Decentralized Cloud Storage — An Overview

Moonrock Capital
9 min readJun 1, 2023

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We’ve already written about cloud storage before and in our opinion it has triumphantly supplanted the archaic paradigm of storing data on physical hardware for the noble developers crafting their ingenious apps and websites, as well as the astute individuals who zealously safeguard their precious digital treasures. Alas, the preeminent purveyors of cloud storage services, who reside in their gilded fortresses of centralization, have wrought upon us a system riddled with pernicious drawbacks such as exorbitant fees, pitiful flexibility, and a dearth of alternatives to choose from. Fear not, for the knighted champions of blockchain networks have embarked upon a gallant quest to redress the shortcomings of the legacy model, striving valiantly to bestow upon us a decentralized cloud storage utopia that shall rectify the discordant incentives between users and providers. Within these very lines, we shall embark on a grand voyage, exploring the most revered decentralized cloud storage options and their ingenious utilization of blockchain technology to revolutionize this industry.

Why Should We Use It?

Cloud storage has become the prevailing norm for the digital domain. In this realm, seekers of cyberspace hosting, be it data, applications, or websites, find themselves beholden to the mighty central authorities such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. These leviathans of the cloud provide the masses with storage services, where user data finds its abode within the sacred server farms of these esteemed providers. It is an era where cost efficiency, scalability, and geographic accessibility reign supreme, surpassing the antiquated regime of physical hardware storage.

Through the auspices of cloud service providers, developers can now swiftly unleash their applications upon the world without the cumbersome task of server setup and management. Unfortunately, customers are often constrained by limited choices in terms of providers and functionality.

Source: https://www.statista.com/chart/18819/worldwide-market-share-of-leading-cloud-infrastructure-service-providers/

The vast majority of cloud storage providers, as of 2023, are progeny of bona fide tech giants, commanding a staggering 65% of the market share in the realm of cloud services.

Despite their towering popularity and ubiquity, centralized cloud storage providers have faced their fair share of scrutiny. These behemoths are often chastised for imposing rigid and exorbitant cloud services and storage plans upon their users, leaving them yearning for viable alternatives. Research has revealed that many developers settle for predetermined hosting space that remains woefully underutilized, leading to exorbitant fees paid for cloud services, oftentimes for naught.

However, the most pressing concern lies in the inherent reliance on a central authority to safeguard user data, maintain online presence, and refrain from tampering with or censoring hosted content. In response to this predicament, the indomitable forces of blockchain technology and decentralized networks have birthed a revolutionary paradigm of digital storage: decentralized cloud storage.

In stark contrast to their centralized, permissioned counterparts, decentralized cloud storage providers harness infrastructure crafted to dismantle undue control and influence. They embrace a permissionless architecture, liberating developers from stifling restrictions. Much akin to the tenets of a decentralized blockchain, these innovative storage models derive their security from a distributed structure, rendering them resilient against hackers, attacks, and the dreaded scourge of data center outages that plague their centralized counterparts.

How Does It Work?

To partake in the marvels of decentralized cloud storage one must embark upon the path of peer-to-peer smart contracts within the sacred realms of blockchain-based decentralized storage marketplaces. These sanctuaries of innovation bestow upon us the power to forge agreements that govern the storage of our cherished data: the size, duration, and price meticulously determined by these smart contracts. What’s more, these ingenious contracts empower us to secure multiple copies of our data through the wondrous art of redundancy — a practice where data is replicated across diverse locations to ensure its preservation. These extraordinary smart contracts find their abode within the annals of various blockchains, basking in the immutable and transparent essence bestowed upon them by the prowess of blockchain technology. And lo and behold, the cornerstone of this system often rests upon the noble Proof-of-Storage consensus mechanism.

In this realm of boundless possibilities, a plethora of decentralized cloud storage options graces the stage. Each platform, with its unique flair, takes aim at distinct sectors of the cloud services market, employing an array of technologies and methodologies. Some cater to the individual consumers, while others stand as mighty B2B solutions, and there are those that dedicate themselves to safeguarding the sacred realm of privacy. Without further ado, let us embark upon a captivating journey as we delve into the realms of a few of the most revered decentralized storage providers within the vibrant world of blockchain.

Filecoin (FIL)

Filecoin, an illustrious creation birthed by the very minds behind the revered Interplanetary File System (IPFS). Filecoin, emerges as a resplendent open-source cloud-based storage network, daring to vanquish the perceived shortcomings of its traditional cloud storage brethren. These afflictions, oh how they torment us! Insufficient trust, feeble security, meager connectivity, feeble scalability, and the wretched dependence on centralized systems that plague the realm.

With unwavering resolve, Filecoin sets forth on a noble quest to construct an expansive decentralized file storage network, capable of adapting to the diverse needs of its esteemed clientele. Behold, for it promises low costs, swiftness in data retrieval, and the holy grail of data storage redundancy. Such modifications shall surely captivate the hearts of those who choose to embrace the glory of Filecoin. And fear not, for Filecoin boasts the fortification of state-of-the-art cryptographic storage proofs, ensuring data remains ensconced in secure embrace for the designated span of time.

Now, let us delve into the inner workings of the Filecoin realm. Its architecture is crafted to create an incentivized structure that beckons miners to amass vast repositories of storage space, which they may then offer to customers for rent. Yet, this tale takes a twist, for there exists a noble breed known as dedicated data retrievers. These valiant beings bear the sacred duty of fetching the desired data when summoned by the clients in need. Thus, the storage and retrieval of decentralized data within the Filecoin protocol are intrinsically intertwined with the very fabric of the mining mechanism that fuels this grand design. These endeavors stand divided into two distinct realms. The retrieval market, a realm beyond the chains of the on-chain, and the storage market, where the foundations are firmly rooted within the very essence of the blockchain itself.

Siacoin (SC)

Sia, a blockchain network that weaves a tapestry of decentralized data storage, harnessing the surplus hard drive space of users, which they may rent out to those in need. Sia, much like its kin Filecoin, presents a grand marketplace of data storage, where providers can monetize their storage space and reap the rewards bestowed upon them in the form of Siacoins (SC) — the sacred native utility token of this wondrous network.

Sia strives to set itself apart from the throngs of competitors by placing paramount importance upon the exalted realm of decentralization. Its noble mission is to grant individuals not only exclusive dominion over their data but also the power to store it securely and autonomously, free from the clutches of censorship. This ethos of decentralization and autonomy, while familiar within the tapestry of the blockchain space, finds extraordinary manifestation within the realm of decentralized data storage crafted by the illustrious Sia crypto project.

Open-source code adorns the very foundations of Sia as its core software shuns centralized architecture with unwavering resolve. The network does not rely on its own servers to sustain its existence, nor does it impose updates upon its subjects without consent (for users must don their armor and install them manually). However, this commitment to decentralized storage comes at a price — a slightly higher threshold for entry compared to the traditional cloud storage providers that grace our realm, or even some of its decentralized brethren. Those who embark upon the Sia crypto network must delve into the depths of downloading the entire Sia blockchain, partake in the noble pursuit of running a full node, engage in transactions wielding the sacred SC, and possess a fair measure of technical knowledge to traverse this path. These are the sacrifices Sia is willing to make for it aspires to remain a paragon of trustless decentralized cloud storage — a beacon of unyielding faith in its purpose.

Storj (STORJ)

Storj, a realm that harnesses the dormant storage and underutilized might of networks across the globe. It beckons users far and wide, incentivizing them to contribute their spare storage space to meet the insatiable demand for ultra-secure and private storage. Storj’s ingenious solution weaves a tapestry of decentralization as it encrypts, fragments, and disperses files among thousands of nodes and ISPs scattered across the world, each a statistical enigma in itself.

Now, pay heed, for the early iterations of the Storj protocol were indeed blockchain-based. Yet, in its present form, Storj has shed the shackles of blockchain architecture. Instead, it stands as a global network, an amalgamation of independent nodes, united by a peer-to-peer communications protocol that grants them the power to commune. Thus, while the Storj network upholds the noble banner of decentralization and bears semblance to the structure of a blockchain, it emancipates itself from the confines of the transactional limitations that govern the consensus mechanisms of blockchain.

Storj entices two factions to embark upon its network — the gallant souls adorned with surplus bandwidth and storage capacity upon their computers, and the desperate seekers yearning for decentralized file storage. Although the cloud object storage service welcomes all who dare to tread its path, it unveils its true glory to the developers, the start-ups, and the titanic endeavors that hunger for vast storage capacities. As a testament to the exchange of value within this realm, Storj adorns itself with the STORJ token — an ERC-20 utility token that courses through the veins of this vibrant network, bestowing bountiful treasures upon its loyal denizens.

Internxt (INXT)

Internxt, a decentralized cloud storage platform that has garnered ample seed funding, igniting the flames of growth within its user base. Similar to its peers in the realm of cloud storage, Internxt beckons users to unleash their data upon its sacred grounds, which shall be encased in the armor of encryption, shattered into shards, and bestowed upon its vast network of decentralized cloud storage providers. However, my friends, do take note that Internxt leans towards the aspirations of individual users, who seek solace in storing their cherished photos and personal data, rather than catering solely to developers in pursuit of hosting grand applications or websites — though do not underestimate its technical prowess, for it possesses the capacity to embrace more demanding data storage needs.

Within the realm of Internxt a permissionless network prevails, granting passage to all who wish to partake and sell their storage space upon the marketplace — yes, even the grand data storage centers of old. And lo and behold, the sacred medium of exchange that courses through the veins of Internxt is the INXT token — a wondrous creation hailing from the Ethereum realm, taking the form of an ERC-20 token, destined to facilitate the flow of payments between the valiant data providers and the grateful clients that roam this realm.

Internxt aspires to set itself apart from the throngs of competition. It envisions a grand suite of decentralized alternatives — a tapestry of web services crafted with meticulous care. Picture, if you will, a decentralized email, a haven for photo storage, a sanctuary for file storage, and a realm of boundless file sharing — all bearing a striking resemblance to the familiar centralized product suites, such as Google’s revered G-Suite. By traversing this path, Internxt seeks to beckon forth a legion of users, drawn by the comforting embrace of familiarity and ease — a seamless transition from the dominion of centralized cloud storage to the realms of decentralized glory.

Conclusion

Decentralized data storage marketplaces empower consumers with the sacred gift of autonomous control and unfettered access to their precious data. Behold, as the clamor for decentralized cloud storage swells, a new generation of platforms emerges, bestowing upon us the fruits of flexibility, security, and cost reduction. Some of these bold decentralized storage networks set forth to challenge and overthrow the reigning titans of cloud storage, while others seek to forge alliances, working in harmony with the giants, expanding and refining their very essence.

Through the wondrous act of storing data across a vast web of decentralized peers, users find solace in the embrace of heightened data security, fortified by the pillars of redundancy. As they forsake the clutches of centralized storage providers, a newfound flexibility arises, enabling users to shape their data storage needs to their whims, liberated from the shackles of ill-fitting contracts, no viable alternatives in sight. Furthermore, the realm of decentralized cloud storage opens its gates to all, casting aside the limitations imposed by towering data centers, empowering anyone and everyone to become a storage provider, a driving force behind the surge of decentralization in this ethereal landscape.

Who We Are

Moonrock Capital is a Blockchain Advisory and Investment Firm, incubating and accelerating early stage startups since 2019.

Website: https://www.moonrockcapital.io

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoonrockCapital

Disclaimer: None of the information contained here constitutes an offer (or solicitation of an offer) to buy or sell any currency, product or financial instrument, to make any investment, or to participate in any particular trading strategy.

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Moonrock Capital

Moonrock Capital is a Blockchain Advisory and Investment Firm, incubating and accelerating early stage startups since 2019. https://www.moonrockcapital.io