Decentralized Storage: Benefits of Storing Data on a Blockchain
Digital data is growing at an exponential rate. The world is generating about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, which is only continuing to rise. For years, sites like Flickr and Instagram have allowed users to store photos and videos on their respective centralized servers. Similarly, keeping your documents on Dropbox or another cloud storage service is convenient and straightforward, but it comes with risks. The concept of centralization comes with several disadvantages that a decentralized storage solution can mitigate.
For example, if you store your information with a third-party provider, it can be hacked or go out of business — and you might lose access to your files. Apart from that, there are plenty of examples of data breaches in centralized storage systems that lead to extortion and privacy breaches.
The Dark Side of Centralized Storage
In recent years, the media has been full of stories about data breaches, hacking attacks, and other incidents where centralized storage has proven to be less than ideal. In February 2018, for example, Facebook was forced to admit that the private data of up to 87 million users had been “improperly shared.” The social media giant reportedly paid $100,000 in compensation for each breach.
There are many other examples of private data being put at risk by centralized storage systems: - In October 2018, it became known that Google was hit with a record-breaking fine. French authorities fined the search engine $57 million after discovering that its Google+ social network had been left with a significant security breach. - - In 2019, Amazon servers were hacked, and thousands of customers' data were in danger.
What is Decentralized Storage?
Decentralized storage is a method of storing data with no single, centralized location for all of your information. Instead, it is distributed across a network of computers — like nodes — with no single owner. This means that there is no single point of failure and no single entity that controls the data. If implemented correctly, decentralized storage offers numerous advantages over centralized data storage.
Decentralized storage is less expensive than centralized storage options. It also gives individuals more control over their data and ensures that the information will remain accessible even if one node fails.
Decentralized storage is also more durable than centralized storage, which can be vulnerable to natural disasters and other threats. Decentralized storage also allows you to interact with other users on the network. This helps create a strong community that can come together to ensure everyone’s data remains safe and accessible.
How Does Blockchain-based Storage Work?
Before we learn about the benefits of blockchain-based storage, let us first understand how blockchain works. A blockchain is a decentralized database not stored in a single location but replicated across a computer network. These computers are called nodes (a lot of them together make up a blockchain network). Since this network is decentralized, with no single owner, there is no single point of failure. This makes the blockchain network highly secure, tamper-proof and extremely difficult to hack. This network of nodes is also responsible for creating new records and validating the transactions taking place in the database.
Imagine storing your data on a blockchain, meaning your data is stored across the world in a network of different devices that is not accessible to anyone, even if you do not enter the private key that is used to unlock the cryptography.
Benefits of decentralized storage
There are numerous advantages to using blockchain-based decentralized storage. Let’s explore the most important of them below.
No single point of failure
As we mentioned above, decentralised storage has no single point of failure. That’s because there is no single location for all of your data. So, even if one node goes down, you can access your information from another node.
More robust security
As there is no single point of failure, it is much harder to hack decentralized storage. The hackers will have to break into each node across the network. This is extremely difficult to do and makes decentralized storage far more secure than centralized storage.
Immunity from censorship
Since no single entity controls the data, it is impossible for anyone to censor the information. So, you can share sensitive data without worrying about it getting into the wrong hands.
Cons of decentralized storage
Since decentralized storage is a relatively new technology, it is essential to note that it has some disadvantages too. Here are the most important ones.
Centralized storage is more cost-effective than decentralized storage. This is because decentralized networks rely on data redundancy, which requires extra computation and storage.
Another major problem is that centralized storage is typically much faster than decentralized storage. This is because centralized networks have lower latency — i.e. when a request is made and when it is fulfilled.
Decentralized storage is an emerging technology that will likely see many improvements in the future. It is being used by a growing number of individuals and businesses — and is also expected to play an essential role in the development of the Internet of Things (IoT). Decentralized storage is a great way to secure and protect your data, and it is also a way for individuals to take back control of their data and own their digital identity.