Storj introduces a distributed blockchain-protected cloud storage service

Would you believe in a safe peer-to-peer cloud storage solution? Storj Labs thinks you will with their blockchain-protected, open-source service.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Storj Labs, a distributed cloud-storage provider, has created a peer-to-peer decentralized cloud storage solution. It protects your files both on the nodes and in transmission by using blockchain technology and cryptography to encrypt files. As an open-source project, Storj unites a large and growing community of developers who are committed to building tools, applications, and secure by design cloud storage.

Peer-to-Peer Cloud Storage

Storj thinks its blockchained-based cloud storage plan will give you affordable, safe storage on PCs and servers around the world.

This isn't the first time someone's tried a peer-to-peer cloud storage program. Others include Resilo's BitTorrent Sync and Tresorit. Another major early player, Symform, was acquired by Quantium and then shut down.

Storj (pronounced "storage") brings blockchain technology to the table to assure files are both secure and not easily viewed or hacked by unauthorized users.

Here's how it works: Storj organizes a shared community of "farmers." These are users who rent out their spare hard drive space and bandwidth to customers.

All these users are connected over a peer-to-peer network. Storj claims this network "is orders of magnitude more secure, up to 10x faster and 50 percent less expensive than traditional datacenter-based cloud storage solutions."

The Storj system enables users to store data in a secure and decentralized manner. It does this by using such blockchain features as a transaction ledger, public/private key encryption, and cryptographic hash functions.

Datacenters serve as the hub of cloud storage capabilities for cloud giants like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Dropbox. But datacenters come with a high price tag for developers, providers, and users. Stroj adds they also come "with an even higher cost for data failures and security breaches." From physical servers and networking equipment to other infrastructure demands like electricity, cloud service providers spend billions of dollars every quarter just to maintain or grow their service offerings.

What Storj offers instead, said Shawn Wilkinson, Storj Labs' co-founder, CEO, and CTO, is a way "to revolutionize cloud storage by putting the user back in control over their devices and their data. The decentralized aspect of Storj means there are no central servers to be compromised, and because of the use of client-side encryption, only the end users have access to their un-encrypted files and encryption keys." In short, Wilkinson sees security as Storj's biggest selling point.

Today, Storj touts a community of more than 7,500 farmers and more than 15,000 API users worldwide. The company also has a channel partnership with Heroku. This is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud platform. It enables developers to build, run, and operate applications entirely in the cloud. By joining forces with Heroku, Storj can provide developers with a distributed object storage solution with encryption, optimal speed, and easy implementation.

Storj has raised $3 million in a seed financing round to advance its open-source, distributed cloud storage platform. The offering was oversubscribed. Angel investors from venture capital firms, Qualcomm Ventures, and Techstars, as well as industry leaders in the technology security space. Cockroach Labs, Ionic Security, and Pindrop Security are among the early backers.

So, it's early going for the company and its service. Still, it sounds promising. Both users, looking for safe and fast secure storage, and businesses, looking for a cloud-storage partner with a different approach, should take a close look at Storj.

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