Decentralization is the buzz word of the Bitcoin community, and as many know, beyond the currency, there are interesting times ahead for blockchain technology. Storj, the decentralized cloud storage network released an additional white paper 7th December 2014, which closely follows their MetaDisk white paper released 15th November 2014.
Storj.io is the response to centralised servers losing their credibility around the globe. This year has seen a raft of extensive attacks on third party servers. The result is waning belief that these large corporations have the ability to keep personal information safe and secure.
The popular “Celebgate” story in the mass media over Labor Day Weekend 2014 reported on the theft and publishing of over 100 celebrity photos. Google had 5 million usernames and passwords allegedly stolen, and uploaded to a Russian forum. However, with the ongoing development of Storj it looks as though the reign of the hackers may be coming to a close.
“The removal of central controls would eliminate most traditional data failures and outages, as well as significantly increasing security, privacy, and data control. A peer-to-peer network and basic encryption serve as a solution for most problems, but we must offer proper incentivisation for users to properly participate in this network. We propose a solution to these additional problems by using a challenge algorithm. In this way we can periodically cryptographically check the integrity and availability of a file, and offer direct rewards to those maintaining the file,” - Storj
Now that the new 18 page white paper has been released, interested parties can really get their teeth into the concept. Written by Shawn Wilkinson, founder and lead developer at Storj.io, the document has contributions from other key individuals such as; Tome Boshevski, founder and lead designer at Storj.io; Josh Brandoff, founder and core developer at Storj.io; and Vitalik Buterin, founder of Etheruem and the person that recently beat Mark Zuckerberg for the World Technology Network Award, for IT software.
Storj will create a network of users that rent out their excess hard drive space. The users are rewarded in Storjcoin X (SJCX) the native currency of the Storj network. This cryptocurrency can then be exchanged for bandwidth and storage space on the network, or sold on an exchange. Files stored on the network will be split into shards, encrypted and distributed across the network.
Storj uses the analogy, in their white paper, that, “It is easy to steal a cookie from a cookie jar in a secluded area, but it is hard to do so when the jar is instead located in a public square, being observed the thousands of people.”
The paper further expands on the platforms approach to using, "Satoshi-style blockchains" to achieve consensus on file location and integrity. The paper elaborates, "Data is inserted into the blockchain via a standard transaction with extra metadata. Because this would be prohibitively expensive on the Bitcoin blockchain and not technically feasible with the strict metadata limits on its transactions, we will not use it to store this metadata."
This is a unique approach that overcomes limitations when using the Bitcoin blockchain in creative ways, “We will use Florincoin as an initial mechanism. Eventually,we will transition to a system where we could then use the Bitcoin blockchain more directly and in a more scalable manner, through proof-of-existence. As blockchain technology improves we can use systems like Factom to provide faster throughput, and Ethereum to create enforceable contracts on data storage."
Combining the strengths of these cutting edge technologies should prove to be beneficial, and with the Storj team already working closely with Buterin on the Storj white paper, and Wilkinson who sits on the board of advisors for Factom, the symbiotic relationship seems poised to grow.
Collaboration has been a core philosophy of Storj since their inception. Curiosity in the community is evident regarding how Storj will handle their growth alongside companies such as Scotland based Maidsafe.
“Storj doesn't believe in competition between different project[s] but in collaboration and integration." Storjx explained on Reddit, "Each one of these projects tries to solve a different problem so for true decentralization (not only for cloud storage) there needs to be cooperation between all these very good ideas. Storj itself tries to be as modular as possible so it can be adapted to work with other parties,”
Furthering their collaboration efforts, constructive criticism on their newly released white paper is being welcomed by the Storj team. Readers of the white paper are able to make comments via github, Storjtalk.org, or via email. Although the papers public posting is novel, comments are already flowing in and Shawn Wilkinson and team have been actively responding to inquiries on Reddit.
It appears that some traction has been created by the paper’s release. Within 24 hours of the white paper release, SJCX traded at $0.0285 USD, up from $0.0163USD 30 days earlier, with Poloniex Exchange leading the way in terms of volume.
Although the initial crowdsale of SJCX has already taken place, there are still opportunities for those inspired by the newly released white paper to gain access to a third test group, dubbed Test Group C for the price of 10,000 SJCX. We are yet to learn of the final release date, but comments online imply the public release is to be in the second quarter of 2015.
B.Holmes, author of The Range of Illusion and The Private Key installments, is currently located in Thailand, researching and writing about crypto. You can follow B.Holmes on twitter @BanteringB, or contact via email: [email protected]