VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Storj Labs launched an open source partner program that will divert revenues from its unique decentralized cloud storage platform to companies and individuals willing to house data on their computing systems.
Storj Labs Executive Chairman and Interim CEO Ben Golub told attendees during a keynote address at the recent Open Source Summit event that this model will help drive economic growth and innovation in the open source space. It’s also an aggressive step toward monetizing and diversifying the cloud storage space.
“Not to castigate anybody, but how much better can we be if an open source community could directly benefit from that,” Golub said.
The Storj Open Source Partner Program allows open source projects to generate revenue when their users store data using the Storj platform. The program launched with 10 partners, including Confluent, Couchbase, FileZilla, InfluxData, MariaDB, Minio, MongoDB, Nextcloud, Pydio, and Zenko.
Program partners will receive a cut of the revenue when end-users of their software store data on the Storj platform. Partners will receive payments each month as long as that data is stored on the Storj platform.
The program also allows partners to generate revenue if an existing Storj user deploys a partner’s open source software. That revenue will be tied to incremental storage and bandwidth usage.
The program is currently being beta tested. Shawn Wilkinson, founder and chief strategy officer at Storj Labs, said the company planned to open the private beta test to developers and its “farmers” by the end of the year. “Farmers” are the people or organizations that are offering storage access on their own machines.
“We did it by being an open project that allows individuals and partners of the community to contribute their excess resources and get paid for them,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson said the platform has 150,000 farmers on the network that are offering storage on their own computers. Those computers currently house 150 petabytes of data.
Blockchain, Decentralization For Security
Wilkinson started Storj Labs after struggling to find an easier way to store vast amounts of data from Twitter for a personal project he was working on. At the same time, he was also contributing to Bitcoin, which led to him connecting the use of decentralization from the cryptocurrency ecosystem with cloud storage.
The Storj platform uses blockchain to handle the management and security of data stored across computers. This includes the use of a transaction ledger, public/private key encryption, and cryptographic hash functions for security.
Wilkinson, who followed Golub on stage at the Open Source Summit keynote, said that decentralization was really the key component to cryptocurrency. “Decentralization is to cryptocurrency what the internet is to cat videos,” he said.
Wilkinson then explained that the Storj security model is like taking encrypted bits of sand and spreading them over an encrypted beach. “Instead of application data in a nice, manicured data center and hoping for no hack, you have to be more creative,” he said. Wilkinson added that the failure of one computer has very little impact on the Storj platform.
Companies or individuals storing data on the platform can also manage the types of files and uploads that are stored on the network.
“Decentralized applications are a way to create a service that no single entity controls,” Wilkinson explained. “When one company does not control it, you have better privacy.”
Wilkinson also claims better economics for the platform as users are just paying for cloud storage and not the costs associated with running a data center.
Storj Labs has raised $35.4 million in funding since it was founded in 2015. A vast majority of that ($30 million) came from an Ethereum-based application token sale last year. Those tokens can be used to purchase Storj services.
Storj Labs has also received funding from Tank Stream Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, and BnkToTheFuture.
Golub joined Storj Labs in March. He left Docker Inc. last year, but continues to hold a position on the container giant’s board of directors.
More pertinent to Storj Labs, Golub also served as president and CEO at open source storage company Gluster, which was acquired by Red Hat in 2011.
Photo: Shawn Wilkinson, founder and chief strategy officer at Storj Labs.