Decentralized storage solutions are a great way to address centralized server issues. In a decentralized storage world, there is no central computer or host to take offline. Various cryptocurrency projects are working towards achieving this goal, although they all seem to take a very different approach. The future is looking bright for decentralized storage solutions, that much is certain.
One of the more prominent projects focusing on decentralized storage goes by the name of MaidSAFE. It is a rather intriguing project that has plenty of ambition. Not only do they look to improve decentralized storage, but they are also big fans of improved efficiency. On paper, this concept sounds quite interesting, although the global network to upload and download files has not been completed yet. That being said, the network is currently in the testing stages, with Test 15 being released about a week ago.
Ultimately, MaidSAFE aims to become a crowd-sourced internet, removing any threats related to data theft and surveillance. Moreover, everyone who provides unused computing resources to SAFE will allow users to get paid in the native safecoin token. The MaidSAFE technology ensures unneeded duplicates of all stored information are automatically removed, limiting the number of copies in circulation. Redundancy is a critical pillar of the MaidSAFE network.
Most cryptocurrency enthusiasts have come across Sia before, although very few people seem to give it the credit it deserves. The project is all about providing decentralized and incentivized storage competitive with centralized alternatives such as Amazon S3. With a strong focus on the enterprise sector and providing a fast, reliable, and cost-efficient service, Sia is on the right track to become a major contender moving forward.
One thing setting Sia apart from the competitors is how they are not creating a marketing buzz until the platform is finished. Additionally, Sia supports on-blockchain smart contracts incentivizing hosts to store files if they want to get paid. Creating such a contract ensures the hoster gets paid, even if the client decides not to access the files. On the other hand, these contracts allow for punishing misbehaving hosts. Creating and maintaining this decentralized ecosystem is of the utmost importance.
Storj is by far the project with the most media attention as of late. It shares a lot of similarities with how Sia developers are going about their decentralized storage model, yet it does not offer on-chain smart contracts in its current iteration. Automating agreements between hosters and uploaders is well worth exploring moving forward, although their pay-as-you-go model has a lot of potential as well. It will be interesting to see which of these models attracts the most users in the long run.
At the same time, the pay-as-you-go model means hosters will no longer get paid once the user disappears. That can be a rather big problem in the long run, although the developers are confident it will have a minimal impact on the project. Pricing for the project has been announced already, as storage will cost users US$0.015 per GB per month. Bandwidth is priced at US$0.05 per GB. Both price structures seem more than reasonable at this stage. Storj came out of beta a little while ago, which means anyone can start using this solution as we speak.
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