Decentralized Cloud Storage - Storj

Decentralized Cloud Storage - Storj

The next-generation Google Drive?

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The article "Blockchain Technology: Beyond Blockchain" was published seven years ago in 2015, and Blockchain technology has seen many advancements ever since. Many companies mentioned in the paper are still around, which sounds like a good thing for the technology. In Section II, the article mentions many use cases for the technology beyond the very well-known Bitcoin. The use-case that I found very interesting was "Decentralized Cloud Storage."

I have always had difficulty choosing one cloud platform and committing to their paid plan; I have concerns regarding who will do the best job handling my data, Apple or Google, or maybe someone else. I still use the free versions of Google Drive and iCloud to store my (not so important) files in their centralized cloud. The article mentioned this platform called Storj, which is a decentralized cloud platform.

When a user stores a file using Storj, the file is first encrypted using AES-256-GCM symmetric encryption (whatever that means, the keyword here is "encrypted"). The file is then split into 80 different pieces, which are stored on 80 different Nodes distributed all around the globe. The question arises, "Where are these nodes?". These nodes are people from all around the world (currently from 84 countries) who choose to host a node by doing the required setup. Storj then tests these host nodes by storing test data and assigning them a reputation score depending on their performance. Storj uses this reputation score and the local latency of the nodes to decide where to store a user's file.

The nodes are compensated for their storage space, and the website "estimates" a payout of $1.5/TB per month for the users. However, the reviews from some who have tried hosting a node are unpleasant. In my opinion, it will take a while for Storj to be adopted globally as an option in people's minds for cloud storage. This broad adoption will improve the value hosts get from the platform. One of the main reasons for late adoption is "Behavioral Change," which entails that people have a high resistance to change when something is already working well (at least for them). Today, many are okay with trusting a third party with their data, which works! The motivation required to take the leap and trust Storj or any piece of code is a massive shift in perspective, and this will require some getting used to getting this train rolling.

After reading the article, the question that comes to my mind is: Will platforms like Storj ever threaten the existence of other cloud companies: say, Google Drive or iCloud?

Let me know what you think in the response section below!

References:

  • Decentralized Cloud Storage. Storj. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2022, from storj.io
  • Crosby, M., Pattanayak, P., Verma, S., & Kalyanaraman, V. (2016). Blockchain technology: Beyond bitcoin. Applied Innovation, 2(6–10), 71.