There are many benefits to FinTech innovation, as a lot of consumers are looking for alternative ways to pay for goods and services. In some countries, there may not even be a financial infrastructure as the Western World knows it, and bringing financial services to these people is key. While Bitcoin’s blockchain may lend itself perfectly to doing just that, there are other use cases for the technology as well. Storj is just one of those examples, as the team aims to create decentralized cloud storage based on blockchain technology and peer-to-peer protocols.
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The Cloud Storage You Use Today Is Centralized
When it comes to using cloud storage, some of the most often mentioned services are Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive. All of these services provide users with a convenient way to store and share various file types, regardless of which device people are using. On paper, cloud storage sounds like a distributed solution, yet it’s not without imperfections.
The biggest concern consumers – should – have is how the data is stored in the “cloud” by the company providing access to the files. All of those major companies have data centers all over the world, with backups in place to restore any data if there would be a technical malfunction. At the same time, none of the data in the “cloud” is safe from loss, as there is always a gap in between backups where important files can go missing.
Storj is one of those companies who are tackling cloud storage from a completely different angle. By combining decentralized technology – in the form of Bitcoin’s blockchain – and peer-to-peer protocols for real-time interactions between users, the team has created a secure, private, and fully encrypted form of cloud storage.
Unlike companies like Google, Microsoft, or Dropbox, the Storj protocol is set up in such a way that individual community members get paid for renting out their extra hard drive space. This means that even though some users may have more hard drive space available compared to others, the storage of files through Storj will be distributed all over the world. As there is no central point of failure in the network, cloud storage is effectively decentralized.
It goes without saying that paying individual users for their extra hard disk space is far more cost effective than using data centers. According to the Storj website, costs are reduced by as much as factor 100. But that is not the only benefit, as using Storj is a lot faster regarding transferring files compared to regular cloud storage solutions.
Storj Addresses The Abundance Of Hard Disk Space
As more and more consumers transition to the Digital Age, they are starting to use less hard drive space on their computer; Streaming services for both audio and video content are gaining in popularity, which require little to no hard disk space to be used. Storj came up with a solution to use that “space” storage capacity in an incentivized way.
At the time of publication, there were two major applications powered by the Storj protocol. DriveShare is a desktop application that lets users earn money for “sharing” their unused hard disk space. Every user becomes a part of the Storj network by running the DriveShare application, and determining how much free disk space they want to provide.
Do keep in mind that DriveShare is currently in its alpha stage, and there may be bugs during your experience. Make sure to notify the Storj developers about any potential issues you encounter, which will help them improve the overall user experience. To be eligible for earning rewards with Driveshare, the user will need a valid Storj wallet address containing at last 10,000 SJXC (Storjcoin X).
The second application is called MetaDisk, which acts like a web app for uploading data to the Storj network by using an intuitive user interface. All of the uploaded files are protected and encrypted on the user’s computer before the upload begins, and access to these files is restricted to the uploader only. A private key will be issued to the uploader, which will only be known to them.
Thanks to blockchain technology, MetaDisk can guarantee 100% uptime forever at half of the cost of traditional cloud services. MetaDisk comes in three price tiers, ranging from 10 GB storage and 30 GB transfer (free) to 100 GB storage and 300 GB transfer for US$10 per month. Custom plans, based on a fixed price per GB, can be created as well.
With over 1 Petabyte – that’s 1,024 Terabytes- worth of files stored on the Storj network within the first month of testing, it becomes abundantly clear there is a growing demand for decentralized solutions. The FinTech industry would do best to play close attention to what Storj is doing, and how fast they are growing. Centralized cloud storage solutions are no longer viable, and a possible solution is already here.
Make sure to check the Storj whitepaper as well.
Header image courtesy of Storj