Earn Crypto with Web3 Cloud Storage
Cryptocurrencies have been up and down over the last few years. Since I know many of you have invested a little bit of your more speculative portfolio into cryptocurrencies, I thought I’d share information about this new project that I just learned about. It showcases one of the best use cases outside of the financial space for crypto that I can think of!
The Past – Web2 Cloud Backup
I have a Synology NAS that I use to backup all computers in my house, store media, host Plex, and also use it as a Time Machine backup for my Mac computers. I bought the DS 412+ over a decade ago and it is still working perfectly fine. This provides some redundancy in the RAID5 setup on the NAS. However, should something happen to the house or this device be stolen, then most data would be lost.
I have some files stored across various free accounts like Dropbox, Box, Mega, OneDrive, and Google Drive. I forget what the Dropbox free storage amount is, but I’ve had it for many, many years and am up to 9.6 GB of free space there. I also used to use Amazon Drive when it was $60 for “unlimited” storage. That was a farce as they ended the unlimited storage part after less than a year. Just as soon as my upload to Amazon ended, I was forced to remove it as it was above the tier that they picked after unlimited.
The only paid backup service that I use currently is Apple iCloud. We get 1 TB of backup there for our Apple devices. I like that with Apple we are not the product and the integration with our Mac devices is excellent. iCloud integrates directly into Finder and our iOS/iPad devices.
I was looking at Cloud backup solutions to ensure that our files are backed up. Backblaze was one option with a native Mac app. The problem there is that while it only costs $7/month (for unlimited space), it does not natively support backup of NAS’s. And, it only backs up files that you still have on your computer. You can’t have a separate collection of files stored on your Backblaze.
The Future – Web3 Cloud Storage
By Web3 I mean a decentralized Internet where you can read, write, and now also own the underlying data. Web2 allowed us access to email and social media for free, although supported by advertising. We either paid or we were the product. Also, most of the online backup places on Web2 are not inherently secure unless you encrypt your files before you upload them. With Dropbox, for example, the end-users do not hold the encryption key allowing Dropbox to read the files should a court order force them to.
A new service that I’m trying is Storj. This allows private decentralized storage using blockchain technology to provide a significant amount of redundancy. Each file is split into 80 parts and distributed across computers around the globe. Only 29 parts are needed to entirely recover a file. Storj provides 150 GB for free to try it out and then is fairly cheap at $4/TB. It is more suited for developers as there is no easy to use interface like Dropbox and instead you can use it as a S3-compatible gateway. I’ve got it working on my Synology, but it definitely is not user friendly.
I was researching blockchain technology and came across what is shaping up to be a very user friendly Web3 cloud storage platform. It is a hardware device called Box and is built by Functionland. It is blockchain-attached storage.
In a nutshell it is the first free-forever cloud storage that pays for itself. It gives backup and sync, sharing, and access to our data from anywhere. Photo storage, automatic backups, and other free services. Box is powered by open-source peer-to-peer protocols. You can read the white paper for a very detailed discussion.
It essentially works like this from a most basic standpoint: You have a 1 TB hard drive that you connect to Box Lite. This would give you 500 GB of storage on the drive for your files while the other 500 GB would be shared with the Box’s Fula network, paying for the backup of your files. Should you choose to contribute more space than you are using, then you get paid in Fula tokens. These tokens are what incentivizes people to use the network. Developers can release apps on the Fula network that you can then pay to use.
When I asked the developers if you get paid for actually utility (your shared 500 GB being fully utilized) or potential utility (500 GB shared but not necessarily used yet), here is what they said: Great question. There are multiple tiers in unlocking storage rewards. One is used storage is rewarded more than unused. The protocol is designed from the ground up to maximize utilization, so things like replication factor in a pool guarantee a minimum of storage being occupied. In the mid to long term this won’t be much issue since there’ll be users who are not box owners and they need storage. In the short-term, parameters would be set in a way that the difference is not that much. Also each parameter and tier would be examined in Testnet before merge to mainnet.
One of the really cool features of the Fula network is how you can also get paid by not only contributing storage, but also eventually by contributing CPU and GPU computing power. The Box XL, which is the larger of the two initially available hardware units, is a hub that multiple different modules can plug into. These can be for additional storage or for compute or graphics modules. So then in addition to getting paid to share storage space, you’ll also be able to share computing power. With enough of these units in use, a developer could build an app that could tap into this power and we’d get paid in Fula tokens for participating.
Another potential up and coming integration would be with domain hosting for web3 addresses. Imagine hosting your Unstoppable Domain address on the Fula network. You might have to pay some Fula tokens for that to happen, but if you are also participating by allowing your Box to help host, then the cost would be offset.
Unstoppable Domains, for those of you not aware, is a web3 domain provider where you pay one time and then permanently get to own a domain name as an NFT on the Polygon network. How cool would it be to get hosting on the Fula network?
Other potential ideas would be a hosting for a decentralized Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook.
How can I participate?
There is currently an Indiegogo campaign for preordering the Box XL and the Box Lite. Functionland is selling these products at a discount to early supporters and will be released in November 2022. The good thing about this project is that they have some venture capital groups already backing them so that they are not reliant on the sale of these to succeed. While I’m not generally a fan of Kickstarter or Indiegogo because you are buying the potential for a product rather than getting an equity stake in the business, this Indiegogo campaign is different, in my opinion. The product you are buying will be able to pay for itself by generating Fula tokens.
$999 early bird discount (28% off)
Includes: 1 Hub Tower, 1 Fula Tower (compute module), 1 Base+Grid, 1TB Framework Expansion Card
$299 early bird discount (25% off)
Includes: 1 Fula Tower (compute module)
The Box units are essentially plug-and-play. The Box XL includes 1TB of storage already but then has the ability to add more external drives. The Box Lite requires you to plug in your own external storage through two USB-C ports. Box XL includes the hub and base that allows you to add additional modules as they are released.
For the more technical people, this can also be installed on your own hardware (Box runs on Raspberry Pi). You can run this as a Docker and integrate it directly on Synology and other NAS devices. It does not require the purchase of the Box hardware, although this is the easiest way to use it.
How much does it cost? How much can I earn?
Since this is so new, we don’t know exactly what the costs will be other than the hardware costs listed above (and it will be free if you install on your own hardware). The price of the storage and decentralized apps (dApps) that will be available will have costs charged in Fula tokens. We do know that online backup will be free if you contribute your own storage space. Also, you’ll be able to pay for dApps by contributing CPU or GPU computing power.
Functionland has a storage reward simulation on their website. This takes certain assumptions around the price performance of the Fula token and the growth of the network to show you expected storage rewards. I plugged in some conservative numbers and it looks like the Box will definitely pay for itself and earn a little bit extra too that I’ll be able to spend on the future dApps.
Future reward simulations may also be able to take into account the Fula tokens that can be earned by not just contributing storage space but also by contributing CPU and GPU computation power.
I’m very excited to see what kinds of applications web3 developers will be make for this system.
I’ve always been bullish on the potential of crypto to revolutionize the financial space with its ability to validate transactions and decrease settlement time, but this is the first time that I’m really excited by the potential of Web3. The decentralized future looks really bright.
Check it out! Box: First Free-Forever Cloud Storage Alternative
Dev Community information: https://dev.to/fx/fula-a-new-innovative-way-to-develop-decentralized-applications-dp0