Emerging now: P2P networks that use blockchain to manage cloud storage based on the sharing of excess drive and network capacity on PCs and in data centers. Those who share capacity get free storage – and can be paid in cryptocurrency.
Through blockchain, Roberto Galoppini sees an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: His organization, FileZilla, can offer users free online data storage while also allowing them to earn valuable cryptocurrency.
Galoppini, director of strategy for FileZilla, the popular, open-source FTP client, said his service is planning to shift direction this year by using a peer-to-peer (P2P), distributed storage platform from Atlanta-based Storj Labs Inc. that will be managed via blockchain.
FileZilla, which has been piloting the Storj decentralized storage for several months, had been making money through its free file-sharing service, which is hosted on SourceForge.net. It pitches users third-party software or offers to let them make money by testing a new web or mobile application. In turn, FileZilla would share revenue with the third-party software vendors.
Some users, however, reported adware was being installed without consent, and in general, the advertising isn’t always popular with users, Galoppini said.
Cryptocurrency lures investors and users
By sharing revenue with Storj Labs, FileZilla would be able to continue offering users its free service and even expand feature sets using the native cryptography of blockchain, such as offering free access to a VPN.
“People have been using FileZilla for free for so many years, it’s important to find a new service that, if it’s not free, it’s cheaper than anyone else,” Galoppini said.
Storj uses blockchain to track digital “farmers” who, similar to Bitcoin miners, have signed on to allow an application to share excess network and storage capacity on their computers or servers. The blockchain electronic distributed ledger is also used to pay farmers in cryptocurrency – digital tokens whose worth has grown 240 times since launching in 2014.
Last year, when FileZilla’s leadership was hunting for another storage method based on a secure cloud service, a token technology was key because it created a certain “stickiness” for users.
“For the first time, we’re able to provide end users with something that’s easy, and cheap – if not free – and that they’re able to make money with,” Galoppini said. “It’s not a zero-sum game. Everyone wins.
“Tokens are game changing,” he continued. “It can finally bring us closer to avoid that one-on-one relationship with the end user that comes to us, downloads our software and goes away. In this case, they become part of an ecosystem. If they start using the storage, and start sharing their hard drive capacity or bandwidth, they become part of a marketplace.”
To date, more than 50,000 farmers have joined Storj’s P2P network, which now hosts 30 petabytes of data.