Waterdrip Capital: DApp Empowered by Distributed Storage, How Far Are We from Information Interconnection?
Waterdrip Capital: A DApp using distributed storage. How close are we to interconnecting information?
Authors: Artist, Hins, Freya, Chance, Chad; Mentors: Jademont, Elaine, Bill@Waterdrip Capital
This research report aims to provide readers with an in-depth understanding of the development history and current state of Web3 distributed storage, and to acquaint readers with the technical principles and basic settings of distributed storage, and combine specific DApp introductions to describe the advantages and roles of DApp construction under distributed storage, and finally introduce the important role of distributed storage in the information interconnection network. It is hoped that readers interested in the field of distributed storage will understand the development context of the field of distributed storage and attract more investors and developers to focus on this field, adding a steady stream of fresh blood to the flourishing development of this field!
Chapter 1 Is the era of large storage already here?
1.1 The era of data explosion
Modern society is in an unprecedented era of information explosion, as well as the digital era where data is the main production factor. The exponential growth of data volume has also put higher demands on the existing data storage system, and a series of needs such as data storage, data management, and data retrieval have emerged one after another.
Web3 establishes decentralized distributed storage, truly achieving personal data belongs to individuals, who produce who owns, rather than the traditional who stores who owns. This change in data ownership is fundamentally based on a new data storage method-distributed storage, which stores data in a decentralized manner on multiple computer nodes, rather than centrally on a single computer. This approach can improve the reliability, scalability, and performance of the storage system.
1.2 Traditional solutions
Traditional centralized cloud storage is a storage solution that puts storage resources on the cloud for users to access. The business model of using Internet cloud storage as a service has a long history. The leading company in the field, Amazon Web Services (AWS), launched its own servers and storage space for rent to users in 2006, reducing the cost of developers creating and managing server infrastructure. Until 2022, the entire Internet cloud service market has become very large, with a market size of more than 200 billion US dollars. Foreign companies including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and domestic companies such as Alibaba represent the top companies in centralized cloud storage. Under the siege of these giants, the entire market has shown an unusually concentrated performance: by 2022, Amazon accounts for about 34%, Microsoft 21%, Google 11%, and Alibaba Cloud 5%.
Due to the centralization of storage, data is concentrated, resulting in larger amounts of data that are more vulnerable to batch attacks and leaks, which in turn exacerbate the security, privacy, and sustainability risks of centralized storage. On the other hand, in the current centralized storage model, users upload sensitive data, which not only deprives users of control over their own data, but also transfers the risk of data leakage to the cloud storage operator. If this private information is lost, damaged, leaked, or stolen, it could result in significant losses for individuals, businesses, and even society, and damage the reputation of cloud storage operators.
These pain points have led users to realize that centralized storage is only a business model. Centralized cloud storage operators may stop providing services due to various problems, and users are unable to constrain or claim compensation for the behavior of service providers. This results in users often preferring to store data with larger, more credible service providers, increasing the centralization of data by head companies and resulting in widespread data loss once it occurs.
1.3 Decentralized Storage vs. Centralized Storage
Due to the huge risks of traditional storage solutions, decentralized storage solutions have emerged as a solution. It is also considered to be a more extensive and effective storage method in the future storage field, which can improve the security of stored data and reduce storage costs. Thus, the market for decentralized storage is huge, and it is one of the earliest and most widely watched blockchain infrastructures.
Centralized storage stores all data on the application platform server and currently faces many problems, such as user data security, ownership, privacy protection, and sustainability. The advantage of decentralized storage is that data can be replicated across multiple locations and accessed in multiple places, reducing security issues caused by hackers attacking through a single node and enabling effective data confirmation and privacy protection, allowing users to have full control of their data. This level of security and privacy is not available in a centralized network.
1.4 Development History of Distributed Storage
IPFS, which is the underlying technology of the Filecoin network, is the earliest decentralized storage solution, and its launch date can be traced back to 2014. The vision of IPFS is to replace HTTP, making Internet browsing and downloading faster and more secure.
In terms of scale, the development trend of decentralized storage is also very promising: according to the Filecoin Foundation’s annual report for 2022, the total storage capacity of Filecoin is close to 19 EiB, accounting for 1% of the total global storage capacity. More than 300 PiB of data is stored on the network through the social layer Filecoin Plus. Nearly 4,000 storage providers contribute data capacity to the Filecoin network. Filecoin provides storage services for individuals, organizations, and government agencies such as the UndergrounD Physics Group at the University of California, Berkeley and Starling Lab, and has partnered with Lockheed Martin to deploy IPFS in space.
According to Web3 Index data, Arweave’s storage cost in the past 90 days was $185,000, while Storj’s was $37,000. It is not difficult to see that whether in terms of storage scale or performance, decentralized storage is still in its infancy.
Chapter 2 Introduction and Basic Technology of Decentralized Storage
2.1 Decentralized Storage and “Everything Connected” DApps
With the development of Web3-related technologies, people have gradually realized that the issue of data ownership is becoming more and more important.
Nowadays, for a user, their data is often stored in different applications by different centralized storage service providers. An OG may have their own social media accounts on Twitter, Youtube, Zhihu, and Weibo. The same thread of data is controlled by different companies on different social media platforms, and they can arbitrarily delete and modify their information – the ownership of user data does not seem to belong to the user. Is there a way to let users truly own their data?
Decentralized storage provides such a possibility. In the decentralized storage infrastructure, a user’s data is no longer owned by a single service provider, but is instead saved by different nodes in the network after being decentralized. When using it, users can get “fragments” from different nodes and restore their own data.
By using decentralized storage infrastructure, applications can: no longer hold or store user data, but instead “index” data that users publish in decentralized storage facilities and provide corresponding services. For example, Twitter can help users publish their ideas and provide services such as likes and reposts, but the data is still controlled by the user. This approach does not conflict with regulation: when a piece of data has a negative impact or violates the law, the application only needs to not index or display the data, but the data itself can still be fully saved in the decentralized system.
As you can imagine, using the above approach, a user can make their data flow between different applications, breaking down the “data silos”. In short, it creates a “connected everything” DApp world.
2.2 Why decentralized storage is needed
The development of decentralized storage can be attributed to two motivations:
2.2.1 Need for data ownership and security
In the storage field, data security has three important definitions (CIA):
Confidentiality. Meaning that user data privacy is not leaked.
Integrity. Meaning that user data cannot be easily added, deleted, or modified, and that users can obtain their complete stored data.
Availability. Meaning that users can access their data at any time and that data availability is not affected by system outages or user restrictions.
Over time, people have become increasingly aware of the importance of data security and ownership. In the current centralized storage model, it is difficult to avoid the problem of privacy data leakage when users upload personal data to centralized storage services. At the same time, cloud storage service providers may add, delete, or modify user data due to political or related interest issues. As a result, the integrity of user data is often tied to the credibility of the service provider. Storage systems of service providers, facing increasing demand and performance pressure, may also experience problems such as system outages, which can damage the availability of user data.
Bitcoin’s first decentralization of the system demonstrated its power. Since the release of Bitcoin, the entire network has almost never experienced a system outage. Decentralized storage systems themselves have better confidentiality and anti-censorship capabilities. People began to envision whether decentralized storage could provide better protection for data ownership and security.
2.2.2 Need for smart contracts and DApps
Since Ethereum introduced smart contracts and EVM, the blockchain has become a decentralized, programmable distributed ledger. The invention of smart contracts has promoted the emergence of NFT, DeFi, and other scenarios and applications.
As a Turing-complete programming language, smart contracts can enable different blockchain nodes to execute the same function code and allow them to reach consensus on the results of the code execution. However, smart contracts cannot store large amounts of data. This is a design decision of Ethereum and other blockchains themselves.
Ethereum data storage design diagram
In Ethereum, the balance, nonce and other information of each account are not directly stored in the block, but are calculated by each node on the entire world state tree (which contains information about each account) and the hash value of the state tree root is stored in the block. The information of each account and the information stored by each smart contract (a special type of account) are stored in the state tree. In the design of the Ethereum client, these data are actually saved by each node in the chain-off LevelDB or RocksDB, and are consensus by the state tree root. Therefore, it is more expensive to store data directly in smart contracts on the blockchain.
In actual applications, we need to save some key data securely and reliably. For example, in NFT applications, we can record the ID of each NFT and the corresponding relationship with its owner on the chain, but the key data (metaData) of the NFT itself cannot be persistently stored on the chain, otherwise it will bring a lot of Gas overhead. We need additional methods to store this data.
2.3 Basic Technologies of Decentralized Storage
Decentralized storage infrastructure uses a variety of cryptography and distributed system key technologies to make the entire system highly available, while ensuring that stored data has high confidentiality and integrity.
From an overall perspective, the core idea of decentralized storage infrastructure is to divide a user’s file into multiple fragments, repeat each fragment multiple times, and then store the results in different nodes or partitions. When a user needs to retrieve the original data, they can request all nodes of the network in a certain logic to recover their original data. Technologies that may be used in this process include:
Distributed hash table (Distributed Hash Table, DHT): DHT is a distributed key-value storage system that can efficiently store and retrieve data between different nodes. By using DHT, decentralized storage can find the location of data in the network and achieve fast access.
Data sharding (SharDing): In order to improve storage efficiency and data security, decentralized storage systems usually divide data into multiple fragments and distribute these fragments to different nodes. This can reduce the storage pressure of a single node, and improve the redundancy and reliability of data.
Data encryption: In order to protect the privacy and security of user data, decentralized storage systems usually use encryption technology to encrypt data. Even if the data is intercepted during transmission, the attacker cannot obtain the original data content.
Error-correcting code: It improves the fault tolerance of data by adding redundant information. In decentralized storage, erasure codes can help recover data in case of data loss or damage, and improve the reliability of the system.
In addition, to ensure the availability of data in the network, it is generally necessary to reach a consensus among the various nodes. In order to ensure decentralization of the network, more nodes need to participate in data storage and consensus, which involves some key technologies as follows:
Consensus algorithm: Decentralized storage usually uses blockchain technology to achieve autonomy and transparency. The consensus algorithm is the core technology in the blockchain system, which can ensure that all nodes in the network reach a consensus on the state of the data.
Incentive and punishment mechanism: In order to attract more participants to join the decentralized storage network, the incentive mechanism is crucial. By setting appropriate rewards and punishments, the incentive mechanism can encourage participants to provide more storage resources and bandwidth for the network. For example, in order to encourage miners to provide stable services, the Filecoin network requires miners to invest a portion of block rewards as collateral. If the miner terminates the contract or goes offline early, the miner will be penalized and the collateral will be burned, a process known as “punishment”. Honest miners will be rewarded for their work. In this way, the entire system can not only incentivize miners to store data in a timely manner, but also incentivize miners to persistently and correctly store data, and maintain their commitments to users and the network.
Network routing and data transmission: In order to achieve efficient data storage and retrieval, decentralized storage systems require an optimized network routing and data transmission mechanism. This can reduce network latency and improve data access speed.
Chapter III Decentralized Storage Infrastructure
3.1 Three Giants of Decentralized Storage
Decentralized storage essentially serves the application layer of the Web3 ecosystem, and therefore tends to meet the needs of end users in the solution, that is, to execute data storage, computing and invocation requirements in a more efficient and cost-effective way. Arweave, Filecoin and Storj have formed independent top three decentralized storage networks.
As a decentralized storage system, Filecoin aims to provide secure and reliable storage for humanity’s most important information. It adopts an innovative incentive mechanism that allows network participants to provide storage space and receive corresponding rewards. Filecoin can be combined with various DApp development platforms to provide developers with highly reliable storage solutions, ensuring the security and accessibility of data.
Filecoin and IPFS are two separate and complementary protocols created by Protocol Labs. IPFS allows peer-to-peer storage, retrieval, and transmission of verifiable data. Filecoin aims to provide a persistent data storage system. It follows time and space proofs and replication proofs to ensure that miners correctly store the data they commit to storing.
Decentralized storage on Filecoin has been proven to be over 95% cheaper than Web2 storage solutions. One of the large Web3 use cases for Filecoin is storing NFT data, with over 90 million NFTs stored on Filecoin, largely due to the interaction of Filecoin with IPFS, which is often the preferred storage for NFT data.
Decentralization – Filecoin creates a distributed network where data is replicated in multiple locations and accessible from anywhere, rather than storing information in a centralized network in one place.
Extremely low cost – Filecoin is attempting to disrupt the current storage market with its extremely low-cost alternative for temporary storage.
Scalability – bringing together millions of computers around the world to create a massive storage network and incentivizing them to store data.
Payment Method – Filecoin does not support one-time payment for storing data, but only supports system storage of data based on monthly rental contracts. Filecoin seeks to rent out excess data storage on servers around the world. Owners of these servers can rent out space to you and me to store our data on a monthly basis. Similar to how Airbnb has become (sometimes) a cheaper alternative to staying in hotels, Filecoin’s goal is to be a cheaper alternative to the big players in the cloud storage industry. This is mainly due to Filecoin’s economic model: contract-based storage can be thought of as a pay-as-you-go model. Users pay a node network to store data permanently, and it can also guarantee, without trust, that someone is actually storing the data they claim to be storing and storing it for the agreed-upon time.
In fact, every business has its own alternative use case, in which case if they need to store data permanently and only need to pay a one-time fee to store it permanently, rather than paying monthly contract fees and fixed time to store data like filecoin, then Arweave will come in handy.
Arweave is a blockchain-based decentralized storage platform that uses an innovative sustainable and permanent donation mechanism to support data storage. It was released in 2018. They created Arweave to provide people and businesses with permanent, low-cost, and decentralized storage. To incentivize miners and provide a payment method for storage services, Arweave has adopted a native token called AR.
Arweave has introduced a new economic model to the market that has never been seen before in a permissionless encrypted network: permanent storage. The easiest way to interact with Arweave is to use BunDlr, and since it is a permanent data storage, Arweave (and BunDlr) does not support mutable data. However, updated versions can be uploaded, so a system can be built to facilitate the emergence of mutable data with a permanent editing history.
An interesting feature of Arweave is its emphasis on data persistence. The platform is designed to store data indefinitely, ensuring it is available to users for years to come. By adopting a unique data storage system, Arweave replicates every stored data across the network, making it almost impossible to lose. Through Arweave, developers can achieve large-scale, permanent data storage without worrying about data loss or tampering. It provides developers with a reliable and long-term solution for storing data, providing persistence assurance for DApp data management.
Arweave uses permanent storage, allowing users to store data permanently with a one-time upfront payment. The protocol compensates miners to ensure data availability, reliability, and persistence by leveraging cryptographic economic game theory and creating donation funds. Arweave is the first to use economics to incentivize people to store data long-term. This combination provides a way to permanently store public or private data. The Arweave blockchain can process over 5,000 transactions per second.
Arweave’s features are best suited for preserving data that is primarily in HTML 5 web pages, establishing decentralized H5-APPs. In practical use, the application scenarios for this certification are narrow. Currently, the most stored data on Arweave is screenshots of some anti-government comments on Twitter. The increase in explicit anti-government applications is worrying.
Arweave’s feature of being immutable makes it particularly difficult in program development because any program uploaded to Arweave by a developer must be error-free. If there is an error, even if it is a punctuation mark, the previously uploaded content will be invalidated and needs to be re-uploaded, which will inevitably result in a lot of useless garbage accumulation. In addition, because of the openness of the blockchain, content uploaded to Arweave is open to the entire society and is not suitable for uploading personal content.
Arweave’s main selling point is one-time payment for permanent file storage. This model is relatively simple, but there is a risk of homogenization of projects utilizing the same storage concept and engaging in a price war.
Storj is a decentralized content storage and distribution network aimed at providing fast, secure, and low-cost P2P cloud storage services, mainly for enterprise clients, and competing with Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3. Storj was founded in 2014 and launched in 2017. The current version of Storj being run is Storj Next, which started in February 2023 and introduced permanent storage functionality and token storage rewards. The decentralized storage services provided by Storj simply means that users upload the files they need to store to the network, and the files are stored in computers around the world that are willing to contribute storage space (storage nodes). When the user needs to use the file, they retrieve the location of the file from the network and download it to their local computer.
However, unlike other decentralized storage networks, the Storj network not only has users and storage nodes, but also adds satellites as a third role, forming a relationship of independent operation and mutual dependence among the three.
Users: Use the Uplink client for content transmission. Uplink is responsible for data encryption/decryption and sharding.
Satellites: Connect users and storage nodes, and are coordinators in the network. Responsible for storage node address information, metadata, maintaining node reputation, paying and managing node fees, auditing nodes, managing user account authorization. Satellites will help users find the fastest upload node, as well as record user and node expenses and income.
Storage Nodes: Provide storage space and network bandwidth for users.
As of May 2023, Storj has six stable running satellites, 23,600 active nodes, and a total of 24.2 PB of storage. Storj is a decentralized storage service that focuses on SLAs grade services. Unlike Filecoin’s decentralized and Arweave’s Smartweave smart contract system, Storj does not utilize blockchain technology and makes compromises in centralization, but this also makes it ahead of other similar projects in commercial implementation.
High-level encryption, fast data retrieval, affordable prices, and easy-to-use user experience.
Storj claims to be the Uber of decentralized storage, compromising on centralization.
3.2 Storage Facility Classification
Firstly, research existing decentralized storage infrastructure, mainly from its architecture and characteristics, current usage, and cost of use, analyzing which facilities are more suitable for “nestling” DApps. Based on whether the infrastructure itself is based on a complete blockchain design, we classify it into two categories: Off-chain storage facilities and On-chain storage facilities:
In Off-chain decentralized storage facilities, nodes do not exist in the form of a blockchain, but as a P2P decentralized network where data is directly dispersed and stored in each node.
In On-chain decentralized storage facilities, there is indeed a blockchain that stores proof of various files. Outside the blockchain, there are many storage service providers to truly store files and data.
3.3 New “Challengers”
3.3.1 BNB Greenfield
In March, Binance released BNB Greenfield, a blockchain and storage platform dedicated to promoting decentralized data management and access, aimed at changing the data economy by simplifying data storage and management and linking data ownership to the context of BNB SmartChain (BSC).
As part of the “one coin, three chains” world of BNB, Greenfield differs from existing centralized and decentralized storage infrastructure in that:
Allows the creation and management of data and assets in Ethereum-compatible address form.
Allows BNB as the base asset, and provides cloud storage for BSC through native cross-chain.
Provides developers with API primitives and performance similar to popular existing Web2 cloud storage.
Greenfield is essentially a blockchain consisting of two layers: the blockchain itself and the storage service provider (Storage Provider).
On the chain, the Greenfield blockchain maintains user account books and records storage metadata as general blockchain state data. The native token used for fees and governance is BNB, transferred from the BNB smart chain. The storage or retrieval file request initiated by the user to Greenfield is actually wrapped in the block.
In the off-chain, storage providers (SP) are organizations or individuals who provide storage service infrastructure using Greenfield as a ledger and the only true source of data. Each SP is responsible for responding to user requests for uploading and downloading data, while also acting as a gatekeeper for user permissions and identity verification.
The BNB Greenfield blockchain and SP together constitute a decentralized object storage system. It is worth noting that applications based on Greenfield as storage infrastructure can conveniently cross-chain with BSC and BNB Beacon Chain.
Since the Greenfield testnet has just been released and the mainnet will be released in the third quarter of this year, there are currently not many ecological inclusions.
In my opinion, the BNB Greenfield storage facility is mainly a part of the BNB community and will definitely have a positive impact on the value of BNB. Greenfield makes BSC a better user experience and is more recognized. As more and more projects and users choose to use BSC, the overall demand and value of BNB and Greenfield will increase. Through cross-chain switching and interconnection of the entire ecosystem, BNB can be more widely used in various applications in the ecosystem, building a mutually beneficial ecosystem.
In January of this year, Binance Labs announced the launch of the 4th quarter incubation plan. Selected projects have the opportunity to receive initial funding investment provided by Binance Labs and various support for project development. Filswan was successfully selected for the 4th quarter incubation and received a total of 3 million US dollars in financing.
FilSwan recently announced that its first cross-chain product, multichain.storage, has successfully launched on the Polygon mainnet. This product allows users to pay for IPFS/Filecoin storage through Polygon stablecoins, successfully reducing the operating threshold and simplifying the dApps development process in Web3 storage.
FilSwan is a team from Canada. Since 2017, it has been deeply involved in the cloud computing and blockchain industries, and has cooperated with Canadian universities such as McGill University and Concordia University. It has repeatedly received research and development grants from the Canadian government and the Canadian Natural Science Foundation for blockchain cloud computing research, and it is also a Canadian Next-Generation Network Excellence Project. FilSwan is committed to creating decentralized storage and computing solutions. FilSwan’s product services are greatly enhanced by edge computing technology, IPFS/Filecoin storage technology, and decentralized ledger technology. FilSwan’s products are widely used in universities, VR/AR, and high-performance computing companies. FilSwan’s users can perform computing tasks at the lowest cost on the node closest to them.
OORT: Decentralized cloud service + public chain, Web3 and metaverse infrastructure, provides users with enterprise-level performance decentralized underlying infrastructure cloud services. OORT can provide a complete set of Web3 data solutions with Internet scale, aiming to bring Web2-native user experience to end-users and developers.
Advantages: secure, open, anti-censorship, resistant to single point of failure, resistant to data leakage (all data are encrypted at edge nodes), network attacks, Internet-scale scalability, 99.99%+ availability, ultra-low latency, 99.99%+ durability.
Core technology, optimizing idle computing power, increasing IDC and various miners’ income, multi-physical machine aggregator + multi-currency (such as: Storj, Filecoin, Chia, Crust, Swarm, Arweave, Ethereum, Helium and other decentralized storage, decentralized computing, decentralized node network mining stocks and incremental miners) dual mining compatibility + (web2 and web3) large-scale commercial order profit income, differentiated competition in the same track, same track empowerment compatibility, deep mining of Web2 and Web3 demand side.
Chapter 4 Current Situation of DApps Empowered by Distributed Storage
4.1 Advantages and Functions of Distributed Storage for DApps
In DApp applications, distributed storage is usually used to store smart contract code, user data, transaction data, identity verification data and so on. For developers, the reasonable application of distributed storage technology not only has security and reliability, but also brings some other advantages, such as:
1) High availability and security
Since data is stored on multiple nodes, even if one node fails, data can still be accessed from other nodes. In distributed storage, data is usually stored on multiple nodes, with each node storing only part of the data. Once one node fails, other nodes can also provide services normally, ensuring the reliability of data.
2) High performance and responsiveness
In traditional applications, the server needs to process a large number of data requests, which can easily lead to performance bottlenecks. In DApps, because data is stored on multiple nodes, each node only needs to process data requests that it stores, thereby reducing the server’s load and improving the performance of the application. In addition, since distributed storage can be infinitely scalable, DApps can also be infinitely scalable, thereby improving the scalability of the application.
4.2 DApp Development Framework and Technology Selection
Ethereum + IPFS: Ethereum is currently the most popular DApp development platform, with highly programmable and smart contract capabilities, making it the preferred platform for building decentralized applications. IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) is a popular decentralized storage system that solves the challenges of traditional centralized storage through distributed protocols. Combined with Ethereum and IPFS, developers can build reliable, secure, and highly scalable decentralized applications in a powerful environment.
Truffle Suite: Truffle Suite is a set of development tools designed specifically for the Ethereum ecosystem. Truffle is a development environment, testing framework, and asset pipeline that is widely used to build DApps. Through integration with IPFS, Truffle Suite is able to achieve decentralized storage, providing developers with comprehensive functionality and convenience.
Embark: Embark is a framework that simplifies the process of DApp development and deployment. With Embark, developers can easily create and manage all aspects of a DApp, including smart contracts, front-end interfaces, and storage and Whisper communication capabilities. Embark integrates with decentralized technologies such as IPFS, providing developers with convenient storage and communication capabilities, further enhancing the decentralized nature of DApps.
HarDhat: HarDhat is a powerful development environment for compiling, deploying, testing, and debugging Ethereum software. It provides comprehensive support, allowing developers to efficiently perform smart contract development and debugging work. HarDhat can be integrated with IPFS or other decentralized storage solutions to meet the reliable storage needs of DApps.
Ganache: As part of Truffle Suite, Ganache is a powerful tool for creating private Ethereum blockchains. By using Ganache, developers can test and debug DApps in a secure and deterministic environment. It provides a fast and reliable way for developers to simulate different blockchain scenarios and ensure the stability and consistency of DApps in various situations.
Moralis: Moralis is a fully managed backend service designed specifically for DApp development. It provides powerful functionality that allows developers to focus on front-end development without worrying about complex backend architecture. Moralis supports IPFS as a decentralized storage solution, providing developers with a reliable storage solution that allows them to easily store data on the IPFS network.
Arweave: Arweave is a decentralized storage network that uses an innovative sustainable and permanent donation mechanism to support data storage. With Arweave, developers can achieve large-scale, permanent data storage without worrying about data loss or tampering. It provides developers with a reliable and long-term storage solution, providing persistence guarantees for DApp data management.
Filecoin: As a decentralized storage system, Filecoin aims to provide secure and reliable storage for humanity’s most important information. It uses an innovative incentive mechanism that allows network participants to provide storage space and receive corresponding rewards. Filecoin can be used in conjunction with a variety of DApp development platforms, providing developers with highly reliable storage solutions, ensuring the security and accessibility of data.
Textile is a powerful toolset designed to simplify the process of building applications on IPFS, providing developers with a simpler and more convenient development experience. Textile’s toolset includes a variety of features that help developers overcome the complexity and challenges they may encounter when using IPFS for application development.
4.3 Distributed Social Media Platforms
Decentralized social media platforms are very meaningful to the development of web3. If an open and free internet is desired, an open and free social media network is needed. Most internet users spend most of their time on major social media platforms. Traditional social media platforms decide what users can and cannot see, have the power to censor content/profiles they don’t like, and control all user data. Web2 social platforms lack portability. Everyone’s profile, friend relationships, and content are locked into a specific network and owned by network operators. Therefore, distributed social media platforms have emerged in the web3 ecosystem, which can unlock network effects for developers. This is a huge moat for major centralized platforms.
Mask Network, RSS3, Lens Protocols, and CyberConnect are currently the four representative distributed social media protocols. They are all committed to providing users with more secure, decentralized, and efficient data storage and access services. Below, they will be compared from the perspectives of data storage, data access, data security, and reward mechanism.
Mask Network runs on Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon, and has community governance and decentralized data storage capabilities.
RSS3 uses a data format called RSS3 Core, which is based on the JSON-LD language, and can easily exchange and share data, while also supporting other data formats. The data storage of RSS3 is based on the decentralized IPFS protocol.
Lens Protocols is based on the two main blockchain platforms of Ethereum and Polkadot, and connects them through cross-chain bridges. Users can freely transfer digital assets between the two platforms, achieving cross-chain interoperability.
CyberConnect uses a distributed storage protocol similar to IPFS and Filecoin to store data, while also combining smart contracts and encryption algorithms to ensure data security.
Mask Network can easily access, share, and exchange data through user-friendly Chrome extensions and social media platform interfaces.
In addition to being connected to Ethereum, Polygon, BSC, Arbitrum, Flow, and xDAI, RSS3 also provides data indexing and distribution for ecology projects such as Mask Network, Polygon, Arweave, Misskey, and ShowMe.
Lens Protocol uses cross-chain bridges to connect Ethereum and Polkadot, achieving asset cross-chain transfer. This cross-chain bridge uses a multi-signature mechanism to ensure the security and reliability of assets.
CyberConnect provides an interface called CyberConnect Gateway, through which users can find and access data stored on the network.
Mask Network uses encryption algorithms and smart contracts to protect the security of user data, as well as supporting technologies such as multi-signature to ensure the security of transactions and storage. Users are allowed to encrypt and decrypt content on social media using public key cryptography.
RSS3 uses distributed storage and encryption algorithms to protect the security of user data, as well as supporting technologies such as identity verification to prevent unauthorized access.
Lens Protocol provides users with liquidity pools, allowing them to trade and provide liquidity for assets. The protocol supports two types of liquidity pools: AMM and pricing models.
CyberConnect ensures the security of data by using distributed storage protocols similar to IPFS and Filecoin, as well as encryption algorithms, smart contracts, and identity verification technologies.
Mask Network users can perform the following activities on Twitter and Facebook (without leaving the website or installing other applications): trade tokens through the Uniswap DEX; donate funds and send cryptocurrencies through red envelopes; raise funds for crypto projects through Initial Twitter Offering (ITO); upload and attach (optionally encrypted) files to your post via decentralized file storage services.
The reward mechanism of RSS3 is based on the RSS3 token. The RSS3 token is mainly used to incentivize users to share and access data, and can also be used to support the development of applications and communities. Users can earn RSS3 tokens by sharing their data and participating in community governance.
In terms of reward mechanism, these four projects have adopted similar approaches, that is, incentivizing users to participate in community building and contribution through tokens, thereby promoting the development and enhancing the stability of the community. The difference lies in the different considerations and positioning of these projects in designing the reward mechanism, such as the name, use, and acquisition methods of the tokens. For example, Mask Network focuses on community governance and decision-making, so its reward mechanism emphasizes the participation value of the MASK token; RSS3 focuses on data sharing and access, so its reward mechanism mainly revolves around the acquisition and use of RSS3 tokens; Lens Protocol focuses on data storage and access, so its reward mechanism focuses on providing storage and computing resources; CyberConnect also focuses on data storage and access, but it emphasizes the role of tokens in community governance.
4.4 Distributed Information Management Platform
4.4.1 Genaro Network
Genaro Network is a blockchain-based storage network that provides a decentralized platform for users to store and share data.
Data storage: Genaro Network uses a distributed storage solution called Genaro EDen. This solution is similar to IPFS and Swarm, but it places a greater emphasis on data security and reliability. Genaro EDen supports various types and structures of data, including files, images, and videos.
Data access: Genaro Network provides a user-friendly interface that allows users to conveniently search, retrieve, and access data stored on the network. In addition, Genaro Network offers an application called Genaro Sharer, which allows users to share their data.
Data security: Genaro Network places a strong emphasis on data security. It uses a technology called SPoR (Sentinel Proof of Retrievability) to ensure the security of data during storage and transmission. In addition, Genaro Network uses encryption and identity verification technologies to protect user data and prevent unauthorized access.
Reward mechanism: Genaro Network has a unique reward mechanism that incentivizes users to share data and provide storage and access services. Users can earn GNX (Genaro Network Tokens) as rewards for sharing data and providing storage space. This reward mechanism helps maintain the stability and security of the distributed network.
Mirror is a blockchain-based publishing platform that allows creators to create, own, and monetize their works.
Data storage: Mirror achieves permanent data storage through Arweave, including all the content a creator publishes as well as all related changes and information needed to verify the authenticity of the creator’s identity. Arweave not only provides permanent data storage, but also requires only a one-time fee on the first upload.
Data access: Mirror provides a user-friendly web interface that allows users to conveniently search, retrieve, and access content stored on the platform. In addition, because all content is stored on the blockchain, anyone can use Ethereum tools to directly access this data.
Data security: Mirror uses blockchain encryption technology to protect user data. Each user has an account associated with their Ethereum wallet, and only through this wallet can users publish or modify their content. This ensures that only the true owner of the content can control it.
Reward Mechanism: Mirror has a unique reward mechanism that incentivizes users to create and share content. Users can earn MIRROR tokens as a reward for posting content and participating in voting. This reward mechanism helps maintain the platform’s activity and diversity.
4.5 Summary Discussion: How Far Are We from Information Interconnection?
Information interconnection refers to the interconnection and communication of various devices, systems, software, services, etc. through the network, which is one of the basic infrastructures of the digital age. In the development of the past few decades, information interconnection technology has been continuously improving and popularizing, promoting rapid development in the fields of society, economy, culture, and other fields. However, there are also some shortcomings in the current information interconnection technology. Among them, centralized storage of data centers and service models dominated by cloud computing are the two most obvious problems.
Traditional “cloud storage” refers to the centralized storage of all user data in a few data centers. This storage method has a risk of single-point failure. If one of the data centers fails, it will affect a large number of users. In addition, centralized storage also has problems such as data privacy leakage and abuse, and users’ data is completely controlled and managed by centralized service providers.
The service model dominated by cloud computing means that the vast majority of online services are implemented through cloud computing, and these services are usually dominated by a few large Internet companies. This situation has led to the problem of data monopoly and centralization of control over data circulation and processing by a few large companies.
With the development and application of blockchain technology, the application of distributed storage technology has been more widely promoted. The integration between Ethereum and IPFS has made the development and use of DApps simpler and more effective, and also provided new ideas and possibilities for the development of information interconnection. Traditional centralized applications have problems such as privacy leakage, data dependence, and system crashes. On the basis of decentralization, DApps make application programs more transparent, secure, reliable, and have higher decentralization degree through blockchain technology and smart contracts. With the continuous progress of technology and the continuous expansion of application scenarios, DApps will play a more important role in future development.
The innovation of distributed storage in the blockchain application layer will reconstruct the enterprise business model and production relationship under the Web 2.0 era fundamentally with built-in mechanisms of business, recommendation, and storage, which will fundamentally solve problems such as data monopoly, privacy security, and profit squeezing. It may become the pillar of future social, content, and e-commerce applications.