“Decentralization benefits the cloud in many ways, and our first customers are already seeing how it improves security, privacy, and resiliency, while also lowering costs,” Ben Golub – formerly of Docker, now executive chairman of Storj has said.
Storj Labs is a blockchain-based cloud service – and what else could it be, too, based on that promise, at this point in time – while a service describing itself as open-source and operating on 19 million gigabytes capacity, on thousands of nodes across the planet, with currently some 3,000 users.
There had been a simpler, though not necessarily a gentler time in the history of the web when the digitally connected world featured decentralized data storage. By default. It's true: you had some data, you stored it on your server rig – you had your decentralized data storage.
What's happened since, though, is that either much of the world outgrew the idea of data stored on-site – or, that much of the world fell hard for one of the most powerful marketing buzzwords to ever hit the tech – namely, Cloud Computing.
(It was probably a perfect storm of both circumstances. But that's just an educated guess.)
Meanwhile, the promise of cloud storage has always been one of less pain while somehow more gain. But transitioning your data from on-site that you control, to trusting all of it to another entity, their technological, legal, and ethical capabilities, whims, and allegiances – increasingly even geo-political in nature – all that's starting to feel like a real problem.
Given the nature of the thing and the stakes around it, it's interesting to see startups cropping up trying to compete – in the case of Storj, trying to provide the usefulness of cloud storage, while decoupling it from the Big Tech hive mind.
Meanwhile, decentralized cloud storage has grown to produce some global behemoths like Amazon Web Services (AWS), and even managed to rescue from certain demise one tech dinosaur – Microsoft – that it's fair to say survived only thanks to a pretty hard pivot to Azure Cloud. Other giants like Google have ever since been trying to get a piece of that immensely lucrative pie.
Storj Labs's pitch is focused not only on reliability behind the technical model – but also, of being “around half the price of AWS.”