Anticipating an ever-growing demand for data storage globally, Storj is positioning itself as a scalable decentralized cloud storage network, drawing on an incentivized distributed network and seeking to offer increased reliability and security, at lower costs relative to existing centralized alternatives. Storj’s emphasis on user experience and low barriers to adoption, such as the platform’s Amazon S3 compatibility and user’s ability to pay for network services via credit card, is meant to distinguish the project from their numerous DNS focused peers. Storj operates a revenue-sharing incentive structure, to encourage open-source partnerships whereby participants stand to earn 10% of the income they bring to Storj and counts Couchbase and Mongodb amongst its partners. Leveraging an open-source codebase allows users to verify for themselves that their data is being stored in accordance with the appropriate security standards and regulations by auditing the codebase.
Primarily aimed at the Ethereum community in virtue of it’s established community of developers, Storj aims to leverage significant underutilized hardware and resources at the edge of the network to realize low maintenance and upkeep costs. Security and privacy of data are ensured by encrypting data on the client-side before uploading it to the network. One key design constraint in the interest of performance is to avoid storing the user’s data or metadata directly on the blockchain. Storj has designed for compatibility with Amazon S3 in order to facilitate a transition to their DNS for the many users of Amazon’s Simple Storage Solution. A group of peers, called satellites, store metadata and handle user account relevant functionality.
Storj leverages erasure coding to help ensure redundancy of data stored on the network without a significant increase in bandwidth demands across the network, as are necessitated by some more rudimentary proof of replication schemes. Erasure coding splits a set of data into erasure shares, from which any choice of a fixed number of shares will provide the basis to reproduce the original data. Storj anticipates nodes shutting down, or going off-line for any reason, to be the major source of data loss on the network - erasure coding helps minimize the costs of recovering this data from remaining nodes in the network. Storj launched its Tardigrade service in March 2020, marking the project's transition to a functional suite of services. At a high level, the Storj network functions as the supply-side, allowing nodes to offer storage capacity, while Tardigrade is the client-facing demand side, offering a decentralized cloud storage service to end-users.
Storj has an Ethereum token called STORJ, which acts as the default means of payment on the network. However, the team points out that the network is designed to be payment agnostic, theoretically allowing payment in a variety of digital assets or by credit/debit card. The rewards storage providers stand to earn via Storj aim to adequately incentivize active participation for extended periods of time. The ‘satellite’ peers are responsible for compensating those providing storage to the network based on the amount of data stored over time in addition to the bandwidth afforded the network. Nodes providing storage to the network will only be paid in the event of their passing various quality assurance tests from satellites, designed to uphold the consistency of data storage on the network.