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Storj – Decentralized Cloud Storage

Who?

Storj is a decentralised cloud storage application. It was founded by Shawn Wilkinson (Lead Developer), Jim Lowry (Lead Advisor), Tome Boshevski (Lead Designer) and Josh Brandoff (Core Developer).

Why?

When you upload your files onto Google Drive or DropBox or SkyDrive or similar programs, we rely on these companies with our data and we don’t have much control over what they could potentially do with it. If any of these companies goes down in the face of a massive attack your data is lost. Thanks to Snowden’s leaks we now know of the PRISM programme with companies such as DropBox involved it’s become adamant that we need to take steps in securing our personal information.

How?

Storj is a decentralised cloud storage application. It works by users first sending some Bitcoins to their Storj account and receiving some Storjcoin X. With that Storjcoin they buy storage space. When a user uploads a file onto the Storj network. The file is divided into multiple parts and each of these Parts are encrypted and stored on the network. As the file is spread around the network slow download speeds of one node (A node we’d define is a computer that has data saved on it’s hard drive) can be avoided by connecting to other nodes on the network that have your file.

Storj also allows users with free space on their Hard Drives to sell storage space on their hard drive and receive Storjcoin for it. With multiple users giving up hard drive space this increases the available storage space on the network.

Issues

A few things that would need to be addressed by Storj in order for it to be successful would be issues such as:

  1. Verification that stored files aren’t corrupted. (Fault tolerance)
  2. Install preventative measures to prevent corruption of files if Download/Upload is interrupted.
  3. Retrieving file even if a number of nodes are unavailable.
  4. Proof of redundancy, to prevent a user from creating thousands of nodes with one shared storage to increase my profit
  5. Effective Proof of Storage methods.
  6. How is that encrypted chunk identified and indexed efficiently so the network quickly can see how many copies there are.

MaidSafe vs Storj

MaidSafe is very similar to Storj. The difference between Storj and MaidSafe is that Storj is limited to Storage whereas there aren’t any restrictions to what MaidSafe could be used for. MaidSafe is more of a decentralised Internet.

Similarities:

  • MaidSafe and Storj are both open-source projects
  • Includes a protocol and a Cryptocurrency.
  • Both break up data into pieces and distribute those across a network. Users can verify ownership and thus access their data with a token
  • Both reward nodes for giving up Storage and Bandwidth

Differences:

  • The SAFE network is made up of unused hard drive space, CPU and communications capabilities of commodity computers.
  • The Storj network is made up of unused hard drive space and Bandwidth.
  • MaidSafe has an open API for developers to programme their apps to.

Storj is simply limited to cloud storage, MaidSafe on the other hand could be used for a variety of purposes including:

cloud storage, encrypted messaging, web sites, crypto wallets, document processing of any data provided by any program, distributed databases, research sharing of documents, research and ideas with IPR protection if required, document signing, contract signing, decentralized co-operative groups or companies, trading mechanisms and many others.

Since both are capable of offering cloud storage it allows people to have choice in what network they want to choose and allows them to choose whichever is best in terms of pricing.

Storj vs SpiderOak

SpiderOak a cloud storage company that we were advised to use instead of DropBox by Edward Snowden. SpiderOak works by operating a ‘Zero Knowledge’ privacy programme. When you download SpiderOak a unique set of encryption keys are generated on the client-side. Whenever you upload anything onto SpiderOak servers they’re encrypted on the client’s computer and then uploaded. SpiderOak has no way of knowing what the user uploaded. If the government or the NSA has requested any of your information SpiderOak will comply but it would be of no avail as the data was encrypted by the client and only the client holds the keys.

SpiderOak is a good platform, well secured but when you compare it to Storj it has a few downsides:

  • Centralised, there’s a single point of failure.
  • You’re data can’t be viewed or manipulated but they can be deleted.

The encryption method of SpiderOak could be argued as more secure than Storj due to its client-side encryption. Unlike Storj however SpiderOak isn’t backed by a network.

One comment

  1. Totally pointless and a huge waste of some very obviously clever peoples time and effort.

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