Creators of the open source protocols IPFS and libp2p, Protocol Labs has managed to break into the backup market with Filecoin, its distributed architecture based on the blockchain.
Live from Palo Alto – For several years, the small world of the Internet has been bubbling around blockchain technologies: cryptography, traceability, transaction certification, cryptoassets and other tokens. After the discovery phase, the projects have matured in companies, in particular to ensure the fluidity of exchanges while guaranteeing immutable traceability. But the gradual arrival of Web3, a vision started in 2014 by one of the creators of the Ethereum blockchain, Gavin Wood, following the Snowden deal, and now supported by the Web3 Foundation, is now relaunching work around blockchain technologies. Web3, as envisaged by the Web3 Foundation, will be a public Internet where data and content are stored on blockchains, tokenized or managed and accessible on distributed peer-to-peer networks. On paper, Web3 promises to be a decentralized, immutable version of the web, without intermediaries and built with the same cryptographic verifiability that gave rise to cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and new types of decentralized applications based on a distributed ledger or Dapps. As Colin Evran, Director of the Developer Ecosystem at Protocol Labs explained, “Web3 is truly introducing the rewriting of trust in Internet interactions, including verifiability of underlying storage and cloud computing primitives.”
Founded in 2014 by Juan Benett, Protocol Labs aims to participate in building the next generation of the Internet. Booting is the basis of the IPFS protocol (Interplanetary file system) and libp2p which are two of the basic primitives of Web3. IPFS is a content addressing layer that reduces all web content to a single cryptographic hash and is used by most objects on the web3, while libp2p is a peer-to-peer network protocol “Our team has around 400 people and really includes some of the leading researchers, engineers and developers in the Web3 ecosystem. We’re actually kind of a studio where they incubate and finance hundreds of startups in the Western ecosystem that rely on our technology, “continued Colin Evran . “We are backed by some of Silicon Valley’s largest investors, but what Protocol Labs is looking to do is accelerate the transition to Web3.” Before arriving at this eldorado, it is necessary to ensure the passage with some sort of Web 2.5. This is what Protocol Labs is doing with its Filecoin platform – a decentralized, blockchain-based cryptographic storage network. “Today, Filecoin is indeed a scalable data storage layer, but what we’re trying to do is add a lot of different services, from storage markets to mining, data processing, underlying smart contracts and more. flexibility in our architecture so that it becomes the scalable data storage layer for the launch of Web3, “Evran assured us. Current customers include Audius, Fleek Storage, Huddle01, Inflow Music, Mona (Metaverse), NetStorage, Numbers Protocol and Slate.
Protocol Labs extends the scope of its Filecoin platform well. (Credit SL)
The contest is also displayed
Before we get into the technical part of this topic, we point out that Protocol Labs is not the only company to have worked on a decentralized storage and backup service based on blockchain. Since 2015 Storj Labs has been developing a platform that uses a decentralized architecture in a peer-to-peer mode with blockchain to store encrypted data on the computers of users around the world. Formerly called Tardigrade (this is no longer the case), this S3-compatible object storage service aims to compete with Amazon’s platform with an approach it believes is more profitable and more resilient. Protocol Labs has chosen another approach by targeting developers and providers who own or rent their data centers and wish to offer a Filecoin-based secondary storage service, using the open source IPFS and libp2p protocols.
“Today, there are 4,500 service providers around the world who have 17 exabytes of storage on board, which is a huge amount of data. AWS was launched in 2006. Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure a few years later and it took until 2012 to reach this capacity. So about six years for these big players to collectively reach around 15 exabytes of archived files while we hit that milestone in just over a year. Today, if you scale up the Web3 space, Filecoin is dominant with almost 99% of the storage capacity in the Web3 space, “said Chris Garcia, Marketing Director of Protocol Labs.” We see Filecoin growing globally, but more regions. Fast-growing are actually North America, which grew by about 89% in the second and third quarters of 2022, Hong Kong, Singapore and Slovenia. And we are seeing some growth in Europe as well, because we have somehow spread the message and storage players around the world understand our value proposition and how they can make money. “It is in fact the business of Protocol Labs, which is not offers a storage platform, but provides the software building blocks that provide the backbone of the services of ChainSafe, PikNik, or Seal. Protocol Labs announces no fewer than 4,000 cloud service providers who run Filecoin, but can’t find them on their site.
A proven business model
Let’s go back to the economic model of Protocol Labs. “There are two ways a storage provider in the Filecoin network can make money. The first is to recover the transaction fees. It is the normal way. The second is similar to Bitcoin, they earn a similar reward to how Bitcoin miners earn a fraction of Bitcoin every time they demonstrate and maintain consensus in the blockchain. So today the 16 exabytes of storage capacity are already making quite a lot of money for the blockchain itself, but they can make a lot more money to buy actual dataset storage and get some customer fees, “he said. Garcia. And Protocol Labs pockets a 15% commission on transactions made with his platform with his cryptoasset called FIL.
“Today there are around 230 petabytes of storage on the Filecoin network, around 9 times more than at the beginning of the year and the actual data is growing around 20% per month. And it covers around 1000 unique customers around the world. This is the main Web2 data for major Web3 platforms like Open See which stores different things. Committed daily transactions reached about two to three petabytes per day last month. ”If Protocol Labs guarantees a 20% return to its partners, the start-up pockets a 15% commission on transactions made with Filecoin.
Filecoin roadmap satisfies customer requests. (Credit SL)
Goal: to become carbon neutral in 2022
A word to conclude on the energy consumption of these storage platforms that use blockchain technology, here Filecoin. The blockchain, especially with Bitcoin, consumes a lot of energy and a player like Ethereum has realized the problem with its program called The merge. Protocol Labs decided to tackle this thorny topic from the start and makes sure to raise awareness among service providers participating in its ESPA program. “Our blockchain is the most transparent in the Web3 space where storage providers can check the status of the power consumption they are using on the network. And thanks to Filecoin’s consensus mechanism, it’s incredibly energy efficient to publish evidence on the blockchain, unlike many blockchains like Bitcoin and others. Our goal this year is to become carbon neutral, “Chris Garcia assured us.