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Storj is a distributed cloud storage platform that connects users needing to store files with others that have excess hard drive space available. The project aims to provide a more secure and efficient model compared to existing centralized services by using techniques like clientside encryption and sharding. The network relies on two open source applications: StorjShare and Bridge. StorjShare allows users, known as farmers, to rent out excess storage space while Bridge is the application used by those that wish to purchase this space. Transactions are completed using the STORJ token but, the platform has the flexibility to use other payment methods like bitcoin, ether, or fiat currencies. By distributing file storage across a diverse set of nodes, Storj believes the platform can reduce impacts from infrastructure failures, security breaches, and unauthorized access while also adding censorship resistance and lower costs.
The core technology of Storj is a peer-to-peer smart contract system that allows users to exchange computer storage for payment. “Clients” on the network purchase excess hard drive space from “farmers,” that set prices for their services via the StorjShare application. Payments are made in STORJ tokens which are used for micropayments between clients and farmers as well as for other network services. To ensure privacy files are encrypted on the client-side before upload and split into smaller portions, known as shards, and spread across the network. Clients maintain the only copy of the encryption key after upload. Over the duration of a contract, the protocol allows clients to check that a farmer still maintains their file and that it is retrievable. If a farmer is able to provide cryptographic proof that a file is on their system they receive payment for that period. If they are unable to provide this proof the client does not pay. These ongoing audits are referred to as a “heartbeat.”
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