I have been dipping my toes into decentralized storage. I wrote about “Crossing the Chasm” last month where most early technologies have to experience to move into the mainstream adoption. I believe the same undertaking is going on for decentralized storage and the undercurrents are beginning to feel like a tidal wave. However, the clarion calls and the narratives around decentralized storage are beginning to sound the same after several months on researching the subject.
Salient points of decentralized storage
I have summarized a bunch of these arguments for decentralized storage. They are:
- Democratization of cloud storage services separate from the hyperscaling behemoths of Web2
- Inherent data security with default encryption, immutability and blockchain-ed. (most decentralized storage are blockchain-based. A few are not)
- Data privacy with the security key for data decryption and authentication with the data owner(s)
- No centralized control of data storage services, prices, market transparency and sovereignty
- Green with more efficient energy consumption compared to Bitcoin
- Data durability with data sharding creating no single point of failure and maintaining continuous data access services with geo content dispersal
Rocket fuel – The cryptos
Most early adoptions of a new technology require some sort of bliztscaling momentum to break free from the gravity of the old one. The cryptocurrencies pegged to many decentralized storage platforms are the rocket fuel to power the conversations and the narratives of the decentralized storage today. I probably counted over a hundred of these types of cryptocurrencies, with more jumping into the bandwagon as the gravy train moves ahead.
Psychology at play
The FOMO (fear of missing out) factor is real. The conversations around decentralized storage are so attractive. They make it feel like it is not hip to be square (sorry Huey Lewis. You are out!) . The water is great. Jump in. Literally.
And this is where I learn the mantra word, HODL (hang on to dear life). The people who are immersed in this literally have a “die, die, must hang on” life goal about this decentralized realm, and speculating fervently that their crypto(s) will rocket to the moon. Here I got swarmed by these acolytes’ messages, responses that literally preached the gospel of their crypto. It was evangelism, but at a level I have not encountered before.
And the zero sum narratives become very real too. Here are your torches and pitch forks! It is us against them! My experience got very weird very quickly.
Reality and sanity
The good and the bad news of decentralization pepper the news now. NFTs that either turn some digital art into millions over a few hours or other decentralized cryptos did a rug pull sensationalize the news more than the decentralized storage narratives that I am trying to build. At the back of my mind “What happens when the rocket tanks run out of fuel”?
I am looking for a sustainable decentralized storage conversation. One that brings trust and confidence into the currency of business, away from the “shiny” cryptos and the NFTs. I continue my research into more reality, and with it a bit of logic and sanity.