Imagine being a part of a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network where you offer your excess drive for cloud storage which is managed with blockchain and get paid in cryptocurrency. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Such situations are already cropping up and would soon be mainstream in no time (hopefully).
One project working to achieve this is FileZilla, an open-source FTP client, with plans to adopt a blockchain strategy that provides users with free cloud storage via P2P network and still pays in crypto. Roberto Galoppini, Director of strategy at FileZilla is the genius who came up with the idea to change directions to blockchain and work with Storj Labs Inc., a company based in Atlanta.
Before now, FileZilla raked in funds by offering free filesharing services which it hosted on SourceForge.net or sharing advertising revenue with third parties. However, due to some downsides, Galoppini intends taking the service in a new direction.
New services to be added include a free VPN service to FileZilla users, to be paid for from funds gotten through revenue sharing. It became important to retain customers by offering them free coins and also more free or cheap services.
Also, the new direction increases user's interaction with other players in the ecosystem. It's no longer like the traditional method where a user simply downloads the needed software and goes their way, now they can contribute and get paid for their storage and bandwidth. Since Storj's launch, over 50,000 participants (called farmers) have joined the P2P network and made available between them over 30 petabytes of storage.
However, the Storj system, like most blockchain projects have scalability issues. At the moment, the new intake of 'farmers' have been discontinued pending when the system is redesigned to cater for more participants.
Distributed file sharing has always been around even before blockchain. A popular example is BitTorrent which has been in operation for almost two decades. However, one crucial feature that was missing was payment. But since blockchain has payment inherently programmed, using it for a P2P filesharing is bound to record huge success.
Another interesting project in the cloud storage sector is Sia, a product of David Vorick, developed at an MIT Hackathon. Sia also runs on the blockchain and pays users for holding data in their storage. This service is cheaper compared to others like Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS because it doesn't use an exclusive data using centre. Majority of Sia participants live in households and are paid proportionally to the amount of data they hold in storage. Data on Sia network is not stored on every node in the network as that has been linked to blowing up the network. At least, 50 nodes are used to store up data in Sia, unlike other blockchains where data is stored on all nodes. Sia's success shows that cold storage is a fast-growing market with lots of potentials.
Perhaps soon other cloud storage projects would be able to adopt sharding like Sia, where just a small percentage of nodes processes new data. The first obvious advantage here is the increase in the number of transactions processed since several transactions can be processed in parallel.