the data. Here are some considerations based on the type of software you’re distributing:

  1. Paid Mirror Services: For critical or commercial software, you may opt for paid mirror services to ensure high availability and reliable data delivery. One such service that will do this is
  2. Community-Supported Mirrors: For open-source or community-driven projects, you may find volunteers willing to act as free mirrors, thereby reducing your bandwidth costs.

This approach not only limits your bandwidth expenses but also enhances the data distribution network, making your software more accessible to a wider audience.

Diagram of System

The synchronization process starts as soon as the publishers on-chain root hash changes. A root hash is unique for every store generation on the datalayer. Meaning, once the data changes, the root hash changes and all the subscribers start to synchronize with the new data in parallel.

Paid Subscription Model

The Paid Subscription Model closely resembles the Open Subscription Model but includes an extra layer of access control. This is achieved through the DataLayer plugin system, which enables the creation of a whitelist for authorized users. Typically, this whitelist comprises users who have either paid for the software or have a legitimate entitlement to access it.

Access Control Mechanism

To facilitate the Paid Subscription Model, a specialized access control mechanism is utilized, capitalizing on the features of the DataLayer plugin system.

Whitelisting Authorized Users

The whitelist is managed on the publisher’s servers and serves as the basis for enforcing authenticated access to download data from the publisher’s mirror. The DataLayer plugin system interacts with this mirror for authentication; if successful, it proceeds to download the data. By leveraging the whitelist through the DataLayer plugin system, you can ensure exclusive access to paid subscribers for downloading the latest software versions.

Subscriber Authentication and Authorization

  1. 1. Localhost Server: As an initial step, the publisher furnishes the subscriber with software that runs a localhost server on their machine. This server ideally operates as a continuous service.
  2. User Authentication: Upon software installation, the user is prompted to enter authentication credentials — be it a username and password or another authentication method — which are then relayed to the publisher for verification.
  3. Plugin Specification: The localhost server is designed to expose endpoints that align with the DataLayer plugin specification. These endpoints are registered with the user’s Chia instance via its configuration file.
  4. Authorized Access: Utilizing the verified credentials, the localhost server gains authorized access to the publisher’s DataLayer mirror to retrieve the required data.

Through the integration of these components, the Paid Subscription Model achieves a secure, efficient, and controlled mechanism for software distribution. This approach not only retains the advantages of the Open Subscription Model but also introduces an additional revenue stream, making it highly suitable for commercial software distribution endeavors.

The diagram here is quite simple, it encompasses the distribution diagram from the Open Subscription Model above, but there is an extra authentication step when requesting data from the publisher’s mirror.


In summary, the Chia DataLayer presents a versatile and cost-effective platform for software distribution, catering to both open and paid subscription models. Its inherent scalability and peer-to-peer technology make it a standout option, particularly when compared to commercial alternatives like Amazon Web Services. Whether you are a small developer or a large enterprise, the benefits — ranging from cost-efficiency to ease of setup — make it an attractive solution for various software distribution needs.

This article has explored the key features, workflow, and cost considerations of employing Chia DataLayer for software distribution. We have delved into the Open Subscription Model, which offers minimal setup and high scalability, as well as the Paid Subscription Model, which adds a layer of access control and revenue generation. Various strategies to manage and mitigate costs have also been discussed, providing you with a well-rounded view of what Chia DataLayer can offer.

If you find yourself intrigued by the potential of Chia DataLayer and are interested in a more in-depth exploration or personalized consultation, feel free to reach out to me via my X handle, @michaeltaylor3d. Together, we can discuss how to best leverage this innovative technology to meet your project’s specific requirements.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to the possibility of assisting you in your software distribution endeavors.