Decentralized Storage Solutions. Part 2


Major Obstacles for implementation of decentralized storages:
While the decentralized storage mechanism solves the problems faced due to centralized cloud storage system, it is not very easy to implement this system. Some of the major obstacles faced during implementation are discussed below.
Difficulty to find so many nodes: To run a decentralized storage system, we need a large number of nodes (People who have computers) which are ready to provide the free storage available on their system.
The decentralized system depends entirely on the willingness of people to provide their free, unused storage for the community. This is very hard to achieve as not many would be willing to give away their storage capacity for others to use.
Another issue is that in the beginning only a few nodes might be available which means that the system is not decentralized. For a system to be decentralized, there need to be many nodes providing storage capacity.
Random strangers have access to your data: Another major concern with this system is that random strangers have access to your data. They can use your data for their benefit.

Redundant data: In a world where storage space is so valuable, one cannot afford to waste storage space on redundant data.

Data is not secure: You can think of Bit Torrent as a decentralized method of storing data. This has its own perks, however, with no central board governing this system, it is a go-to place for privacy and copyright breaches. Many files on Bit-Torrent have been maliciously altered and many are plagued with viruses and malware. This is a major concern for everyone.

Unlike the centralized cloud storage system, the problems with decentralized storage system can be fixed with the inclusion of the blockchain technology. This lead to the advent of cryptocurrency based storage solution.

Cryptocurrency based decentralized storage: A Game Changer?

The blockchain technology is completely transforming the world as we know. The blockchain is being used to solve some of the major problems in the current system. Now, it is being used to solve the acute shortage of storage space available and also get rid of centralized cloud storage systems.
The blockchain is all about decentralization and hence, using it is a perfect solution to solve the current problems faced by decentralized storage solution.

The blockchain is a technology behind all cryptocurrencies. It is an open ledger in which all transactions made are recorded in chronological order and available publicly. Blockchain has already revolutionized the financial and even the app market in the real world. Now, it is being used to revolutionize the way people store data in the cloud.

The solution offered by the blockchain technology is to encrypt all the user data by hashing it and to motivate more people to provide their free unused storage space, the users are incentivized in the form of crypto-token for the storage space they provide. Let’s have a better look at how this is done.

Currently, there are four main solutions available to solve the decentralized storage problem. They are Sia coin, Storj, Filecoin, and Maidsafe. These are four cryptocurrencies which use the blockchain technology to solve the issue.

So how do these projects do it?

Leverage users to provide their free unused storage space: The main obstacle faced when it comes to decentralized storage is getting people on-board with the idea. No one will be willing to provide their unused storage space for others to use. Hence, to leverage users to provide their storage space for others to use, they are incentivized by providing them crypto-tokens. Doing this, users can also earn money by renting out their unused data storage.

Protecting user data: The user data on the blockchain is completely secure and no one can access it. The data is secured by encrypting the user data. This means that without the user’s private key, no one can access the data. This not only protects user’s privacy but also ensures that his data is not being used for the profit of some other company/person. Since you are the only one who can access the data, the security aspect is taken care.

Decentralized: Since the whole data is present on many nodes at the same time, there is no single point of failure to the entire system. Even if some of the nodes are attacked by hackers, the system is not affected and since the data is encrypted, the data stolen is of no use without the private keys.
Economical: Since there are many participants who are willing to provide their free storage space, the overall cost per premium reduces drastically. The more the competition in this field, the more the benefits to the users.
Please refer to the table below in which I have summarized the pros and cons of both centralized and decentralized system.

1. Centralized cloud storage
Maintained by trusted companies.
Are capable of providing huge amounts of data

User data is controlled by a single entity/company.
There is a single point of failure to the entire system.
Comparatively costly.
There are instances where user data has been used for the benefit of the company.
User data is at a risk of being hacked and stolen.
The latency/delay to retrieve any data is very high.

2. Decentralized storage solution
Virtually has unlimited storage capacity.
Cheaper than traditional cloud storage.
Data is highly encrypted which means that user data is extremely secure.
Only the user who has the private keys has control over the data.
There is no single point of failure to the entire system as the data is distributed across several nodes.
In case a node is hacked or compromised, the data stolen is of no use as it is highly encrypted and can be unlocked by only using the private key given to the owner of the data.
There is very less delay to retrieve data as the data is retrieved from the nearest node.

Currently not so popular.
Often misunderstood to the famous Bit-Torrent.
Closing Thoughts:
Blockchain technology is currently taking over the world by storm. First, the financial market was revolutionized with the introduction of Bitcoin, then the whole app market was influenced with the introduction of Ethereum and now this revolutionary technology has made its way into the way we currently store data on the cloud storage services.
This will definitely change the way we currently go about storing the data on the cloud. In the next article, we will have a look at how the existing four services namely, Sia, Storj, Filecoin and Maidsafe work and the services each one of them has to offer.