Decentralized Data Storage: Empowering & Protecting Privacy Through Blockchain Technology
Centralized cloud storage services put users’ data at risk due to their architecture which is based on storing information on a single server. Bitcoin has proven to allow the peer-to-peer, censorship-resistant transfer of value and now RIF, powered by RSK, aims to add the identity, storage, communication, gateways, micro-payments, and gateways layers to allow the creation of Decentralized Sharing Economies to protect the rights of the individual and users.
Centralized Storage Risks
All existing cloud storage services use the same basic architecture where, hundreds, thousands or even millions of devices sync or duplicate a subset of their local storage to a central server cluster. Each user would have their own account on that server and files that they store or sync from their devices are then associated with their account. Although the services offered by tech companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and DropBox are excellent and used by the vast majority of people, their weak point lies in the architecture used.
The first and biggest problem is that of privacy. Your data is your data and it´s not supposed to be shared or monetized without your approval.
Secondly, there is a considerable lack of control. If something affects your storage provider, like outages or malware infections, that will directly impact access to your data. There is not such a thing as a centralized storage system that cannot be hacked. For example, in September 2017, more than 145 million Americans had their personal data, including social security and driver license numbers, stolen because of a hack. The target was Equifax.
Another similar example is that of a third-party mismanaging data as it happened with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the company famed for using an app called “This Is Your Digital Life” in an effort to influence election campaigns.
It´s also worth mentioning that not every security risk comes from the storage provider itself. The devices that access your data are also a potential source of danger.
Decentralized Storage: A New Kind Of Cloud Computing?
Thanks to the advent of blockchain technology, it is possible to create decentralized storage solutions where data is stored on multiple computers or servers. This eliminates some of the typical issues we´ve previously analyzed while at the same time rewarding users by sharing their storage space and uptime.
Some of the companies on the blockchain space working on decentralized storage are Sia, Storj and Maidsafe, which are based on blockchain technology and peer-to-peer architecture.
All of the above projects have gained little notoriety at the moment and their solutions are not comparable with existing cloud computing providers. However, IOV Labs has recently launched RIF´s Storage Testnet (built on top of Bitcoin´s sidechain RSK). The technology stack is called Rootstock Infrastructure Framework Open Standard or “RIF OS”.
Decentralized data storage isn’t the only project RIF OS is working on. RIF OS also includes name resolution (RNS) and payment processing through blockchain technology. Users can pay for the services of these applications with RIF tokens.
During 2019, RIF partnered with Swarm (a distributed storage platform and content distribution service) to implement and address the incentivization behavior of the Swarm network as a whole, including Ethereum and RSK implementations. RIF´s team will deal with accounting functionalities between nodes for provided data and settling. Addressing the need for interoperability, the allocation of specifications for independent node implementations will allow Swarm to become a multi-blockchain decentralized storage implementation adding interoperability and antifragility to the ecosystem as a whole. The partnership between Swarm and RIF storage will help to:
- Create a solid incentivization plan which combines Swarm´s Accounting Protocol (SWAP) with a layer-2 (L2) settlement and payment mechanism.
- Build the required accounting functionalities between nodes for provided data and settling.
- Add interoperability and antifragility to allow Swarm to become a multi-blockchain decentralized storage implementation.
The partnership will have three different phases:
Phase 1: This phase is launching soon on testnet and incentivizes fair use of the network between the peers by paying them for downloading content. The payment will be done off-chain.
Phase 2: This phase will add spam protection by making uploading content optionally paid similar to how you can choose to pay transaction fees in the Bitcoin network.
Phase 3: The final phase will provide decentralized persistence and market-driven prices.
Could decentralized storage become a better alternative to centralized solutions? Centralized storage will always be required for many different reasons. However, decentralized storage alternatives can tackle some of the typical issues within the traditional cloud computing industry while at the same time providing incentives for end-users to participate in a decentralized storage network.