Storj is an open-source, peer-to-peer, decentralized cloud storage project based on the Bitcon protocol. It works by storing your data – fully encrypted – on thousands of other users’ computers. It uses Bitcoin’s features of a public transaction ledger (e.g. the blockchain) and public/private key encryption for security.
Storj, like the Bitcoin protocol, does not run from a centralized location. The users on the Storj network store all the data, leaving no central point of failure.
The reason for decentralized storage is to eliminate the problems associated with centralized cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive. For one, centralized cloud storage services are susceptible to shutdowns by government officials (such as the case of Megaupload). With Storj, there is no centralized location, so it can’t be shut down the same way Bittorrent or Bitcoin can’t be shut down. It would be like shutting down the internet.
Storj also seeks to address privacy concerns associated with centralized storage. With no central storage point, and by utilizing client-side encryption, the ability of government spy programs to monitor data is greatly decreased. Data is always encrypted and never transmitted in plaintext. These features also provide protection from hackers, data thieves, and others who could gain access to a more centralized storage system.
How do you pay 1000 people to store your data?
If Storj users are the network, then how do you compensate them? After all, cloud storage services aren’t charities. Nobody is going to give up their hard drive space to anonymous people on the internet for nothing. There has to be an incentive.
The incentive is Storjcoins. When a user gives up hard drive space to store data on the network, he or she is compensated with Storj’s own brand of cryptocurrency. This payment mechanism is built into the Storj network, so there is no need to use an outside payment processor.
Users would be able to exchange their Storjcoins for USD or other currencies, or use them to purchase their own resources on the network.
Development is still ongoing, and there’s no client software as of yet. However, if Storj lives up to its promises, it would become the first cloud storage service that can’t be censored, monitored, or suffer downtime.
Read more about Storj at storj.io