SUMMARY

Storj is a peer-to-peer cloud storage platform. The decentralized nature of Storj creates a more secure and private mechanism to transfer and share data, while also mitigating outages and data failure risk. Storj Labs was founded in 2014 and developed a prototype of the Storj network later that year, after which it conducted a token sale raising roughly $500,000 USD. In 2017, after releasing the beta version of its cloud platform, Storj Labs conducted a second token sale raising $30 million USD.[1] Storj Labs currently has 46 employees according to LinkedIn.[2]

 

UTILITY AND INCENTIVE SCHEMES

The STORJ tokens are used for payments and rewards on the Storj network. There are four parties: users, nodes, developers, and Storj Labs. The Storj platform is a sharing economy that maximizes the use of spare hard drive space by storing data across a distributed set of nodes. When users purchase storage or bandwidth, a portion of the proceeds is sent to the nodes servicing the users’ requests. At the moment, the rewards are distributed on a monthly basis by Storj Labs and are dependent on a node’s performance, storage and bandwidth used, and data integrity, among other factors. The exact distribution of proceeds is unknown to the public. Nevertheless, users are incentivized by cheap, reliable storage and nodes are incentivized by rewards. Storj Labs currently holds most of the STORJ tokens, so they are incentivized to create better technology in order to generate more demand. There have been bad actors on the Storj platform in the past, who mass created low-quality nodes to take advantage of Storj’s subsidy payments. However, these subsidy payments were eliminated in April of 2018. Most recently, Storj launched an Open Source Partner Program in which Storj Labs rewards developers and open-source companies that generate network usage.

 

CONSENSUS ALGORITHM & SCALABILITY

Storj is built on Kademlia, a distributed hash table (DHT). Security should scale exponentially with linear network growth due to increased difficulty in locating a specific shard of data.

Storj is an ERC-20 token, so all transactions take place on the Ethereum blockchain and are subject to Ethereum’s scalability and security protocols. The cost of interacting with the network depends on the costs of your storage and bandwidth needs. Currently, storage pricing is $0.015 per GB per month and bandwidth pricing is $0.05 per GB downloaded.[3]

Storj’s scalability will be dependent on providing an adequate incentive for nodes to provide storage to the network. Because there is less security on an individual node basis (a node can simply stop providing storage by turning their system off), users storing data will need enough data redundancy (storing the same data in multiple places) to be secure in data retrievability. This means that more overall data might be stored than in a centralized cloud environment.  As more and more users begin to use Storj, there will need to be faster growth of node storage space.

 

SENTIMENT ANALYSIS

The Storj community is strong: 83k followers on Twitter, 3.7k followers on Medium, 7.5k subscribers on reddit, and 1.2k subscribers on YouTube. Storj is open source and has 70 repositories and 956 commits on GitHub. They also have a great blog with multiple posts each month.

 

MARKET OPPORTUNTIY

Storj’s decentralized competitors include MaidSafeCoin, FileCoin, and SiaCoin with $105M, $257M, and $188M valuations respectively (as of 9/17/18).[4] Centralized competitors include well-known companies like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Data storage is a fast-growing sector with ample opportunity and decentralized storage solutions offer security that centralized competitors cannot. The amount of usable data that is not stored is growing at 31% CAGR and estimated to reach 64 Zetabytes by 2022.[5] The public cloud storage market is growing at 23.7% CAGR and estimated to reach $88.9 billion by 2022.[6] The enterprise storage market is greater than $52B per annum with a growth rate of 34.4%.[7] Storj targets both individuals and enterprises but has yet to prove the value of the platform on the enterprise level.

 

ADOPTION FRICTION & EASE OF USE

If Storj achieves their goals from a platform functionality standpoint, adoption friction for individuals will be relatively low; anyone will be able to participate in the Storj network by either renting storage or acting as a node. However, enterprise adoption will be more difficult because there are already trusted cloud storage parties like Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Therefore, Storj must prove it is better than existing enterprise solutions. Currently, the Storj network supports over 150 Petabytes of data.[8] Traditional and cloud storage platforms support data in the exabyte range, so Storj must drastically improve scalability to penetrate the enterprise market. While Storj’s network may be more secure than their centralized competition, the platform must also offer enterprise-quality data optimization, protection, accessibility and availability in order to maximize interaction with the platform. Storj’s inexperience in the space is another headwind from an enterprise adoption standpoint. Furthermore, nodes on the platform are anonymous and therefore less trustworthy; users don’t know who is storing their data or where it is, which is a major risk for established companies. Storj has great potential as a peer-to-peer network because of its simplicity and low costs, but enterprise adoption is unlikely.

 

Current Status and Roadmap

Storj is currently rebuilding their network to achieve better scalability. The whitepaper for the “V3 network” is yet to be released. However, as of August 29th, 2018, the private alpha of the V3 network was launched. The Storj network has already supported 150 Petabytes of data and intends to scale well into the exabyte range with the V3 network. As Storj approaches public alpha, which is expected to launch in Q4 2018, it will begin accepting external node operators who have applied to a waitlist. For the complete roadmap, visit https://storjlabs.aha.io/published/01ee405b4bd8d14208c5256d70d73a38?page=1.

 

Update 12/20/2018

Storj released the public alpha for their V3 network on October 30th, 2018, along with an updated whitepaper. This public alpha allows companies to download the V3 test network on local hardware for testing and development. Storj has continued to update their blog, keeping the community in the loop and providing high-level explanations of their business model, development progress, and roadmap. For a list of milestones achieved and upcoming plans, visit https://storj.io/blog/2018/11/upcoming-milestone-releases-on-the-storj-v3-roadmap/.

[1] https://storj.io/blog/2017/09/token-sale-wrap-up-details/

[2] https://www.linkedin.com/company/storjlabs/

[3] https://storj.io/

[4] https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/maidsafecoin/, https://www.coindesk.com/257-million-filecoin-breaks-time-record-ico-funding/, https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/siacoin/

[5] Cisco Global Cloud Index, 2016-2021.

[6] https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/cloud-storage.asp

[7] https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS43964118

[8] https://storj.io/blog/2018/08/enabling-economic-empowerment-for-open-source-companies-via-the-storj-network/