The vision underpinning distributed web storage is finally becoming a reality. Following a slow start, adoption of decentralized storage technologies such as IPFS is starting to catch on as companies embrace web3 and the standards that power it. The latest member of the decentralized storage tribe is dexFreight, a freight shipping company that’s building a decentralized framework upon web3 tech.
RIF Storage, the decentralized storage solution crafted by Bitcoin smart contract network RSK, has been adopted by dexFreight. Documents associated with the shipping industry, such as bills of lading and proof of deliveries, will be timestamped, encrypted and stored in a distributed manner using RIF Storage, which connects to decentralized storage systems such as IPFS and Swarm.
“RIF Storage was designed to disrupt one of the web’s most centralized clusters, with RIF Payments and the Lumino network doing the same for finance by supporting blockchain scalability and rapid micro-transacting,” explains the company’s lead strategist Gabriel Kurman. “dexFreight’s vision to optimize logistics through decentralization offers a fantastic use case for these solutions and we look forward to working closely with them.”
The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a protocol that utilizes a peer-to-peer network to deliver distributed data. As the protocol’s architects note, “the average lifespan of a web page is 100 days before it’s gone forever.” Bringing permanency to the web is one of the key motivators behind the decentralized storage movement. Its advocates include Arweave, whose permaweb is founded on these same principles.
RIF Storage is presented by RSK as a plug-and-play distributed storage solution that provides direct incentives to storage providers and users. A tokenized ecosystem enables storage providers to be remunerated for their work, while granting users full control over their data which remains fully encrypted and thus protected at all times. RIF Storage is complemented by RIF Payments, which dexFreight is also utilizing, an off-chain payment protocol that powers cross-token and cross-network transactions.
“The incentives system powered by RIF will enable freight brokers, carriers, and shippers to be proportionally rewarded for participating in the network,” explains dexFreight CTO Adrian Giannini.
The Case for Decentralized Storage
To its proponents, decentralized storage is the natural evolution of things, and the way the web is heading. It’s only a matter of time, they assert, until UX improvements and infrastructure refinements give distributed file networks a user experience on par with that of centralized cloud systems. Critics, however, point to the development troubles that have slowed highly anticipated IPFS-based projects like Filecoin, and the lack of adoption for forerunners such as Sia, whose decentralized cloud storage platform has failed to live up to expectations.
The best advertisement for web3 systems, including decentralized storage, may be further failings of centralized systems, which have shown themselves susceptible to hackers, prying governments, and the opaque data selling practices of big tech. As users tire of being exploited and locked out of online platforms, and having their data resold to the highest bidder, the case for decentralized storage grows stronger.
The neutrality of distributed systems, placing them beyond the reach of tech giants, governments, and other monopolies, holds significant appeal, coupled with the promise of always accessible data on demand. With solutions like RIF Storage providing a user-friendly front end, decentralized storage is finally starting to move out of the whitepaper and into the real world.