Reimagining File Storage on the Internet
Most people know Filecoin as one of the top 25 cryptocurrencies by market cap. But behind this success is a new system for data storage – one that takes the power and profits from large tech companies and gives it to regular people.
More than a crypto and a new cloud storage system, it’s a new economic model. And one that D-Web Technologies has invested in as part of our drive to diversify across the decentralized web ecosystem.
So how does it work?
Much like how Helium hotspots incentivize people to build a decentralized network of smart devices, Filecoin incentivizes the building of cloud storage. In effect, the Filecoin network lets people rent out unused hard drive space and get rewarded for it.
The actual work of storing files is done by a Filecoin storage provider, a regular computer with attached data storage that runs the programs that make the Filecoin network hum. When a user requests storage on the network, storage providers compete to win the storage contract. Then, they must demonstrate that they are storing the data properly to get rewarded in FIL, the native crypto token of the Filecoin network. Clients retrieve files from the network in a similar way, by selecting the fastest or most affordable miner.
Rather than being held in some big, centralized data center, their files are stored all over the world – on street corners, in-home offices, or studios (as we’re doing at D-Web Technologies), basically wherever others are renting out their unused storage on the network.
It does this using a new way to address files on the internet: the Interplanetary File System. This may sound like something from science fiction, but it’s simply a way of identifying files by their actual content, instead of the centralized server they happen to be located on.
This allows files to be split up and stored in a decentralized fashion amongst Filecoin storage providers. And, since storage providers do not know the nature of the content they are storing, your files are controlled only by you and no third party can modify, view, or delete your files.
It’s a simple idea, but it has huge implications. Right now, the cloud storage market is controlled by a few large players; access requires a subscription or the collection of user data for sale to advertisers (and often both!). As with so much of the internet, this creates a power imbalance that allows large technology corporations to control user data and to freeze out potential competitors.
Filecoin aims to fix this. Their system reimagines cloud storage as an interconnected network where the smallest storage providers and the vastest data centers work together to benefit everyone. Storage capacity and other hardware can be purchased by anyone – and they don’t require the space or investment of a server farm.
Filecoin also benefits privacy and security. Users can access the network without sacrificing their personal data, removing the exploitative relationship currently enjoyed by large tech companies. Filecoin offers a future where personal data is not controlled, manipulated, and sold to the highest bidder.
All of us at D-Web share Filecoin’s vision, which is why we’ve set up a storage provider rig in our office in San Antonio, Texas and are setting up another in our media production studio in Danville, Virginia. These two rigs will serve as nodes on the Filecoin network, archiving humanity’s information and generating crypto in the process.
Our initial prototype of a Filecoin storage server and rig in the D-Web work area.
Our goal is to use this income stream to reinvest in more hardware, creating more storage space, and eventually making our decentralized cloud storage operations self-sufficient. We’re contributing to the movement towards a decentralized cloud and believe, as the network grows, so will the demand.
Find out how we’re working to bring this technology to life at D-Web Technologies.