There are multiple factors to consider when picking a storage provider, including ease of use, price, and whether it is compatible with your current technological products. In the following micro-blog, we list some of the main decentralized storage providers along with their key differentiators.
An Ecosystem Overview of Decentralized Storage Protocols
Filecoin: Filecoin is the largest decentralized storage provider by market capitalization. It has 18.7 exbibyte (EiB) total storage power and there are nearly 3,000 projects being built in its ecosystem. It’s stunningly cheap to use at just a few cents per gigabyte per year. The Filecoin Virtual Machine (“FVM”) layer, which is key to adding functionality like perpetual storage and data DAOs focused on data preservation, is currently expected to launch in March.
Sia: Sia’s open source client software is very user friendly, whether you are signing up as a storage user (known as a “renter”) or as a storage provider (a “host”). As of publication, Sia says its cloud storage costs 90% less than incumbent providers, which amounts to about $1-2 per month for 1 TB of storage compared to $23 on Amazon S3. The network has been storing data for users since 2014, has APIs and other easy-to-integrate features, and has pioneered much of the technology in the space. Users can make their data publicly available or completely private.
Storj: Storj offers the cost savings and the security of decentralization — advertising 80% less expensive storage compared to “the big cloud providers” — while storing data on over 13K nodes globally rather than a few centralized (and vulnerable) data centers used by Web2 services. You can use Storj to build apps, stream video, and distribute software. Storj also offers S3 compatibility, making it simple to migrate from the Amazon Simple Storage Service that many cloud-based enterprises currently use.
ArDrive: ArDrive is an app built on Arweave, which aims to build a “permaweb” version of the Internet that can be retrieved quickly by future generations. It promises to do away with storage subscriptions with permanent, secure data storage for a simple one-time price. That promise of permanency is powered through “endowments” that disburse fees to miners in perpetuity. Perpetual storage on ArDrive costs $2-5 USD per gigabyte as of October, which means users may pay more upfront but save in the long-term while avoiding monthly fees.
ArDrive differs from other options in that it’s not built on a traditional blockchain. Instead of a chain of blocks containing transaction data, it stores its data in a graph of blocks linked to two earlier blocks, forming a “weave” that significantly reduces gas fees and allows larger computational loads than alternatives. It also has a voting mechanism for moderating illicit content, which some users may prefer.
Want to Learn More About Decentralized Storage?
Decentralized storage is still in its early stages. While the market opportunity is immense, significant challenges remain on the path to mass adoption: What role should censorship play in the ecosystem? How do we enable faster retrieval times? How do we build storage systems in an inclusive way without a centralized point of coordination? Such questions are being answered in real time as the decentralized storage ecosystem builds on.
In Part I of this series, we explored some of those big picture conversations facing decentralized storage, and you can also read more of our broader coverage of the Decentralized Internet: A Future State, here.
To join the conversation, follow us on Twitter.
If you are interested in learning more, check out the links below.