Startup Storj Rethinks Object Storage with Their Open Source Network

Storj has a master plan. Not just any kind of master plan, a four-stage master plan that will take their storage platform to the next level. Their vision for the future is reflected in their name as well. The startup was named after Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell’s StorJ concept, a cloud storage system run by trustless autonomous AIs.

Their decentralized end-to-end encrypted object storage is disrupting the cloud storage market by giving you the security and transparency you need. The leadership team, comprised of Shawn Wilkinson, Tome Boshevski, James Prestwich and John Quinn, is now ramping up to pitch their solution at this week’s Venture Atlanta.

“We are delighted to present at Venture Atlanta,” says Quinn, founder and Chief Development Officer. “We look forward to sharing our decentralized vision of object storage with the audience and we hope that developers and enterprise customers will give our network a shot after hearing about us.”

Storj talked to Hypepotamus about what makes their object storage stand out from the rest, why they are looking to automate their network, and why an advisory board may be invaluable to your company.

What’s Storj’s pitch?

Storj is a developer tool for object storage using a P2P network that serves as a sharing economy marketplace between people that provide storage capacity to the network, “farmers,” and developers that store data on the network, “renters.”

Centralized cloud services have problems with security, availability/downtime, performance, and price. Developers receive a better value proposition from Storj across all four of those metrics and we continue to focus on what other value a decentralized service can deliver which are impossible for centralized services to do so.

storj-teamWhere did the idea come from?

Shawn had a college project that consumed a large quantity of data off of the Twitter firehouse. It was quickly getting expensive and Shawn thought, “I have some extra storage space and the guy down the hall has extra space, plus my girlfriend has some space, how could we pull all of that excess capacity into an incentivized, federated cloud that we could all use.”

The name itself came from a post describing a cloud storage network run by AI. The post was really inspiring on what the future could look like with a distributed and decentralized cloud storage network.

How does Storj’s cloud storage work? 

Storj only does three things: push, pull and store data. Traditional cloud storage networks do the exact same thing, but they go about it in very different ways. A traditional cloud storage provider sends that data to data centers that they have built or contract with. We send our data to a distributed network of computers and use cryptography and algorithms to keep the data secure and provide a high level of service. Because of the network is distributed (much like the Internet itself), we can provide better security, privacy, performance, and at a better cost than most cloud storage providers.

storj-presentationOne of your goals (as stated in your blog) is to remove the human factor from your system. Why is that and how does it improve your system?

Take a look at the airline industry to see the benefits of automation. Since the introduction of “auto-pilot,” the incidence of accidents has plummeted so severely that some investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board have retired early due to a lack crash sites to examine. We think that the same principle of automation applies with data crashes.

We want to remove as much of the human elements as we can from the system. It drastically increases the security and privacy of our users. It also allows us to support cases in the future like IoT. In the future, your smart fridge is not going to be able to swipe a credit card to pay its data needs. It should be able to create an account on Storj and use that storage space without human interaction. This is simply not possible with traditional cloud storage platforms.

Storj recently added major players Michael Cohn, Tyler Scriven, and Warren Weber to their Technical Advisory Board. How has this move helped grow the company and benefit its product? 

Michael and Tyler expressed interest in investing in Storj and through that process, we recognized the huge value that they could bring to our company — Michael through his successful startup Cloud Sherpas and Tyler with his former senior leadership role at unicorn startup, Palantir. We are also proud to say that Storj helped bring Michael and Tyler together as partners, who are now responsible for running Techstars Atlanta. They are both great sounding boards for any fast growing company and if you have the opportunity to work with them, you should jump at it. Warren was added to the advisory board because he had specialized knowledge in monetary policy and crypto-currencies that we needed to steward Storj’s token, SJCX. Warren has been invaluable in avoiding pitfalls and ensuring that we maintain best practices as relates to the management of our crypto assets.

In considering the addition of technical advisory members, I would caution to choose carefully — bad advice can be fatal!

storj-open-beta-launchAnything else in the works for the next 6-12 months?

We’re launching our commercial service, closing our Series A financing and building out our decentralized vision of object storage. We just released v4.0 and we saw requests increase from 2,000 files a day to 20,000 files a day. We have several more major releases planned that will bring large increases in functionality and performance.