The world is shifting entirely from physical to digital. Many of the aspects of our life are moving to screens and new technologies are appearing to solve the challenges arising from digitalization. One of the most promising is without a doubt, blockchain technology. It is the technology enabling cryptocurrencies (among other things,) which allows everyone to participate more directly in the exchange of value. Applications using cryptocurrencies promise to bring alternatives to popular services we all use, but designed with decentralization, privacy, censorship resistance and inclusion in mind. We often call them decentralised applications (dApps). Yet, many dApps depend on centralized systems. This is not a coincidence. We don’t yet have all the pieces needed to create a truly decentralized & unstoppable Internet of Value. One of those missing pieces is storage.
Any useful application will at some point need to store and retrieve data. In the past, we used to save most of it on our computers and phones locally. Later, we started to move towards cloud storage. This fits well with the client-server architecture of the applications, but brought new risks and challenges:
- Centralization: The Internet was supposed to be a distributed system where each node is expendable. However, nowadays the majority of our data is concentrated in centralized hubs like Facebook, Google or Microsoft, which increases the risk of data abuse, leaks and denial of service. Using decentralized storage systems you don’t need to rely on centralized servers. Everything can literally be distributed to thousands of nodes around the world.
- Censorship: Web resources, like web pages, can be easily censored by blocking or attacking the servers where the content is stored. However, if the content is hosted on decentralized storage it is much more difficult to censor because it is stored somewhere in a decentralized network. As long as there is a node storing a copy of the content, it is accessible.
- Data Loss: Similarly, if a provider stops existing all of the content they served is lost. While there are organizations, like the Internet Archive, maintaining archived copies of websites, it´s a centralized non-scalable solution that may at some point become unavailable as well. In addition, any links to this content will be broken as the archive is stored on a different address. In decentralized storage, the data is described by the content rather than by the location where stored. So as long as there is a copy in the storage network, it is retrievable with the same link – it does not matter which node stores it.
- Scaling and Latency: Popular content can be accessed by millions of users in an hour from all around the world. If stored from a single server, the quality of service would quickly degrade as all these users are using the resources of just one server. At the same time, users geographically further away from the server will have much higher latency compared to the ones nearby. Both of these problems are often solved by duplicating the content and distributing it to several servers around the world. We call these services Content Distribution Networks (CDN). However, using a CDN can be quite expensive and complicated. Depending on implementation, decentralized storage is basically a CDN which brings advantages at no additional cost without a need to setup.
At RIF, we are building a suite of open and decentralized infrastructure protocols. Our goal is to enable faster, easier and scalable development of dApps. The RIF Storage is one of these protocols bringing a decentralized storage solution.
As a developer, you can utilize RIF Storage to securely serve your dApp without the need to have a server. Thanks to integration with the RIF Identity Protocol, your users can access the dApp through an easy-to-remember web-like address. When you develop a new version, you can upload it to the network and map it to your dApp’s address.
As a user, you can have inner peace knowing that the content you create in a dApp is encrypted and stored in the RIF Storage network, minimizing the chance of being abused or becoming unavailable. You can even use the RIF Storage yourself as a cloud, synchronize your data among other computers, or share it with friends and family members with minimal effort and likely at a fraction of the cost. As an individual or a company, you can earn money by providing your unused storage to the network. Anyone can participate, and thanks to RIF Payments integration, be rewarded for every chunk of data served with minimal fees.
Clearly, we are excited to bring you the RIF Storage and we can’t wait to see and support you in bringing new, exciting use cases to the masses.