Blockchain technology is disrupting the way we store data, with decentralised cloud storage set to change the face of the internet.
The internet as we know it is built on a centralised ecosystem. This centralisation allows us to access data at high speeds, but also allows independent companies and organisations to invest in server farms that hold the data of users.
This, in turn, also opens up the possibility for data breaches, hacks, control and the possibility for companies to purchase or sell user information. Right now, the internet is dominated by a handful of major tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple. Centralisation permits governments and organisations a substantial level of control over what the public can access online; they can ban websites or applications as they please.
Out of this situation was born a need for the public to have more control over their data and accessibility levels. How could they remove the censorship and threats to their data? This led to the notion of decentralised cloud storage – let’s explore the idea further in this article.
What is decentralised cloud storage?
As you already know, a decentralised network is one that doesn’t rely on one central authority to make decisions. This means that it doesn’t have a single point of failure and instead relies on multiple nodes in a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, so if one fails, it won’t affect the network.
Let’s talk about this in relation to cloud storage.
The blockchain age brought with it the idea of decentralised cloud storage. This allows users to store their data on multiple nodes, in multiple locations, instead of in one single location/server.
Blockchain companies are developing this decentralised alternative for users to store their data. This works through the use of open source software, meaning information cannot be stored, controlled or accessed by any single organisation.
The benefits of a decentralised cloud:
- Decentralised cloud storage is able to represent millions of servers. Traditional centralised storage networks could only hold hundreds or thousands of servers.
- The cost to store data in a network that runs on blockchain is typically lower, as the process is more efficient.
- All data is encrypted, which means no one can get access to things like your personal information, location or IP address. Each user has full control over their own private encryption keys.
- Users can enjoy more privacy and security. Decentralised cloud storage is more difficult (if not impossible) to hack into, as files are broken apart and spread across multiple nodes (known as “sharding”). Other nodes in the network are unable to look at or modify your file.
- The technology has led to the development of new cryptocurrencies, to encourage users to buy and sell decentralised storage.
- Extra copies of each file are stored as it’s transmitted, so files cannot be lost during the process.
What is IPFS and what do you need to know about it?
Let’s dig a little deeper into how decentralised cloud storage works. The IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) Protocol makes it possible, building the foundation for decentralised cloud storage.
This protocol was developed by Protocol Labs with a view to become the basis for the distributed web of the future; that means saying goodbye to the internet as we now know it. This was set up to challenge the traditional HTTP protocol through the creation of a distributed network. While there are similarities between HTTP and IPFS (they’re both built to transfer data between clients and servers), Protocol Labs expects that IPFS will replace HTTP as the default protocol.
While HTTP works on a single server, IPFS works through multiple nodes in a P2P network. Whenever users access the network, they can retrieve the information they want from the nearest node.
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