Decentralized Storage Wiki

Learn more about the new and exciting world of decentralized storage

Andrew MilichNovember 20, 2021

Most of the world’s data is held on servers owned by a few large companies. If you use Google Docs, your data lives in a data center owned by Google. If you use Facebook Messenger, your chat logs are stored in a data center owned by Facebook.

Skiff’s mission is to empower people to take control of their own data. One way we accomplish this is by end-to-end encrypting everything you put on Skiff. No one — not even Skiff — can ever access your data unless you choose to share it with them.

But end-to-end encryption is only one piece of the data ownership puzzle. It lets you control who can access your data in a legible form. But so long as your data is stored on a server owned by a centralized platform, the ability to access that data in the first place is still contingent on the whims of the storage provider — the operators of any centralized platform could, if they chose, deny you access to the data they store on your behalf.

The Web3 Approach to Data Storage

Web3 and the decentralized storage systems that are springing up to support it, such as the Interplanetary File System (IPFS), offer an alternative to this status quo. On IPFS, data is replicated and distributed across a network of participating computers that work in tandem to ensure the integrity and permanence of all the data stored on the network — even if one node were to go offline, your data would still be available via a huge number of peer nodes on the network.

The upshot of using a system like IPFS is that you gain permanent access to your data without the need to rely on any assurances from a central provider, whose incentives (or very existence) could change in the future — there is no single point of failure and no single node on the network can ever be an arbiter of access.

Given the advantages of decentralized file storage, it was an easy decision to offer everyone the choice to take advantage of it on Skiff. In November, we integrated with IPFS and gave all Skiff users the option to store their files on IPFS with a single click.

Skiff’s Decentralized Storage Wiki

We evaluated a wide range of decentralized storage systems before deciding that IPFS, developed by Protocol Labs, was the strongest, best supported, and most mature option available. But we were excited to learn about how much innovation is happening in this space, and we were impressed by many of the approaches other teams have taken as well.

We compiled what we learned in this Skiff wiki. We hope it’s a useful reference for other Web3 teams and developers exploring ways to make decentralized storage available to all. Check out the wiki here and join our Discord community to discuss — we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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