Blockchain storage: The next evolution of cloud storage

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  • With blockchain storage, the data is divided based on the number of uses within the network.
  • Professor Fredrick Williams was the first to develop the world’s first digital data storage unit, Random Access Memory, in 1948.
  • Sia is an organization that utilizes blockchain technology to provide a conduit that cones those requiring file storage space to those who have.

The web3 ecosystem is an ever-growing network of endless possibilities. Developers have discovered that the flexibility of blockchain applications is steadily growing with each discovery. This steady growth is a vital step for the ecosystem if it is ever truly to replace the Internet/Web2.

Fortunately, the global digital transformation has provided a great environment to test blockchain technology’s limits. More so, given the expansion of users and the need for more computing power, many experts estimate that cloud storage requires some form of evolution. Thus the concept of blockchain storage has gained traction over the past decade. Soon technology will redefine not only how we view data but also how we interact and store it.

This article will emphasize blockchain storage and how it trumps cloud storage. Furthermore, we will highlight existing companies that offer it, opening the doors to new forms of technology.

Road Map of data storage.

Throughout man-kinds history, one fundamental truth remained clear to all; preserving information was a core concept for progress. Before the digital era, organizations and communities would store information via hard copies or folklore. More so in Africa, the integrity of most traditional stories is in question, giving the possibility of alteration. Fortunately, since the dawn of the first device capable of computing power, man has found better ways to deal with data storage.

Professor Fredrick Williams was the first to develop the world’s first digital data storage unit, Random Access Memory, in 1948. During this period, we successfully developed the first fork of computers through vacuum tubes. Williams used this technology to create an array of cathode-ray tubes to store 1024 bits of information. However, innovators developed the magnetic core memory soon became the more widely used data storage option. At the time, all computers wrote, read and stored data using this device. 

In 1953, MIT further developed the magnetic core memory to hold and process more data. 

Data-storage
The evolution of data storage.[Photo/TechCrunch]
The fundamental functioning of the widely used and commonly known floppy disk ushered in the initial digital transformation from 1953 to 2003. IBM played a crucial role in developing this data storage unit and introduced the concept of the hard disk drive.

Also, Read Blockchain applications Africans should be excited about.

However, using magnetic forces to store data had numerous shortcomings and limited growth potential. Upon seeing this roadblock, James T. Russel developed the world’s first optical Discs. This significantly propelled the evolution of technology since optical discs used light to score information in compact discs. James ushered the era of CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray, an age most millennials and Generation Z remember.

Although optical disks positively impacted the entire computing world, what essentially revolutionized data storage was the era of flask disks. In the late 2000s, flash disks flooded the market due to their portable size and high storage capacity.

It combined the use of chips and transistors for maximum functionality. It ushered in the concept of USBs, which played a crucial role in the transition from Web1 to Web2. It’s success and consistent improvements led to the development of Solid State Drives(SSDs), Data Silos, and Data lakes.

The final and more recent development of data storage is cloud storage. The use of the cloud dealt with the core that its predecessors could not handle, storing an immense amount of data while using less physical storage. One of the highlights of Web2 is the development of cloud computing. It ushered in the era of violation and IoT and played a significant role in developing Bitcoin’s initial blockchain application.

What is Blockchain storage?

To create a global web3 ecosystem, developers had to address a fundamental issue that would eventually arise; data storage. As a result, they came up with a concept that has recently given cloud storage a run for its money; blockchain storage applications.

Typically blockchain storage is a decentralized database that can store data without needing a single database unit. The first iteration of blockchain storage is implemented in cryptocurrency networks through distributed ledger systems. These ledgers can store data by replicating its information throughout the entire network.

In doing so, it provides a fundamental component that even cloud storage has achieved; immutability. By isolating the functioning of distributed ledgers, developers can create blockchain storage applications that handle information beyond the limits of the financial sector. 

From a fundamental perspective, data files are treated as transactions in blockchain storage and divided into fragments. The fragments are scattered throughout the networks, ensuring no single user can alter the entire information. Thus for any information to change within the data storage unit, it requires the participation of each fragment throughout the network. This inherently builds a natural form of security that protects its integrity. 

Also, Read The differences between blockchain and distributed ledger technology.

In layman’s, blockchain can be viewed as a form of data storage. Considering how Bitcoin first worked, users could transact with little t no information concerning each other. Its underlying blockchain storage capabilities, alongside its smart contract’s automation, facilitated this transaction.

When developers saw this attribute, they were able to deduce its capabilities as a form of data storage. This blockchain application makes it convenient to share files without the need for numerous data centres. Instead, every device within the network acts as its database centre, gaining fragments of the information. 

Why Blockchain storage trumps Cloud storage.

Cloud storage was the evolutionary end goal of the first developers. It achieved what many desired: storing vast information using little to no physical devices. Various companies have relied on cloud storage to improve their efficiency, limit the cost of purchasing, maintain physical storage units and ensure the security of vital information. Unfortunately, as technology progressed, cloud simple was not enough.

One of the main drawbacks of cloud storage is its location. Despite using fewer physical devices, it still contained a central entity facilitating the storage. This presented numerous issues, but it introduced a single point of failure. One of the significant benefits of the web3 ecosystem is its decentralized nature.

Security

With blockchain storage, the data is divided based on the number of uses within the network. Existing through multiple nodes presented numerous advantages, but its most known one is immutable nature. Despite what cloud storage service providers state, illegal alteration of information is still possible.

An external hacker, an inside threat, or even the service provider themselves can alter any information stored on the cloud. However, blockchain storage is immutable, and any information change is impossible unless 51% of the entire network agrees to alter it. This presents an innate security that most traditional data storage units require excess security measures to ensure.

Low Cost

Another core advantage of blockchain storage facilities is lost cost. Another primary principle within the web3 ecosystem is to empower the user directly. This means a blockchain application can directly link the user with the resource alleviating the need for third-party entities.

Within the past decade, data storage facilities have increased their pricing due to the rising volume of information. This means organizations allocate more funds to cloud storage units.

Also, Read The Metaverse and AI: A Bread and the Butter Relationship.

With blockchain storage, the growth of information presents no issue. Since the blockchain application offers a decentralized database, the development of users means the growth of the database. Furthermore, its cuts down on relying on multiple data centres to store information.

Transparency

Finally, blockchain storage facilitates better transparency than its predecessor. As the globe shifts to a more digitally-inclined future, being able to view and control information is a vital part of its smooth transition. One of the main selling points of most data storage facilities is the ability to ensure users’ data is safe and providing the means to ascertain that claim.

Blockchain storage offers more transparency in the process as compared to cloud storage. Users often undergo sevral cumbersome processes if they desire to view information. This blockchain application gives users complete control of their data, which builds their trust in an organization.

Organizations offer blockchain storage services.

With the ever-growing need for better data storage facilities, various organizations have turned to the Web3 ecosystem for a solution. Most cloud storage organizations have turned to the blockchain as a solution rather than a competitor ushering in a new age of cloud computing. 

Regarding the web3 ecosystem, its flexibility offers a wide range of diversity. Various blockchain storage companies differ significantly in the mechanics of their protocols. Despite this, they all provide centralized data storage, the core component of blockchain storage.

Some of these companies include;

BitTorrent File System

BTFS
BTFS is among the first iteration of blockchain storage.[Photo/Medium]
BTFS is one of the various products within the BitTorrent suit. It provides a scalable decentralized storage system and is among the first implementations of blockchain storage. This blockchain application is one the most significant, having a decentralized network of over 100 million nodes. In addition, it utilizes the TRON blockchain protocol.

Sia Blockchain

Sia-Chain
Sia Chain is an organization that merges cloud storage with blockchain to provide permanence.[Photo/Medium]
Sia is an organization that utilizes blockchain technology to provide a conduit that cones those requiring file storage space to those who have. Their smart contracts take over inter-mediators to ensure that data is adequately encrypted. They establish a P2P network and have a native crypto coin, Sia Coin.

Arweave

Arweave
Arweave is a P2P network that uses blockchain technology for efficient data storage.[Photo/Gemini]
Like Sia, the Arweave is a P2P storage protocol focusing mainly on data permanence. It establishes a decentralized network that offers extra data storage capacities within its network’s nodes. The decentralized network or Permaweb provides an immutable environment that ensures security and efficiency.

Also, Read Blockchain technology and its frontier in 2022.

These three are among the top blockchain storage companies within the web3 ecosystem. There are also honourable mentions such as Storj and Filecoin; the latter is a prime example of a cloud storage company embracing blockchain technology.

Conclusion

Blockchain storage is vital if web3 is ever to replace the Internet. Establishing a viable environment that can expand depending o its network significantly cuts the cost of implementing and maintaining. Fortunately, most cloud storage companies have embraced this technology, and many have provided blockchain. 

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Ken Mutuku
Ken Mutuku
I am an enthusiastic writer who believes that facts, knowledge and opinions can be expressed vividly with just a few words. I think that all forms of writing achieve this; hence I have a wide area of expertise and interest, such as cryptocurrency, psychology and the human mind.