Truly accessible decentralized file storage has been in the making for close to half a decade now. But it wasn’t until relatively recently that these platforms have begun seeing widescale adoption — with the advent of highly capable decentralized storage options like Filecoin and Storj.
But while blockchain-based file storage is now becoming a major competitor to older centralized solutions, there remains a significant roadblock to entry; they’re simply not all that simple to use and there’s no one size fits all solution. But ColdStack may have the answer — aggregate the best features of each decentralized file storage solution, and render them up through a single powerful DApp.
What Is ColdStack (CLS)?
ColdStack aims to become the world’s first decentralized storage aggregator. The project finds the best storage solutions using an AI-based pipeline and provides a single point of access to any supported decentralized storage network.
The platform uses AI to help individuals and businesses find the best decentralized storage network (DSN) for their files, helping to make blockchain-based file storage more accessible and cost-effective. It aims to make decentralized file storage a viable alternative to regular cloud storage by reducing barriers to entry and improving efficiency.
CLS is the native utility token for the platform. It’s mainly used for paying for services through ColdStack, such as file storage and authentication, but also for accessing ColdStack’s NFT features and participating in the DAO. The token is set to launch in May 2021, following an IDO on SuperFarm’s “SuperStarter” platform and a final Liquidity Bootstrap Pool on Balancer.
The ColdStack team has a wealth of experience in data management, cloud architecture and software development. Several members of the ColdStack team hail from Prometheus Labs — the company that built the Prometheus ecosystem of data storage and exchange products.
Alexander Shishow (CEO) is an experienced entrepreneur with a history working with AI and decentralized products, whereas ColdStack's CTO, Victor Nagaitsev, has more than a decade of experience as a software development team leader, with expertise in big data and AI.
How Does ColdStack Work?
Companies and individuals that need to store a large volume of files typically do so through centralized storage platforms or cloud storage providers — which can be expensive and poses privacy concerns.
To address this challenge, ColdStack uses a unified S3 API protocol to make it easy for anyone to use its service. ColdStack’s AI-based pipeline enables it to keep storage costs consistently low since it purchases large amounts of storage from several partners, and offers this to its end-users to maximize capital efficiency.
ColdStack can be thought of as the “Uber for decentralized storage.”
The ColdStack ecosystem is maintained by three primary node types: billing, file and storage nodes. Together, these work to process transactions, file transfer operations and issue NFTs in a trustless, decentralized fashion. ColdStack has already integrated Arweave and SIA, and plans to integrate Filecoin, Storj and many in the months and years ahead. It also recently forged a partnership with BitTorrent — adding BitTorrent File System (BTFS) support to its SDK.
As of writing, ColdStack has processed thousands of files on its API beta test, and has a live demo platform up and running, which can be used to test its storage service and NFT minting features.
What Makes ColdStack Unique?
ColdStack's main goals are to bring mass adoption to decentralized storage and make DSNs easier to get to grips with.
Though decentralized storage offers myriad advantages over centralized and cloud storage, it can be both costly and time-intensive to migrate files from legacy storage to decentralized options. ColdStack aims to overcome this issue with its Amazon S3 API, allowing individuals and businesses to easily integrate its services with their back-end infrastructure.
ColdStack's AI allows users to store files across multiple DSNs — which ColdStack claims can reduce costs by as much as 80% compared to using individual solutions alone (despite its own portal fees). It achieves this by continuously scanning the market to find the most efficient storage solution for each file.
For example, ColdStack’s AI might determine that large files are better stored with one service, while small ones are cheaper to store with an alternative offering — it would then distribute these files to the cheapest service to minimize costs for the end-user.
Beyond this, ColdStack also includes a unique NFT issuance feature, which allows users to easily tokenize any file after they have uploaded it — creating an NFT token based on either the ERC-721 or ERC-1155 token standards. This feature will be chargeable in CLS and opens up a range of additional options for those that wish to monetize their data.
What Is Decentralized File Storage?
ColdStack is an aggregator for decentralized storage networks, or DSNs — these are essentially blockchain-based file storage providers, which allow users to securely store their files on a decentralized network of computers.
Being decentralized, these platforms typically offer excellent censorship resistance, redundancy and improved privacy compared to traditional options, such as cloud or cold storage. Many of these platforms also provide a decentralized market for storage, allowing nodes to set their own fees for storage space and other actions, helping users monetize their excess storage space.
Decentralized file storage platforms typically break up files into encrypted chunks, and then split these chunks across a large number of notes (often with multiple copies). This optimizes redundancy, while maintaining privacy and ensuring there is no single point of failure — even if a node goes down, other nodes can be called in to restore a backup.
There are a range of decentralized storage platforms currently in operation, some of the most popular include Filecoin, arweave, BitTorrent, Storj and Sia.
Want to learn more about decentralized storage? Check out our full deep dive by Filecoin’s Mitch Wagner.