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Colin Evran’s vision for Filecoin

by SuperiorInvest

At the start of 2021, Filecoin was a relatively unknown decentralized peer-to-peer storage service with a total network capacity that barely made a dent in the digital storage space. Less than 2 years later, the Filecoin team claims that the blockchain has grown to 10% of the storage capacity of Amazon Web Service, the most popular vendor in the cloud infrastructure services market. This includes storage usage – by well-known blockchain firms such as OpenSea and Magic Eden – of approximately 239.03 terabytes of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), worth an estimated $26.6 billion as of early September.

NFT storage on Filecoin | Source: NFT.Storage

How did Filecoin become so successful? And what motivates its developers to grow the ecosystem? Colin Evran, Head of Ecosystem at Protocol Labs, the creator of Filecoin, says that a big factor in his desire to join Filecoin was his disillusionment with how things work on Web2.

“It’s still going in the wrong direction,” he said. “A bunch of companies now, in my opinion, control the world’s data in many ways without checks and balances. And I just thought that level of centralization over a period of many decades was not going to be a solution for the average user.”

“I fundamentally believe that if you zoom out 40 years, the answer is not that AWS is storing 100% of the world’s data. I don’t think that’s good for the company. I don’t think the users really want that,” he said.

Evran has taken several side steps on its way to the blockchain sector. After graduating from Western University’s Ivey Business School in 2006, he first became an analyst at McKinsey before venturing into private equity. He then returned to academia to earn a master’s degree at Stanford Business School.

Colin Evran of Filecoin | Source: Twitter

After graduation, Evran founded a startup in the construction technology space called “Yard Club”. Four years later, the company was sold to Caterpillar, the world’s largest constructor of construction machinery.

As Evan said, the financial guarantee from the deal allowed him to focus on a project that was much more detailed. “I really wanted to work on a technology that could affect every man, woman, child and every company in the world if it was successful. So a good friend of mine introduced me to Protocol Labs, the creator of Filecoin.”

Filecoin’s InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) allows users to store and transfer content in a peer-to-peer fashion. It is the heart of Filecoin, which contains three components: unique identification through content addressing, content linking through directed acyclic graphs (DAGs), and content discovery through distributed hash tables.

As an incentive layer, Filecoin serves to verify that all data is stored with appropriate cryptographic evidence. Filecoin storage providers have two primary sources of revenue, block rewards and network fees. Block rewards are allocated proportionally based on submitted cryptographic evidence of the data they store.

There are currently roughly 25,000 transactions per day on the Filecoin blockchain, and a total of about 127 pebibytes (1PiB = 1,125,900 gigabytes) of data are stored on it. In terms of total capacity, Filecoin developers say the network is currently at around 10% of AWS storage capacity.

Filecoin Network Metrics | Source: Starboard Ventures

At the beginning of the year, data storage on Filecoin was less than 1% of the cost of comparable services on AWS. However, Evran now explains that some storage costs have fallen into the negative, while typical storage costs have also fallen to less than 0.5% of centralized providers.

“With this scale of cost reduction, many small businesses and freelancers around the world can now afford to store people’s data.” He continues, “It’s similar to Airbnb unlocking the ability of average homeowners to host guests, something that wouldn’t be possible in a hotel-dominated world.”

For Evran, the new Filecoin Virtual Machine is an exciting technological development for the ecosystem this year. “Filecoin has so far been a market for storing and retrieving data. But what FVM can unlock is a multi-billion dollar DeFi economy on top of Filecoin,” he said.

“With full compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), developers can build across the two networks. We could bring new use cases such as on-chain voting, decentralized autonomous data-driven organizations (DAOs), decentralized verifiable computation, etc. .”

Filecoin storage providers currently have approximately one billion dollars in collateral to store trades and grow operations. Through further updates, it is possible to create DeFi tools that automatically renew trades for token holders, essentially creating a network of “perpetual storage”.

Going forward, Evran explains that his vision is for Protocol Labs and Filecoin to become a center for building decentralized technologies. “We helped establish the foundation of IPFS, which is now used by every single major blockchain from Ethereum to Polkadot. But we also want people to come into our community and develop something transformative that aligns with our values ​​for Web3.” Despite the ongoing crypto winter, Filecoin still holds its place among the top players with a total market capitalization of $1.8 billion.

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