Disclosure: Smith + Crown was a compensated advisor to this project.
Enabling a decentralized internet, or ‘web 3.0.’ presents several core technological challenges. Bluzelle intends to contribute a crucial element of the web 3.0 stack by building a high-speed, distributed database where users can upload, read, edit and delete structured data, encrypted and sharded throughout a network of contributors. File storage mechanisms like IPFS (Filecoin), Siacoin, and Storj are well suited for dropbox-like storage of mostly static files; relative to them, Bluzelle is oriented toward larger databases of structured data that need frequent updating and editing, search capabilities, and enough accessibility to enable analytics. While not formally a blockchain, Bluzelle is a fully decentralized system, built using blockchain principles, such as the consensus mechanism for its proprietary swarm model of sharded data storage, and is designed to be fully interoperable with various blockchains. Bluzelle is led by a team with a range of industry experience, including CEO and co-founder Pavel Bains, who has experience in technology, finance, and project management and previously founded Storypanda.
Bluzelle’s distributed database system claims three advantages relative to traditional centralized databases: performance, reliability, and scalability. Bluzelle achieves this by maintaining data within a swarm model of grouped nodes. Sharded data is shared across nodes within swarms, with consensus achieved within swarms via Tendermint Byzantine fault tolerance, rather than across the entire network. Unlike blockchains where each node stores the entire chain, Bluzelle’s nodes store only portions of the entire database, further allowing for lighter loads and increased speed within the network. Distributed secure storage that allows easy CRUD (create, read, update delete)--necessary for database management and less important for file storage--is part of Bluzelle’s technical innovations.
A central feature of Bluzelle’s database is the way its proprietary sharding and swarming techniques permit modularity and flexibility, allowing different features such as levels of security or latency of retrieval times to be modified to meet particular demands. General security within Bluzelle’s system is addressed by a 2D sharding practice that encrypts data then slices it both horizontally and vertically before distributing the shards in a non-deterministic manner across different swarms within the network. This greatly decreases the potential rewards of hacking attempts. Bluzelle's current network, CURIE is in testnet with an upgrade to mainnet due in Q2 2020.
Bluzelle utilizes two tokens, the Bluzelle Network Token (BNT), an internal token spent by consumers and earned by producers within the network, and BLZ, an ERC-20 token that can be exchanged on a 1:1 basis with BNT to enable the external trading of Bluzelle tokens upon other exchanges. This dual token model was developed in light of the Ethereum network’s scaling limitations and the network’s inability to process payments rapidly enough to handle the range of microtransactions required—users and producers continuously earn and spend small amounts of BNT tokens within the network.
The pricing model for read-write services employs maximums based on network activity. Broadly, data users will compensate the nodes storing and updating their data. Any user can withdraw BNT into BLZ to sell on a secondary market. As structured, the BLZ token’s price should reflect the demand for using the Bluzelle network. Bluzelle supports network maintenance and development by charging a modest transaction fee in BLZ at the moment of exchange between BNT and BLZ.
Bluzelle raised $19.5 million in its 2018 token sale, offering 165 million tokens from its total token supply of 500 million.