Decentralize Everything part 1 - The Cloud.

LeoFinance
13 days ago
6 Min Read
1149 Words

We have witnessed in recent days, the power that web 2 services have to censor and in some cases shut down freedoms. Whatever your opinions are on the topic, and the events that have unfolded recently, many people are re-assessing privacy and freedom of speech, and the importance of decentralization. In this "Decentralize Everything" series, I hope to cover a number of alternative platforms and services that offer decentralized alternatives to Web 2 providers.

If you have suggestions for services I should look in to, feel free to hit me up in the comments.


Source: Pixabay

The Cloud.

In the first part of this series, I will look at a decentralized alternative to cloud service providers. As part of the current crackdown on freedoms, we have witnessed Parler being systematically attacked on a number of angles. Parler is a Twitter alternative, and while not a decentralized service itself, It has put a spotlight on the power that cloud service providers - Most notably Amazon Web Services (AWS) have to shut down a website.

Here are a couple of links for more info on the Parler shutdown:

So what are some of the options?

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Storj.

Storj Labs describes Storj as follows:

Storj (pronounced storage) is an open source decentralized cloud storage platform. Learn more at https://storj.io.

What exactly is decentralized cloud storage? On the user’s end, it operates exactly the same as traditional cloud storage options like Amazon S3. But, instead of your files being stored in a big data center that’s vulnerable to outages and attacks, your information is stored on thousands of distributed Nodes all across the globe.

The basic premise of Storj is that rather than storing data in a centralized cloud service like AWS, your information is stored on thousands of nodes around the world. In simple terms, people allocate their spare storage space (Spare Hard drive or server storage) to the Storj network, and run a node. They are payed depending on how much they store and how often the data they store is accessed.

Data is encrypted, from start to finish, so node operators couldn't access or alter it if they wanted to, and files get split across multiple nodes to ensure security and trustlessness. This post from Storj Labs on Medium is a very handy starting point for further information about Storj, and was the primary source I used to learn more, and for the above quotes.

Storj has an ERC20 token as part of its ecosystem. It is currently ranked 199 in the market cap rankings by Coingecko

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SIA

Very similar to Storj, Sia was one of the first in this space having been launched in 2015. It describes itself as follows:

Sia is reinventing cloud storage. Our technology connects users who need file storage with hosts worldwide offering underutilized hard drive capacity. Blockchain technology secures their data and enables improved economics for users and hosts.

A simple place to get started is their Welcome to the Sia Network page.

Siacoin is the transactional unit linking those that want to store files, and those that want to rent their storage space out. It is also a POW blockchain, so miners earn block rewards in Siacoin. For more information on the SIA coin, see the Coingecko page. It is currently ranked 94 with a marketcap just shy of $200 million.

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Filecoin.

Launched in a blaze of publicity, with a mega ICO in 2017, Filecoin finally hit the markets in October 2020. It has underperformed since then, and currently sits just over $20 each. It's market cap is close to $1 billion, and rank is currently 39 according to Coingecko

Similar to the above projects, at its core Filecoin is a decentralized data storage service. Linking those with extra storage space, to those who need to store files is its core use case. I won't go into too much more detail, but it will be interesting to see if it can live up to the hype surrounding it

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Akash Network.

By far the most interesting new service I have come across recently is Akash Network. Their home page claims they are "The Unstoppable Cloud". The point of difference here is that unlike the above, which are all just decentralized storage services, Akash is a decentralized computing platform.

Akash DeCloud is a faster, better, and lower cost cloud built for DeFi, decentralized projects, and high growth companies, providing unprecedented scale, flexibility, and price performance. 10x lower in cost, our serverless computing platform is compatible with all cloud providers and all applications that run on the cloud.
Source: Akash website

Akash networks blockchain is built on the Tendermint Cosmos chain structure, and first came to my attention as a result of interactions with Thorchain. A significant weakness, and potential attack vector against Thorchain, and indeed many other blockchain systems, is a heavy reliance on AWS where many nodes and programs have been run from. Can you imaging if AWS decided (or was forced) to shut down services to the DeFi industry. With a significant amount of the computation happening on AWS, the sector could be significantly disrupted.

Akash is a new entrant aiming to offer a solution to this centralization. Rather than sharing storage space with the network, participants share their excess computing power. What it reminds me of is systems like World Computing Grid where you could donate your computers spare power to run collaborative scientific research.

I plan to do a deep dive into Akash over the coming weeks, to learn more about the project. For now, their whitepaper and marketplace information is probably a good starting point. You can see the coins coingecko stats with its ranking at 319 and market cap at $23 million, this is definitely a project to keep an eye on.

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Summary.

To me, the most interesting project I have come across in this space is Akash Network. The file storage platforms Sia, Storj and Filecoin all offer a decentralized data storage solution as an alternative to Web 2 providers. Akash is unique, and very relevant in particular to Crypto and the DeFi sector.

Keep an eye out for future articles in this new "Decentralize everything" series, and a future deep dive into Akash Network.

Thanks for reading, please share your knowledge or experiences with any of these platforms in the comments.

Cheers,

JK.

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