Bitcoin 2.0 protocol Storj is planning the release of Metadisk, an app that will roll out over the next couple of weeks for the duration of its crowdsale. Currently in beta, the app permits users to upload files onto a decentralized cloud storage network. With the help of this ingenious approach to cloud storage, conventional providers such as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Dropbox will be pressured to adapt to the situation or fade into obsolescence.
Rather than pay a lot of money to giant corporations, users will be compelled to pay other users for the storage they're planning on using on the network. This approach is considered decentralized, and it offers increased file security (encryption), as well as the guarantee of a more efficient, faster, and a lot more democratic storage network.
Storj is a peer-to-peer, open source, decentralized cloud storage project derived from the Bitcoin protocol. It stores data and it keeps it fully encrypted. Storj makes use of some of Bitcoin’s features (such as the blockchain) and public/private key encryption to safeguard your data. Just like the Bitcoin protocol, Storj doesn't operate from a centralized location. Users of the network accumulate the information, leaving no midpoint of collapse. Moreover, Storj is also expected to be significantly less expensive for users than DropBox (see: chart)
The storage is decentralized because it must eliminate issues linked to centralized storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox. Centralized storage services are prone to theft and shutdowns by officials of the government. With Storj, there's no location to be traced, which means it can't be closed. Some of the best examples are websites like Bittorrent or Bitcoin, which cannot be shut down.
Storj is meant for businesses with privacy concerns linked to centralized storage. When there's no central storage point, the government cannot use spy programs to monitor your data especially since the information stored in the Storj cloud is encrypted; this means you are 100% protected from data thieves and hackers.
Storj got inspired from Maidsafe's methods. Maidsafe is an open-source program that operates on a decentralized internet platform known as SAFE Network. The MaidSafe system converts all connected devices into SAFE nodes; these nodes store data collectively for all users. Maidsafe allows private and public processing and cloud storage within the SAFE network. The storage of the information is instantly decentralized. This basically means that a web app that uses Maidsafe doesn't store a user's info or data on any type of central server. The data is scattered through many devices and disks managed and owned by different users. No corporation or person can get an intact copy of a user's file.
Both Storj and Maidsafe foresee a bright future for decentralized computing.
"Competition is a concept reserved for traditional companies. I make it a point to consider all the new ideas and protocols in the decentralized data space. [...] Because Storj builds both apps and protocols, it’s easy for us to integrate with everyone. Plus everything in our community is open source.
- Shawn Wilkinson, Storj Founder.
Metadisk is a storage focused blockchain distributed through a web app. It is the first of its kind, since there's no entity or central authority to control the data. Metadisk runs at the top of the Storj prototype platform.
After a file has been uploaded and encrypted, a SHA-256 algorithm is applied. The algorithm creates a hash of that file that serves as a unique way to spot file tampering. Next, the hash generated is placed in a blockchain entry. Metadisk stays in touch with the Storj network in order to look for available storage resources; after that, it transfers the file (which is encrypted) to 3 different locations. Since all information enering the network is secured, thieves can't open, modify or copy the files – since they don't have the special decryption key.
Metadisk permits users to use the cloud storage service - which is distributed across numerous free users worldwide - and upload files. This means there's no central point of failure. The files are split or "chunked" into multiple pieces, and their position on the cloud storage network is fixed in the blockchain. No hacker will have the ability to gain access to the data or files stored.
In the following 30 days, the Storj development team will start testing DriveMiner algorithms. DriveMiner is Storj's second app. It allows users to sell unused bandwidth and disk space. The app will be fully integrated with Metadisk in order to make files become even more decentralized across the network. Those eager to take part in the crowdsale will have advanced access to DriveMiner.
The forthcoming crowdsale will additionally reward users with Storjcoin and a place in any potential coins included in the protocol. Storjcoin is DriveMiner's and Metadisk's native crypto currency. It will permit users to buy/sell space on the cloud storage network. Only those participating in the crowdsale will have the ability to trade extra storage space within DriveMiner's beta versions.
You can view the official draft (pdf) on the Storj crowdsale here.
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