Adam Boudjemaa

Blockchain Developer, Bitcoin & Crypto Enthusiast.

Decentralized Cloud Storage is changing the face of the internet (2/2)

In this section below, we will discuss different decentralize cloud storage solutions.
Many of them are available in the market today, and they are built on top of the IPFS protocol or use the variance of it.
Many people confuse IPFS as being a blockchain itself, while it’s merely a protocol that can enable many blockchain platforms to build solutions on top of it.

Filecoin

Filecoin is a blockchain-based decentralized storage solution that incentivizes users with unused space on their hard drives to host chucks of data. Filecoin is built on top of IPFS by Protocol Labs, the same guys who build the IPFS, which makes it even more exciting. Users can join the Filecoin storage market to rent their hard drives, single disks, racks, whole data centers, or every Terabyte they are not using.
Filecoin has four kinds of groups in its network, each providing different sets of functionalities.
Clients — These are the people who pay for storage.Storage Miners — These are the people who rent their storage and host data for the client.Retrieval miners — These are the middlemen who get the data from client to storage miners, or give data back from storage miners to clients.Full nodes — full nodes validate the entire Filecoin network, calculate available storage capacity, determine prices, and validate all actions of clients, retrieval miners, and storage miners.
According to CoinMarketCap, one Filecoin (FIL) is trading for $5.7 as of July 2019 with a daily 24h trading volume surpassing $3 Million.

Sia

Sia is another decentralized cloud storage platform that aims to become the Uber of data storage. It operates just like Filecoin and connects ‘hosts’ who have storage space to rent, and ‘renters’ who are looking for storage space. Sia claims that their decentralized cloud storage costs around less than 90% from the leading cloud storage providers like Amazon or Google. With the prices as low as $2/TB/month, it makes Sia, a strong contender in the cloud storage space.
Unlike Filecoin, Sia puts much effort into data security. It uses something called ‘Reed-Solomon Redundancy’ to ensure data integrity, privacy, and security. Every piece of data stored on Sia is replicated across 30 different devices, in many different locations of the world, which decreases the risk of data loss and ensures the integrity of the data. Also, all files stored on the Sia network are encrypted and password protected, which means that the ‘renters’ don’t know what is stored inside their rented storage space.
As of July 2019, Sia has :
over 2 PB of decentralized storage space;331 independent storage providers;437 TB of used storage space and 1.2 M downloads.
According to CoinMarketCap, Siacoin (SC) has surpassed a total market cap of $124 Million with a 24h daily trading volume of over $1.5 Million.

Storj (Now rebranded as tardigrade.io)

Storj is another decentralized cloud storage solution which is now rebranded as Tardigrade. Unlike Sia or Filecoin, Storj has a very robust mechanism of storing and distributing the files into four different steps:
Encrypt — Your data is first encrypted on your machineShred — With its File Sharding algorithm, your data is split between many different shards.Distribute — Each of the encrypted shards of data is distributed across the network.Audit — The full nodes audit the network all the time, ensuring the right storage capacity, addressing, data integrity, and availability.
With the lowest cost of $0.015 per GB per month, Storj aims to become the most affordable and decentralized cloud storage on the planet.
According to CoinMarketCap, Storj (STORJ) is currently trading at $0.29 and has surpassed a total market cap of $39 Million with a daily 24h trading volume of just over $9 Million (as of July 2019).

PPIO

PPIO is another decentralized data storage platform especially aimed towards the developers. It provides a range of different tools for developers like SDK and CLI and supports all the major languages. Just like Amazon S3, PPIO supports object-based data storage into blobs, which makes it is very efficient when storing or serving large media files across many different nodes.
According to their website, they provide different application and hosting scenarios like:
Decentralized AppsMedia StreamingPrivate Data StorageData ExchangeData WarehousingEnterprise Data Storage.
Their focus is pretty much on affordability, privacy, and security, efficiency, and stability.
PPIO wants to become the next Google Cloud or Amazon S3 on the blockchain. From its current development, it seems very promising, and it has the potential to become the underlying architecture for many decentralized apps in the future.

X Cloud by Internxt

Internxt, the parent company behind X Cloud is creating ‘decentralized internet services’ for the common user who wants true ownership of their data. They built X Cloud, a secure and decentralized cloud storage solution that strives to replace existing services like Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Drive with more privacy and security.
X Cloud has a very robust decentralized network of nodes known as the X Core network, where all your files are distributed. What’s unique about X Cloud is that privacy and security are in their main focus. They are truly ‘distributed’ with ‘zero-knowledge end-to-end encryption’. Before distributing your files to the X Core network, all your files are segmented into different chunks of blocks, which are further secured with zero-knowledge end-to-end encryption, making X Cloud the most secure cloud storage platform on the planet.
All of your data doesn’t sit on anyone's central location, it’s fully encrypted and distributed among many different nodes across the X Core network. On X Cloud, you can securely share your files by inviting users with a private link to give them access to either view or safely edit your shared files. They also have a very intuitive dashboard to manage your files in one place. Also, X Cloud uses something called ‘clusters’ which they claim, would significantly improve the scalability of the network.
X Cloud offers a free 1GB plan to its users, while the 100GB package starts at 4.49€/month. The first stable version of X Cloud was launched on March 27th, 2019, and since then, it’s getting a lot of attention and has partnered with organizations like Blackberry and Y-Combinator.
Hosts who would participate in the X Core network would be paid with INXT coins, which is the only means of payment of the network. 

0Box by 0Chain

Another exciting decentralized cloud storage solution is 0Chain, a company born out of Silicon Valley. 0Chain is building 0Box, the next generation, highly secure and decentralized cloud storage (dStorage) platform.
0Box is the first enterprise-grade decentralized storage (dStorage) offering ‘zero-trust security’ and a high-performance blockchain platform for the users. With end-to-end encryption, your files are secure from the indiscreet eyes. Apart from high security and innovative consensus protocol of 0Chain, 0Box lets you share your files quickly and easily, with a feature that lets you monitor who is downloading your file and from which location.
The company claims that 0Chain, which powers the 0Box dStorage platform, is the fastest blockchain platform that is infinitely scalable due to its unique storage and token protocol. Users can ‘lock’ their tokens with the 0Chain wallet to earn ‘interest’ while providing services to the network, or utilizing different services of the network.
Saswata Basu, one of the founders of 0Chain, claimed that aside from providing a decentralized storage platform, 0Box would let users earn directly by sharing with their consent their data with companies. Another essential thing to note about 0Box is that the product is too much focused on the enterprise. Saswata Basu claimed in the same blog post that 0Box would be compliant with all the enterprise and industry regulations, such as HIPAA for healthcare and also GDPR.
According to CoinMarketCap, 0Chain (ZCN) is currently trading at $0.067 and with a total market cap of $2,6Million (as of July 2019).

Opacity

Another up-and-coming company providing decentralized cloud storage is Opacity. One of the most significant focus of Opacity is user privacy. Users can pay directly with their OPQ tokens, to avoid giving out their personal data via credit card while making an online payment for the service.OPQ is an ERC20 token that also serves as a means of payment to storage providers on the Opacity network.
Keeping in view the privacy concerns, Opacity gives a unique identified to its users known as the ‘Account Handle’. This account handle is the private key that users can use to log in, and it acts as a ‘single account credential’. Users aren’t required to give out their personal information, and they can use the account handle to access their Opacity storage account.
Not only the privacy, Opacity takes great care of the security too. When a user uploads a file, it’s divided into 64kb blocks, which is then further encrypted with 256bit AES-GCM encryption before distributing to the Opacity storage network. Moreover, all files on the Opacity storage network are linked to users via ECDSA instead of a traditional pair of email/password.
As of July 2019, Opacity (OPQ) has surpassed the market cap of $3.9 Million with a daily 24h trading volume of over $48,000. The total supply of OPQ tokens is fixed at 130 Million.

BTFS by BitTorrent (BTT)

BitTorrent is arguably the largest peer-to-peer (p2p) file-sharing protocol on the planet, and with the TRON Blockchain platform, it aims to tokenize this file sharing platform with incentives for content creators. BTT would allow the content creators to connect with their audience and earn a fair share without having any middleman.
Recently, the company has announced that they are adding decentralized and peer to peer file storage to the existing TRON based application. BitTorrent would add the BitTorrent File System (BTFS) to allow users to receive and host storage on their computers. A variant of the open-sourced IPFS protocol. BTFS has begun testing internally in late May 2019 and is the first step of creating a distributed web platform.
The Mainnet of the BTFS would be launched in Q3 of 2019 for public access. BTFS would also power those applications built on the TRON blockchain platform, which needs a decentralized storage system. All TRON based applications would leverage the power of BTFS to enhance their functionality.
BTFS would use the TRON blockchain platform, which would make it very scalable and secure. With over 100 million people already using BitTorrent, we don’t know yet how BitTorrent and TRON would surprise us with the BTFS.
As of July 2019, Opacity (OPQ) has surpassed the market cap of $3.9 Million with a daily 24h trading volume of over $48,000. The total supply of OPQ tokens is fixed at 130 Million.

NeoFS by NEO

NEO, coming straight out of China is often termed as ‘The Ethereum of China’. Being in the list of top 20 biggest blockchain platforms, NEO has accumulated a total market cap of over $1 Billion. Recently, the team behind NEO has announced that they are building NeoFS, a decentralized and distributed file storage on the Neo public blockchain.
Since Neo is a public programmable blockchain platform, it allows the developers to build decentralized applications (DApps) on its platform. With the introduction of NeoFS, these DApps would be able to leverage the power of distributed file storage, which would enhance the functionality for the kind of apps which need consistent storage.
NeoFS is still under development, and the work began in Q4 of 2018. According to Neo, the NeoFS would take great care of security and anonymity. NeoFS would also be having the functionality of compatibility and integration with existing leading cloud storage providers like Amazon S3 or Dropbox.
The architecture and data auditing methods have been developed for NeoFS to guarantee data integrity, placement, and availability, which would ensure a reliable and trustless user experience.

Dfinity

According to its website, Dfinity is ‘Cloud 3.0 — reinventing the Internet as a cloud that hosts secure software and open mass-market services’. Dfinity compares itself to AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure as a decentralized alternative to the existing cloud computing platforms.
With its first steps, Dfinity wants to focus on companies and provide mass hosting for enterprise IT systems. One important feature to discuss Dfinity is that it’s fully compatible with the Ethereum blockchain and its smart contracts.
Dfinity’s Internet Computer project essentially aims to extend the Internet. Today Dfinity primarily provides connectivity between devices. In the future, their open protocols will also allow it to behave like a decentralized operating system or a serverless cloud. Upon which they want the world to host its next generation of software, services, and data. Dfinity is still in the development phase, and we are yet to see what they can come up with.

Comparison, which one is the best?

The decentralized cloud storage space is very new, and there is still a lot of space left for new entrants to provide different platforms for the users. Let’s compare each one of the solutions that we have discussed above.
Filecoin — Built by the same guys who built the IPFS protocol. Filecoin is a solution for individual users to store their data an alternative to DropBox. Filecoin is building on IPFS, which ensures scalability, robustness, and security. With over a $257 million raised in the ICO, Filecoin is still in the development phase. However, it has announced a lot of partnerships with leading organizations like the Ethereum Foundation.
Sia — Sia is more targeted towards the consumer market, providing them with an alternative to other cloud storage providers. It positions itself and compares it to Amazon and Google. I think this could be the best-decentralized cloud storage solution for the public.
Storj — Just like Sia, StorJ is also targeted towards the consumer, but they are more focused on encryption and distribution. With a similar set of features, Storj can be considered as the closest competitor to Sia.
PPIO — PPIO is very different from all the decentralized cloud storage solutions that we have discussed in this article. PPIO is solely made for the developers’ community, providing an alternative to Google Cloud or Amazon S3, etc. Just like Filecoin, PPIO is more of a platform for hosting decentralized applications.
X Cloud by Internxt — With the lowest cost and intuitive dashboard, I think X Cloud can become a very prominent company in the consumer-facing environment. Its packages are cleverly designed, and with the option to purchase packages in fiat currency, X cloud also caters to the audience who isn’t yet crypto-hungry.
0Box by 0Chain — The best thing about 0Box is that the company behind it, the 0chain is solely focused on building the fastest blockchain platform catered towards decentralized cloud storage only. This focus gives them a distinctive edge. Also, with their claims of user data monetization and revenue-sharing model, 0Box has a lot to offer than just the storage.
Opacity — Opacity puts a lot of focus into the privacy along with simplicity. It lets users pay in the tokens and don’t share any information. Instead of email and password, Opacity gives a unique identifier called the ‘account handle’ which is the only thing you need to access all your files.
BTFS by BitTorrent (BTT) — Rather than focusing on the consumer storage segment, BTFS by BitTorrent is focused on building the decentralized storage layer for the TRON network. TRON is a public and programmable blockchain just like Ethereum, and with BTFS, it will enable developers to leverage the power of ‘storage’ with their DApps. We can say that it would be more focused on the TRON DApp developers instead of regular consumers.
NeoFS by NEO — Just like BTFS, NeoFS would be the decentralized storage layer for the NEO network. NEO is another public programmable blockchain platform, just like Ethereum and TRON. With NeoFS, developers who built DApps would be able to leverage the power of decentralized storage for their applications. Just like BTFS, NeoFS would be more focused on the developers instead of the consumers.
Dfinity — Dfinity is purely focused on companies, and instead of focusing on ‘storage’, Dfinity wants to establish itself as THE decentralized cloud computing platform (like Microsoft Azure). Dfinity is probably the first company with the sole focus on the cloud computing platform and wants to take the legacy IT systems to the cloud using its platform.

Conclusion

Blockchain is a revolutionary technology, and its applications can be stretched out beyond just payments. These solutions can not only make the internet decentralize again, but it can also help to break ‘internet monopoly’ by making it more open, accessible, neutral, censorship-resistant, and border-less.
With the increasing incidents of data and security breaches and censorship across the globe, these decentralized cloud storage solutions and protocols can act as a savior, pushing the boundaries of innovation even further.

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Comments

September 15th, 2019

In the article you missed the biggest player in this field which is Maidsafe, any reasons for that?

October 28th, 2019

Another player missing, which is very close to go-live is threefold.io (offering any IT workload on a grid of nodes). Looks like the more advanced version of dfinity.

October 31st, 2019

No particular reason, I’m not relying on the market cap to define who is the leader or not, some of them are not listed yet, and some of them won’t be. My goal was to give an overview of the different DCS solutions, and it is possible that I forgot some of them.

November 7th, 2019

There are several projects, and I couldn’t describe them all to avoid burdening the article with numerous projects :slight_smile:

But do you think it would be interesting to add them in a third part?

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