How does Decentralized Data Storage work?
Nowadays humanity faces the problem of storing huge amounts of data, but at the same time needing to save this information as objective and immutable. Decentralized data storage is the solution that modern day blockchain technology offers. Let’s consider what it means and how it works.
Decentralized data storage is the successful combination of distinctive features of blockchain technology and the storage of a high volume of data. The fact that information is kept distributed is what guarantees security. As a result, any attack or damage will not have a devastating effect on the integrity of the information.
The main idea of such storage is to allow ordinary people to rent unused space on their hard disk, thus preventing the centralized storing of data.
How it works
Various projects have different views on how to achieve this goal, but almost all of them function in the same way: they share data across a peer-to-peer network.
First, the user uploads the file. The file is encrypted and the uploader has a key to unlock the encryption. Then the file is broken into a bunch of small pieces, and these pieces (file shards) are sent to different individual computers.
Those individuals computers store file shards and cannot retrieve information from them because they are encrypted.
To recall a file, the uploader locates all the shards with the help of the key and file gets reconstructed.
The main technology that is used to share the data is InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). IPFS unites sharding and distributed data storage. The project started as the protocol in Ethereum in 2016. IPFS uses a network of nodes. Each node stores the whole file instead of just a piece of it. The project is open source and the code is on Github.
Let’s consider the projects that build decentralized storages
Storj is the leader in decentralized storage and one of the oldest projects in this sphere.
The aim of the project is to build a platform that can change the way people own data.
The project’s code is open source; users pay for access to the network and payments are powered by blockchain, so cloud storage is secure and transparent.
The Storj architecture conforms to the rules of sharding, encryption and swarming that are described above.
Sia is a decentralized storage that is built on blockchain technology. It functions in a similar way to Storj. Specifically, Sia splits files into thirty segments and it is possible to rebuild the file with only ten of the thirty segments.
And unlike Storj, Sia has its own blockchain. Using blockchain, Sia creates a decentralized storage marketplace that can run without an intermediary. As the result, the network is a more reliable and affordable comparing with traditional cloud providers.
Filecoin is a notable project as it launched one of the most successful ICOs ever, raising $257 million. Besides, Filecoin has a great team and Silicon Valley venture capital supports the project.
Filecoin is a blockchain data storage network. Users pay for storing data on available network space. Providers are paid tokens for allowing data to be stored on their networks, and other participants are paid tokens for retrieving the data. It should be mentioned that Filecoin relies on proof-of-storage consensus algorithm. About other consensus algorithms read here.
Decentralized storages can solve problems of existing centralized data storages and be faster, cheaper, and more secure.
Other open source projects overviews in our articles