This technology didn’t just pop up overnight! In this section we’ll cover the background of decentralized storage from torrents until now, and go through some basics terminology to get you up to speed.
While Decentralized Storage is a catchy buzz word, it's important to understand where this new technology can be used, and where it should not.
State of the Industry
IPFS is just the beginning - in this module we'll catch you up on the developments currently affecting the space, and cover the various cryptocurrencies and tokens that have proposed incentive models for peer to peer storage.
DESPITE THE LIMITATIONS DISCUSSED IN THE PREVIOUS LESSON, DECENTRALIZED STORAGE HAS POWERFUL BENEFITS WHEN DEPLOYED IN THE CORRECT SITUATIONS.
It is difficult to delete data if a sufficient number of peers want to keep it. Once a file has been shared with the network, it only takes one node to keep it available. This makes it nearly impossible for an attacker to take the files hostage, or for a tyrannical government to suppress free speech. Beyond this, it means that users can rest assured that their personal documents can be stored safely as long as at least one of their devices holds a copy, and these files can then easily be replicated to the other devices. In practice this works similarly to an iCloud or Google backup, but exists without the need for a third party.
Since files are hosted publicly, and not behind a corporate firewall, no single actor or organization can limit access to the content once it has been shared. As we’ll discuss in the next lesson, this has powerful advantages for file-sharing platforms and social media alike.
Decentralized networks are open to anyone with the necessary software knowledge and hardware. As a result, unused storage capacity on personal devices can now be connected to the grid seamlessly, similar to producing renewable energy with home solar panels. This increase in capacity is expected to drive down traditional hosting costs by providing a free market as an alternative to big-name providers. As an additional benefit, this means that everyday users can expect to earn additional income just for connecting their unused hardware to the grid.
In the next lesson, we’ll explore some projects that are currently taking advantage of these features.