RIF Expert Panel: The State of Decentralized Storage

31 August, 2020

RIF recently hosted a panel discussion on the topic The state of Decentralized Storage. Speakers include Vojtěch Šimetka, RIF Storage PO; David Vorick, CEO Sia; Daniel Nagy, Developer Ethereum Swarm; Saswata Basu, CEO 0Chain. Hosted by IOVLab’s developer Rinke Hendriksen.

You can watch the video by visiting youtube.com/RSKsmart

Rinke Hendriksen: Right. And we were live, so welcome, everybody, and welcome especially to the panelist we have today and welcome to the RIF decentralized storage panel. And today we have an amazing lineup of panelists, all experts in the fields of decentralized storage. So it's no wonder that in this panel, what we focus on, the decentralized storage landscape in general, where we are standing, who are the users, what are the challenges to overcome, but also to explore the individual solutions, what each of you brings to the table.
And we are going to identify the relative differences and similarities between your projects. So.
Well, first of all, let me introduce each of you. We have with us Danny.

Daniel Nagy: Hello

Rinke: Danny who is a researcher and one of the co-founders of the swarm projects. Then we have Vojtěch with the beautiful green screen behind him. Vojtěch is the product owner and visionary of RIF Storage. And then we have David. David is the CEO of SIA and Saswata the CEO of 0Chain.

So my name is Rinke Hendriksen. I'm most of the time economical researcher and product owner, working both for RIF Storage and swarm, of course, decentralized storage. And today I'll be moderating this panel. So the panel is hosted by RIF because we believe that rather than just sharing our own perspective, it's better to invite experts and basically learn from them. So, to learn what you're up to, what are you working on and which challenges you overcame. So, let's start.

And I actually like to kick off this panel by asking you maybe on the anecdote, a personal story on when you started to work on this enterprise storage and maybe there was a time that you were talking with the friend or was a personal frustration you had with something. Danny let's start with you.
When did you decide to start swarm and was it something particular happening? And you are mute on YouTube.

Daniel: Yeah, thank you.
So, for me, decentralized storage started even before swarm, but swarm started in November. Well, fall fall 2014. So shortly before the genesis of Ethereum. But I had a long standing interest and in file sharing and censorship resistant publication and so on. So that goes back about five, six years before that.

And swarms seem to be one or two of my interests came together, which was cryptocurrency and decentralized storage. So, I found there's this this project at the nexus of these two technologies, which I both consider freedom enhancing technologies, which are adding something that is in short supply in our world. And so this was an invitation from a friend of mine, Victor Tron, who is still the leader of this swarm project. I met him in a libertarian discussion group.

And since it was known from that group that I'm interested in these two things. Like I wrote lots of things about censorship resistant communication and file sharing and cryptocurrency. Then he decided that I might be the right person for the job. So, he told me to apply. I applied. I got through the interview of one of the board members of Ethereum back then.

And so I started working on Ethereum as part of the geth team. Geth team is the “go ethereum node”. The math is the going theory of node and swarm back then was considered to be a inseparable, integral part of Ethereum. So there was this talk about the Holy Trinity or Ethereum, which is the block chain, which is it the communication protocol, which is a whisper and the storage layer, which was swarm And so back then it was thought that it will be part of a whole. However. So later. Basically, we found that decentralized storage, the way we want it to happen, is a big enough project that keeping up with the release schedule of the roistering client was impractical. So first, we got our project, our code, our client separation. So, first Swarm became a independent client accessing the Ethereum node over some Internet protocol.

Later It also turned out that It's a big enough project to warrant a larger development team so larger than me and Richter. So, new people started coming on board and basically we formed our own team, which was by now separate from the geth team from which it kind of separated. So we started off as part of the geth team, but later we became a separate team and a separate project funded by Ethereum Foundation and very, very recently we finished the so-called graduation process where a swarm becomes a project of its own, still funded partially as a grant basis by the foundation.

But it's now independent and we are basically an organization of our own. So this is the story of the organization. The project itself also evolved. So originally the goal was to store static data of DAPS distributed Web three applications and maybe also provide a scaling solution for the blockchain, because originally so this goes back all the way back to the Bitcoin that the idea was that full nodes stored the entire blockchain. So, each node in the network stores everything which is redundant, but also very expensive.

And so one path towards scalability was that everything is stored by more than one node, but not every node store everything. And this is kind of how swarm births. So, this is still, let's say not our first priority, because there are other bottlenecks in scaling Ethereum, but, for example, hosting the distributed apps web content on swarm is a very high priority.

And actually this is kind of the central pillar of what is called the Web three, because. So back in the day in the mid 90s.

Rinke: Danny?

Daniel: OK, I can talk about this forever, so sorry. Please stop me.

Rinke: No, I mean to interrupt you, but we should also give our questions, for example, David, the possibility to share the start off of the SIA project.

David Vorick: Hi, yes, glad to do that, so, yeah, I think SIA really started conceptually in 2013 when things were moving a lot more to the cloud. So this is why devices like Android and the iPhone were really starting to integrate the cloud as a more core part of the user experience rather than just something that some people used. And I was really passionate about data, and I had this question like, why am I being forced to move a lot of my data onto a platform that someone else controls? Why? Why am I giving it over? And so I was a big fan of Bitcoin at the time and I was like, you know, Bitcoin made it possible to have money with no centrally controlled bank. So, can you use the same technology behind Bitcoin to make a cloud with no central cloud provider?

And so that was that was the question we were me and my co-founder were batting around in 2013. We launched the SIA project in 2014 in May. And I guess that's we've just been then growing from there. So, we formed a company we did what back then was called an IPO this is the pre ICO days where we just called IPOs. We got slapped by ICC we’re doing that it was not chill but we're cool now with the ICC and we've kept going obviously done several rounds of funding since then.

Today our team's about 10 people and we recently launched something called Skynet which I think we'll be able to get to later. But basically at this point I feel like we've been able to fill the vision of a cloud that is an integrated experience that no one controls.

Rinke: And at that time did you that you started. What's the name of your co-founder by the way?

David: Luke.

Rinke: All right. So, at the time that you were discussing this with Luke, could you imagine that that one time say, I don't know if you had the name already, but it would become as big as it is right now?

David: Definitely we imagined it was I think the most surreal moment was when the market cap hit three billion dollars and the whole company was three engineers. it's just a very surreal moment for all of us for like working you know out of our house we don't even have an office at that point. Things have cool as a 2017 of course. Things have cooled off a little bit. But yeah we um back then it was called Bitcoin in 2013. And I think we've always had ambitions to be the next google or the next amazon. But it's still you know pretty incredible as it happens.

Rinke: Interesting. Well thanks for sharing that story. Vojtěch what about you? Since when are you working on decentralized storage and what was really the moment that's that you had to click like that's what we need to have?

Vojtěch Šimetka: Yeah sure. So as Danny said I was at first a user of decentralized storage actually in the form of DC plus-plus. Maybe some of you know we were using it to during university to actually share recordings of the of the lectures. That was quite useful technology back then. And then I slowly, you know, started to get into the whole blockchain and Ethereum first, Bitcoin as well. And then during my work at cern I've also touched a little bit of cloud storage and how they store data there in the grid system. Basically that's some sort of decentralized storage there as well where bites of data are stored across universities or around the world.

So, soon after I've joined IOV labs to work on the project of decentralized storage and the aim the vision here is for RIF or RSK infrastructure framework to really be a one-step shop for any infrastructure needs that you may have in the decentralized world.

Rinke: So RIF Storage is part of IOV labs right? Of RIF. So, how does storage fit in the vision of RIF as a whole?

Vojtěch: Storage of course is one of the crucial components that you need to have if you want to build a truly decentralized system. So sooner or later whenever you have adapts, let's say you have a d5 dap you will run into a problem. So, how do I actually store the user interface for it? How do I store user data? And the vision of RIF storage is to provide answer to this.

So RIF storage is actually a protocol that is allowing developers to use a third-party storage decentralized storage solutions and seamlessly integrate and be able to move from one system to another as it suits their needs.

Rinke: Cool well very interesting! Thanks for that. So, Saswata did you also got interested in decentralized storage just from your own interest or was it related to blockchain? You're muted you're talking on youtube.

Saswata Basu: So in 2017 is when we started I had a previous startup it was in the IOT sensors and we were sending data to the cloud and I thought well you know and this is for the actec industry which you know farmers they don't know technology and their only income as food and that this would be a very nice way to have an additional source of income if they provide sensor data and there's also, you know, carbon credits to get. So, there are a lot of aspects of things that they could do if they can send this data to the cloud and be usable by somebody else and they can market it and additional revenue they can generate.

But there wasn't a blockchain around That was fast enough for that kind of activity and at an enterprise scale. And I come from an enterprise background. I mean all my life had been within the enterprise. So, when Ethereum, you know, we looked at Ethereum in 2017 we wanted to use it. So, we couldn’t. So we started from scratch and we looked at SIA, by the way, as well and I think at that point you were still early on so we said “okay let's start with the clean slate and develop something from ground up”. And we did the blockchain layer. So I met up with a professor at San Jose state and this professor was interesting he went to Switzerland and studied cryptocurrency this was in 2013.

And he knew about all these aspects because there were very few people in the west coast that knew about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. So, we really hit it off and he was my co-founder and we started this project in 2017. We raised quite a bit of money through pre-sale we didn't have an ICO. And then we basically hunkered down and worked on the project there was a lot of work to be done. We worked on the blockchain which was very difficult we took the definity protocol and modified it to what we wanted to be a little bit faster and for enterprise need. And then develop storage protocol from scratch, you know.

This is something that Tom basically innovated on. He's a securities expert and he really you know invented that protocol. And basically we did you know we have been working for last three years. There has been some changes tips because of the dips in the crypto market but we have been plugging on. And we have focused now more on the GDPR and CCPA market for the enterprise. We think there's a sweet spot where we can address very effectively. Of course the crypto market you know as all these projects come along which is a good thing to have, they need somewhere to store the data they could store it on AWS but we offer a total decentralized obviously solution, the transparency and all the benefits of decentralization. But also we actually can do better performance than AWS so that's something we can showcase. And also the aspects of privacy rights, because I think most startups now whether you're a crypto startup or a regular startup have to worry about GDPR and CCPA compliance anyway so why not have it? set up from the beginning.

Rinke: Cool very interesting and thanks for sharing that. So, that's actually a very nice bridge to the next question which I would like to ask because what I'm hearing from you is that it is specifically geared towards enterprise development. Where, correct me if I'm wrong David and also Danny and Vojtech.

I have the idea from your stories your project mostly aiming to the consumer market or at least also the consumer market. This is generally something which I think if somebody comes into “okay I want to use decentralized storage” and goes on google and going to figure out what is out there. And most likely swarm will pop up SIA I think all of those projects here will pop up some others as well. But can we in this panel right now maybe collaboratively figure out what are the differences at least between these projects here maybe even analyzing other projects which are around?
And how would you give such a person which is new wants to use decentralized storage? How would you give him advice on what projects to use and which one maybe not? Please, anybody can start?

Saswata: So if I may. I think they should try them all. I think they'll have probably benefits. It depends really on the use case. Like if you're doing very short or small data maybe that's not we are probably not the platform of choice because our block size is 64 kb so if you're doing like chats and stuff maybe you use something else. But if you're using 4f very fast like.. We have a zerobox app which is a consumer it's like a dropbox app but it's a personal cloud.

So you can say it's a consumer oriented, but it's really geared toward consumer teams and in enterprises or businesses. And that needs to be fast and so that, you know, if for that kind of application we think we are a very good platform. If developers wants configuration then we give them a lot of choice. we have SIA built into the protocol. So I think it should try out everything out there. I think there are a couple of other projects that are not on the panel here like file point and storage they should try that out as well.

Rinke: So David do you agree? Try them all out or would you do a different strategy?

David: I'm certainly not against experimentation. I can say that on our end, our big focus, is more on web3 and also on extreme ease of use. So we've spent a lot of time especially with the release of Skynet really refining the onboarding experience for users. So you can upload your first file. If you've never heard of Skynet before, you can upload your first file in about 15 seconds you just you go to the website you click the upload button. And we have for developers we have STK a that you know and if you're using say python. It's import Skynet upload and you've just integrated Skynet into your application so it's two lines of code. Our prominent, our most prominent library would be javascript.

So really Skynet's aimed at web app development. And So, in the same way that you can just go to sky.net and start uploading files. sky.net slash h slash wakio and that's a blogging platform that's hosted entirely on Skynet. So I think our focus is really on I would say web3 and giving this decentralized platform for people to make the next you know the next medium the next YouTube the next Twitter

Rinke: okay

David: And I think yeah for us it's all about just making it as painless as possible for users and developers to onboard.

Rinke: All right. So you say that actually the most distinctive feature for the user is probably the usability, right?

David: Yeah

Rinke: Okay. So, Danny or whatever, do you think there are different features which you should take care of when choosing such a platform?

Daniel: So I believe that decentralized storage is actually a fairly big state, a fairly big space and there's a lot of room for specialization. Because if you think about it storing data is not enough it also needs to be delivered. For example, if there's some piece of popular content that lots of users want to access at the same time, then you're facing a problem which is very different from the problem of storing. Also even storing as such if you're storing again something that everybody wants to download and whether it's a long video file that anybody can wait for hours to download it and then play it is very different from whether you want to store. Like static web content and little you know PNG files which are the decorations of web pages where you just want to be as fast as possible. Or if you're storing somebody's encrypted backup which nobody except the uploader ever wants to download and probably even the uploader doesn't want to download they just need it to be there in case.

David: You know, something major happens. So, these are all very different aspects of storage. So storage is really a very large design space and I believe that all projects can have a part of that pie. And I think that at this early stage when there's no go-to solution what every project does, certainly all of the present ones and the ones already mentioned do that, that they all focus on something to be really good at. But they also develop all the other parts because we cannot afford to critically depend on other projects that are still in their infancy. For, you know, just in order not to fail together. But I believe, my vision of the future, is that hopefully many of our projects will succeed and there will be some sort of specialization and there will also be some sort of compatibility.

So, for example, I can very well imagine that swarm will be more about censorship resistance story storage and incentivization of storage as such and you know content delivery search, lookup indexing, databases, all these things will be accessed through some other projects. But in the back end maybe the data itself will be stored in swarm. Or you know one project can use the other one as a archival solution. So I think that now we're all in our infancy and we all kind of try to do everything. But eventually I believe that there will be more specialization and more differentiation in this space. And I think I will second the speakers before me that experimentation and trying everything out is definitely the way to go for new projects and startups.

And I would advise against like relying critically on any one of these solutions that we're developing just because there's, you know, some other one might be a better solution or you know the timelines of these problems might not be aligned with your startups timeline. And I think that because in this space, in the decentralized space, open source is the way of doing things. I think that migration is not as big a deal as in the centralized world. I think that's what I wanted to say.

Well I can only second everything that you guys have said. Maybe one word of advice would be to first understand what your solution really needs. Does it need to be like heavily decentralized? Heavily censorship resistant? If so, then maybe I would go towards a protocol like swarm. Does it have a big uh blobs of data that, you know, you want to serve fast? Maybe then SIA, IPFS, those are your options? Or is it something where you want to archive this data for a long time? Then you know you can start thinking of protocols like our wave that are doing exactly that.

Rinke: But this what you just say Vojtěch. I think is very valuable because I can imagine that just somebody just joining like a ton of projects out there and they all seemingly do the same and I think what you just say there that's good. Is there any place where you learned this or is this just experience speaking?

Vojtěch: So, this comes down from the experimentation because I have a little bit of an advantage. Because when building the RIF storage protocol the idea is that we work with third-party storage solutions. And we unified the interface and we make it very easy for people to hop from one storage solution to another based on their needs.

Rinke: So, with rest storage you can actually try out the different projects out there

Vojtěch: Yeah- Right now you can try the swarm and you can try the IPFS solution. But we're of course looking at what to do next.

Rinke: Ok. So, well, generally of course figuring out what you need is very important and I think this also ties into figuring out whether you need decentralized storage at all right because it's quite a different piece than storing your data at the centralized provider.

So Vojtěch, if you, I don't know, talk with a prospective user or for free storage, what do you think, are they generally interested in using decentralized storage compared to centralized storage? And what are the relative merits and differences with decentralized storage compared to the centralized?

Vojtěch: Yeah. I think this comes down a lot into the mindset of the project. And So, if your project is it's a project that is trying to tackle a privacy and users owning their data and their information then probably you're going for a decentralized storage. Or if your project is something that for example is a DeFi tool where you want to achieve something like just upload it once and then you know you don't have to touch that ever again and it stays in the network as long as it's popular. All of that is something that you may want to use decentralized storage for

Rinke: Cool! Does somebody have a different view on that when would you be using decentralized storage compared to centralized storage? And what would be the user experience be how would it be different?

Daniel: Well I think that the main issue here is control that if you're using a centralized provider then you are entrusting them and making them the gatekeeper of your data. And in that sense there's a third party with its own interests and its own business model between the producers of that data and the consumers of that data. Whereas in a decentralized solution there's a peer-to-peer network which consists of cooperating and competing nodes which kind of make that infrastructure layer neutral. And if you are so it allows the producers of content to reach the consumers of content directly (without) we even though technically there are intermediaries but they're no longer gatekeepers. So, in a decentralized solution if there's insufficient storage capacity and you need more you always have the option to add it yourself. And also if some nodes decide to exercise, you know, filtering or censorship or anything like that then other nodes might disagree and see it as an opportunity to step in and provide that storage regardless.

So I think that it's the disintermediation which is the key advantage of decentralization. And this is why we have blockchains for financial transactions and this is why we're developing decentralized storage solutions.

Rinke: All right so, David this intermediation, do you agree with that and if you agree with that in your opinion does this come at a cost or is it a free lunch?

David: So, I would say always decentralize. When you use centralized technology you essentially give someone else the power to take something away from you. And I think that much of corporate americana is built around the idea of getting consumers what, you know, whether it's enterprise level or consumer level just getting others to depend on your product and then leveraging the fact that they can't live without your product to extract value from them. And you know this is often called vendor lock-in or building a moat. And honestly I think it's just a very distasteful way for a country to be built.

When you decentralize you give the power to yourself and it means that your technology costs exactly as much as it's supposed to it. It can't be there's no company standing over you say like amazon or maybe more relevant Facebook saying that “if you if you don't agree to these updated terms of service you know you can't talk to your friends anymore”. And I think that in storage it's just as important as well.

In terms of free lunch I can tell you know we feel the cost in the sense that it's much more challenging to build a decentralized storage platform than it is to build a centralized platform. If we had done this all with centralized servers. I think we'd have gotten as far as we are today in like six months. it's been six years so or I guess we're coming up on seven years. So, you know, I feel the cost there but, in the end, I think you know once all the work is done consumers should actually have a better experience. It should be lower cost it should be competitive you know in terms of speeds.

And then I think it can be global in a way that centralized technology cannot. For example, android does not integrate with icloud. Icloud does not play nice with other clouds whereas if everything is on the decentralized web it's all open and you can have every platform kind of share the same data space. And so, I think that is a huge win for consumers. So I do, you know, I do think that's it's a tough road that we have to go down. But I think that once we go down and we end up in just across the board a much better place as a society.

Rinke: All right, thank you. So, Saswata, what is your opinion on this question? And you're muted on YouTube.

Saswata: I kind of second what David and Daniel said. It's obviously you want to give users the control, the ownership of data. And one of the things now the corporations are kind of forced to do is because of these regulations PR. And we're saying hey you know GDPR you can use the there are some privacy tools out there but that doesn't go and solve your problem.

Why don't you leave this and use a decentralized storage platform? And provide ownership back to the user then you don't have liability? So there are advantages for a corporation to actually go the decentralized route. And absolve liability you can shift the liability of owning the data. Like if there's a data breach right who's liable usually is the corporation? Of course, they blame the processor which is the AWS cloud. So, there's a concept of the controller which is the corporation and then the processor where their data resides like AWS so you could blame either party or both parties.

So, in this case what we're doing is basically we're solving that problem and we're saying: look all the data activities are going to be recorded on the blockchain. So you can actually and you shift the liability, you basically ship the ownership back to the user, you give the data back to the user. And we can provide this platform that can integrate with your existing system. I mean that's the holy grail idea of doing this. So we're working on that aspect of the enterprises. But we also have a an app to kind of showcase our technology and kind of get people excited about is what we call zero box.

It is like dropbox in a dropbox. Basically all the data is on AWS. Right and they can see your data. So, in this case basically you can encrypt you can private share. We also have SLAs, we have challenges that are happening with the blockchain to challenge your data on continual basis. something that you know no one does. Dropbox doesn't do. It, you know, they don't store your data privately, they don't do private sharing. So, this is something that we offer to the users and the usability is as good if not better than Dropbox. Because the performance the speed all of that can match what we offer. So, we feel that this application on top of our platform is a good way to showcase what a decentralized storage can do for you. And once people see that, I think they will, it's like you know water (If you) or internet. Right, if you didn't have internet 20 years ago you didn't know what it was, but now you can't live without it. So, I think people will converge toward decentralized storage that would be the norm.

Rinke: All right, so, now let's try to put ourselves in the board seat of the CEO of google. We are five years ahead, all of those platforms launch get incredible user adoption. What does the CEO of google do and do you think that's that the projects which are well starting right now? do you still have a competitive edge against those? Anybody can answer.

Saswata: Well if I may, I mean I think we don't have to necessarily compete with AWS or google at the beginning. We just provide an alternative platform if we become successful that's great. Google and amazon takes notice and they can join in. It's not like that they would, I mean they would have to change their business model, they would have to basically be part of the minor infrastructure and they can have an edge they can say look we have a data center and we're joining the network the decentralized network.

So, because we don't prevent anybody from joining the network they can also participate down the road. And their, today their value add is “yes it is infrastructure” but really is their software now they're putting a lot more emphasis on their software. And if you look at AWS unfortunately they kind of um copy software and then sell it copy open source software and then sell it as their own service. And that is how they're building their service layer. Which is why you go to AWS because it gets so many services that comes bundled with it

So I'm thinking that they will provide probably join the network in five years. Right, Google, Amazon and they will provide the service layer. Maybe It's a retrieval service data prequel service cdn service. Like what Daniel was saying. So, or what David was saying maybe there is elements that they would provide that would allow shifting of the ownership back to the user.

Rinke: Cool, that's interesting. I think also brings me to the next topic which is economics and business model. David, as you already touched this one earlier contrasting the business model of centralized storage providers with decentralized ones you just mentioned what is the business model of centralized storage provider being fender locking and making you dependent on it. But what do you see is the business model, I mean let's say for SIA first? And then the rest can also answer about the business model for their respective products.

David: So I think the business model is essentially to charge money to users which I think is the healthiest way to extract value. We believe that markets work best and an economy is healthiest when value is extracted as close to possible to the point the value is added. And to give kind of an example of where this doesn't happen where it doesn't work well, I'll take google search where value is added by google feeding you good search results. Value is extracted by google propping up some results over others or displaying ads as top level search results. And so, essentially google is extracting value by making your life worse.

They're crippling their own product in order to make revenue. And so, we think that a much better way to do it is you know, as soon as a user say downloads an image or likes an image, that's the point where we charge the user for that image or that bandwidth. Or, you know, if a user says “I'm going to pin this” this file we charge the user at that point. And I think we take a lot of inspiration from platforms like Steam, Spotify, Netflix and even models like utilities like natural gas and electricity. Where all of these are things that I think Netflix is kind of the biggest winner in the regards to something users never used to pay for. You know, internet piracy and movie piracy was a huge issue for the giants and and Netflix was like this isn't a money problem users don't mind paying 15 a month for movies. It's a user problem we just haven't made it easy enough. And so Netflix made it really easy for users to get what they want and then they put this 15 a month fee in there, but it's in the background, right? You once you set up the account you're not thinking about paying every time you watch your movie it's just part of the service.

Rinke: Interesting

David: You know we see Skynet being set up like that. Where users on board once they provide their card information and then a similar to like a cell phone bill. You know if you get a giant bill at the end of the month you know it's kind of your fault but otherwise you just don't have to worry about it. You use it like normal and you will get paid, or sorry, you will get charged inappropriate and reasonable amount for your usage on the network. So that's kind of that's how we're thinking about the economics of our ecosystem.

Rinke: Right. Very interesting. So, you do believe that it is possible to actually make yourself get to pay for consuming the services on the internet which they think right now is for free? Taking inspiration from how Netflix did it? Which I agree is definitely a good example. All right somebody wants to react on that? we have a different view here

Daniel: Yes, I think I would like to second that and add a little bit on the other side of the equation that in decentralized solutions of course there the even though it's a smaller but still substantial group of users which are providers of this service. So we're talking about the two-sided market. When they third

So the challenge of any economic model that we're trying to build on top of this, is to make sure that users have this experience of, you know, paying what they actually use and getting the value that they paid for. And on the other hand for the providers of the various services to get compensated for their efforts by providing, you know, storage capacity bandwidth or content. And I think that creating a market where providers and consumers of various services can meet. And, you know, discover the price of all these things and to encourage, you know, filling the gaps if there's a shortage of certain capacity that's the real challenge of building the economic model.

Rinke: All right. Thanks for that.

Vojtěch: I can only agree and I can offer one more anecdote or one more comparison. If you look in past and services like SMS where you were charged for actually sending every message into this, you know, by the by the operator. I see storage as kind of becoming that. Because right now you can use any other system and solution like I don't know facebook messenger or whatsapp or whatever. But as David said there is some value extraction. You are sharing your data or you are sharing the content of whatever you're sending or in some other ways you are being utilized.

So the idea of decentralized storage being an option where you can now actually choose whether you want to pay for storing of your data and have some sort of guarantees or security come with that. Or whether you want it to be free but with some caveats when it comes to privacy for example.

Rinke: All Right. That's very valid additional comments. So Sashawara talking about economics, how in your opinion does the blockchain of 0chain how is it tied into into your system from the economic perspective? and why do we need it we mute it again up. Unmute.

Saswata: Okay. So, actually yes. Is that so we have an ecosystem where um the miners basically are getting paid by the blockchain. So as they receive the right requests the read requests we have something called markers they send it to the blockchain and that's how they're getting paid. So, we have a pretty interesting protocol in that sense it's all done in parallel. So, the user experience is very fast have a very fast downloads and uploads because it's done in parallel. But they get the blockchain basically pays them. The blockchain challenges them whether they're storing the data and only if they pass the challenge they get paid. And then if somebody were to read the data they get paid after they get the read markers.

Saswata: So, the other insight we have for the miners is that they can um they're decoupled. So their operational wallet is decoupled from the delegation wallet and they can form a pool. So, for instance, if I'm a miner we are trying to uberize basically uberized service providers. There's about 50 000 managed storage service providers in the U.S. Hello. Globally there's probably four times that. So, there's a lot of service providers providing storage for small businesses, there are about 20 million businesses, small businesses in the world. And who provide some storage is basically IT managers the IT consultants and they're called MSPS and managed storage providers for managed service providers. And they all have access to the data centers. So they can build equipment and what we're offering is basically an off-the-shelf equipment that they can get and put it in the data center and basically make as much money or more than if you were to invest in uber and drive the car around.

So think of it as an uberization of I.T consultants or manuscripts providers providing storage. Now on the consumer side what we're doing is similar to what David said with their Skynet. We are providing 0box which is essentially what dropbox is. It’s a monthly charge on the card they have the same user experience as what they have today, probably, better but they have total control of their data, they have transparency, they can see the view the data on the blockchain and so forth. So our ecosystem is basically kind of right now we have both the app side as well the consumption side, as well as the incentive for miners to come in and join our network and provide storage. Because we lowered the bar to entry because we are using off the shelf hardware, number one. Number two is we are allowing them to form a pool and get others to stake on their platform and charge the service. So they could actually especially, if I'm an MSP I already have a data center, I already have space in my cabinet, I already may have a server.

Okay. So it's essentially zero cost for me to put a server in the data center that I already am using to provide service for my customer and participate in the network, and you know get income, right in the form of tokens. Fungible tokens. So we believe that's this very strong motivation for anybody to play on our network and on the consumer side we are making it very easy to onboard them because it's just a credit card like anything else.

Rinke: So, you're making use of the fact that there is, perhaps, underutilized capacity already out there which can be utilized on your platform, right?

Saswata: Yeah and it's very easy because they already have their server, they have a cabinet they're serving their existing customers, they can onboard it. The customers doesn't even have to know where to store it and then they don't ask where is the storage. Sometimes they'll ask “hey where are you keeping my storage is AWS or azure” or “where is it”. They don't really have to ask.

Rinke: All right. So we just got the reminder that we are only 10 minutes to go. So I would like to introduce the final topic which is more law related. So I'm not a lawyer myself, but anyways I do think that this topic is very interesting in particular for decentralized storage where I believe that this is a bit of a gray area.
Thinking about law especially when maybe content is hosted on this platform, which is might be illegal or the platform otherwise enables illegal activity. So, how do you guys cope with that? Shall we should we cope with it or not at all?

Saswata: So I guess I'm still on. So I guess from our perspective we want to be neutral because we want to be sensor resistance. We delegate that responsibility to the app. So if, for instance, our VL, we are a platform we also have an app called 0box right as I mentioned. So, on the app side what we will probably do is that if there's any content that's out in the public so you could encrypt your content and private share which is fine you won't touch it. But if it's a public content that you haven't encrypted that anybody can see it and it's illegal content or bad content or you know content that should have been protected, plagiarize content then we might take action.

So, that's where we kind of draw the line between the application and the platform because the platform should stay neutral and be uncensored and anybody should be permissionless.

David: Yeah I can speak to our approach to the legal question which. So, the first thing that we do just with regards to GDPR is we give the uploader full control over which nodes the data ends up on. So, if you let it go it will pick nodes on its own it'll pick a combination of high speed nodes and geographically diverse nodes to give the biggest reliability possible. But if you have certain restrictions on where that data is allowed to be, then you can pass in a allow list of nodes and ensure that only specific nodes end up receiving the data.

So that's something that if you're putting content out there it's very much in your control to ensure that your data stays in compliant regions. Now where it gets dicey is what other people do. Because it's an open censorship resistant platform so if someone uploads something they put it where it's not supposed to be. At the platform level there's not a ton of control that you know we can't step in and kick it off the network. And that's just not how it works. But what we can do is all the access points which we call portals have their own control and their own ability to block files, block applications and block data. And so, basically we've kind of set up a coalition between all of the access points and they can, if there's content, if they're getting letters they can share with each other the block lists that they use and kind of control data that way. Now of course anyone can run a node becoming a portal and becoming an access.

Point is fairly simple you know a typical consumer laptop pretty much as long as it has an SSD, is all you need. And then you will get full access to the network. So, you can always circumvent um this coalition just by running a node yourself and not participating in the coalition. But I think that's, you know, that's kind of just the line you have to draw. The other thing that i will say is our individual storage providers also have the ability to drop content. They pay a penalty for dropping the content so it's not free for them to do that but if it's a significant legal risk.

You know, storage providers can always choose to reject content not stored in the first place or if they find out later that it's problematic content they can choose to drop that content. And then again, if you want censorship resistance, you just have to find storage providers that are not dropping content and are choosing to assume the legal risk of not dropping that content, which again is something we don't facilitate. but the network certainly enables.

Rinke: Cool. So, I think that's a very sensible approach. You're just to summarize you're basically saying we cannot block list anything on like the on the layer of the network. However, the centralized access point to that network maybe can collaborate and sensor contents. But we should not aim to censor anything on the on the network layer, right?

David: Yep, exactly.

Rinke: Yeah okay. Please Danny, go.

Daniel: So I believe that one of the reasons why we have this explosion of freedom enabling technologies on the internet is the neutrality of the internet. And I can tell from experience that in jurisdictions where the internet connection is filtered for, you know, one reason or another, the user experience of int of using the internet as such is much worse. And I believe that if we read the original idealistic visions of what the internet was supposed to be we see this decentralized and censorship resistant capability even going back as far as the original darpanet project, where the intention was to provide a network which would remain operational in the event of a thermonuclear war. So, I think that this resilience and being able to communicate whatever you want in a extremely hostile environment is kind of baked into the dna of the internet itself. And I think that these decentralized storage solutions are a very natural continuation and really an embodiment of that vision.

So I think that really, you know, the problem that we don't want certain information to be you know to proliferate. The solution to that is not censorship The solution to that is you know good counter arguments, better classification, better tagging, better search. But I don't think that anybody should be in charge of what people can say to each other. And, you know, storage is really just communication across time. So, instant communication covers distances in space whereas storage covers distances in time. And I think that the freedom to say whatever you want to anybody is really essential to the development of civilization itself and the internet in particular. So I do believe that the right way of you know fighting the kind of things that people usually want to fight is not the network layer and not the infrastructure.

Rinke: All right. Goods for something to add to that

Vojtěch: Well I can I can just summarize that from the experience of other storage networks as well. And I think this is sensible approach it's almost never censored or limited on the network site. It's basically the equivalent of trying to block packets in the rtcpip router. So any censorship, any additional restrictions are usually blocked on the level of, you know, notes on gateways where you are retrieving the information and there you similar to house assaya has you have some lists to which you can subscribe and you can usually decide what you are willing to forward and what you are not willing to forward.

Rinke: Right. Thanks for that. Okay guys, last minute is in. I would like to end it by asking each of you a prediction for your particular projects. Where you think your project will be in five years time? And the decentralized storage industry as a whole. Voytek, kick it off.

Vojtěch: Okay. So I believe that talking about drift storage that there's a bright future for RIF storage as it's somewhat of an agnostic system to the storage solution. So if any storage solution succeeds then I believe RIF storage solution succeeds. And I think in five years time we will have a very significant portion of users of the global internet accessing it, especially given that the project is very Latin America focused where technologies such as decentralized storage are high in demand and very needed.

Rinke: Right! And David.

David: Yeah, It's fun to think about I been really excited to see where Skynet has started and I think five years from now… let's say we're gonna have a fully decentralized twitter. We're gonna have the beginnings of fully decentralized YouTube. I don't I don't think five years is nearly enough time to displace YouTube. I do think it's enough time to displace Twitter. I think there's enough time to displace medium and then we'll be at that point we'll be on our way to displacing YouTube and shortly after even Netflix.

Rinke: So thanks for that. Saswara you are on mute. Please go

Saswata: So yeah. So in five years I'm hoping that will be a significant competitor to dropbox or box these two solutions that are number one and two. And hoping that will be the de facto platform of choice for enterprises for GDPR and CCPA compliance. Because every I think five years every company would have to comply. So, those are the two things that I would like to see. And then the third thing is I want to do something about the censorship and the illegality of storage of data basically. And for that we have a governance protocol that we want to basically use. I mean there's a lot of fake news out there..I think David mentioned in terms of twitter being a platform where they control everything, right? What people what is determined as fake news, what is determined as real news. So they are the determining factor. We wanna take that out in terms of a governance protocol and we've been working on that. We have written papers on it. Professor submitted this that the marvel conference was very well received. So we're going to implement that protocol and the part of the governance protocol was really to have on-chain governance as part of the protocol decentralized governance, but it can be used for identifying if data is fake or not and whether this data should be deleted.

So that's something that we will tinker on and hopefully lead on that.

Rinke: So that's a real practical use case which you would like to solve with the decentralized storage in the coming five years.

Saswata: It can be, you know, solution provided to David's twitter Skynet

Rinke: Cool. Danny what about you five years from now? where will swarm perform beyond the customers in general?

Daniel: So I believe that in order to call in order to consider swarm a success in five years it would already need to store a very significant part of what I would call the permanent record of human knowledge. So I would expect data which are currently stored by Wikipedia open street map or the blockchain. And things like that so data of public interest will be stored on swarm. And I think that also very importantly unlike all these projects that I mentioned these swarm-based solutions will never have to grapple with the problem of deciding on some official truth. So if there are some contentious issues then users will be able to find all the relevant opinions that exist in the world about these things. So I think that's what censorship resistance of swarm should be able to provide. I would also imagine that the commons of humanity such as movies that became, you know, public domain. Music, books and so on. We'll also move to swarm and swarm will become this, you know, indestructible and fireproof library of Alexandria.

Rinke: Thanks for that Danny and with that. I would uh like to end the panel. First of all, thank all the panelists. Vojtěch, David, Saswata and Danny. It was a real pleasure. Thanks for joining to briefly summarize. We started the panel with anecdotes on the start of each of the projects, then we went into comparing the decentralized storage solutions among themselves. Whether they differ and how would you advise a user to use what. We spoke about how decentralized storage compares with centralized storage and we ended up with a talk about economics and law.
Thanks a lot everybody. I hope to interact with you in the future.

David: Thanks it's great to be here today.

Rinke: All right thanks David. And thanks everyone for your participation.

Saswata: Thank you very much for having us

Rinke: All right bye-bye.

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