Will Decentralized Cloud Storage Avoid a Modern Day Burning of Alexandria’s Library?

By Casper Brown
Published November 26, 2021 Updated November 29, 2021
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Will Decentralized Cloud Storage Avoid a Modern Day Burning of Alexandria’s Library?

By Casper Brown
Published November 26, 2021 Updated November 29, 2021

As the technological revolution continues to progress at an astonishing rate, decentralization is becoming increasingly relevant. This is especially evident as governments and big tech companies are able to gain control over larger sets of this virtual space, being able to enforce censorship and monetization without the consent of the larger user base population.

Decentralized technologies have since the advent of the digital age delivered different use cases such as decentralized storage networks which have been evolving since the days of peer-to-peer networks like BitTorrent. Blockchain technology is now providing an incentive layer for these networks, allowing peers to monetize their idle resources and to be rewarded for their participation.

One such example is Swarm, a decentralized cloud storage system that aims to revolutionize how we store data for future reference and recall. But before we go in-depth into decentralized storage, we should dissect why there is a need for it, and what history has taught us about centralized keepers of information. : One of the colossal losses of data in human history occurred during the unfortunate burning of the Library of Alexandria.  

Alexander the Great founded Alexandria, a city in modern-day Egypt, in 331 BC. After Alexander’s death, his general Ptolemy I Soter seized control of Egypt. Alexandria developed into an international commerce center for East-West trade. It was one of the biggest towns in antiquity, second only to Rome in size.

The number of scrolls containing knowledge of history, physics, medicine, and philosophy that were destroyed due to the conflagration of the fire was an immeasurable loss to human history that will never be truly quantified

Decentralization Can Prevent Another Burning

Computing in the modern day is extremely centralized. Over the last decade, a few large cloud corporations have gained significant fortunes by fragmenting existing computer systems into cloud-based solutions. The modern online reflects this centralized nature; when one of these providers goes down, it’s a massive internet outage. Amazon Web Storage’s outage in 2017, Github’s extended outage in June 2020, Microsoft’s multi-week cloud service failures in October 2020, and the Great Facebook and Twitter outage of 2021 are examples of these disruptions. They are undoubtedly similar to the burning of the Library of Alexandria. 

The internet has been completely altered by blockchain technology. Blockchain technology, which was first utilized for Bitcoin, has since expanded to include video/audio streaming, smart contracts, social media, and much more. This adaptable and secure technology can also be used for cloud storage by businesses by using the decentralized tech that comes with the blockchain

Decentralization implies that the system is not dependent on a centralized authority. Decentralization is a subset of distributed architecture in which all participating nodes make autonomous decisions rather than relying on a single node. Decentralization has long been associated with governance, decision-making, and control.

A decentralized storage system operates on the concepts of open participation and free markets. This means that anyone can join the network, and data is replicated across multiple nodes across the network to avoid a single point of failure.

Swarm is a decentralized cloud storage protocol that opens the internet to all by making all devices on the network nodes, preventing a single point of failure. 

What’s Swarm? 

Swarm is a protocol that is a part of Ethereum’s plan for a decentralized web. While Whisper is used for messaging, Ethereum is used for computation, and Swarm is used for storage.

After years of research, innovation, and optimization, the Ethereum Foundation, as the official developer of the Swarm project, created it. It’s a project that uses the mining pool’s storage, bandwidth, and processing power to assist the Ethereum project network.

The network takes the shape of a distributed, content-addressed chunk store, with Ethereum’s devp2p network layer handling peer discovery and communication, with each node acting as a worker bee among other worker bees. Daniel Nagy, the lead developer behind Swarm said:

“As a civilization, we already had a massive setback with the burning of the library of Alexandria. A great deal of knowledge was forever lost on that day, which set humanity back for maybe hundreds of years. We shouldn’t let that happen again. At least some of the information should be stored in a decentralized fashion to prevent this kind of catastrophe in the future.”

Swarm promotes information openness while also addressing the growing demand for online security. Swarm is a decentralized incentivized storage solution. This means that node operators are paid for keeping the network healthy and operational. The deployment of user interfaces to smart contracts, storing the ever-growing state of blockchains or rollup chains, and scalable dapp hosting as examples of use-cases.

Can Swarm prevent a tech dystopia?

War is being waged on a new battlefield. Information online is increasingly being manipulated and censored to influence our thoughts and emotions without our awareness. A recent report from NATO regarding “Cognitive Warfare” states that information warfare and social engineering are being used to impair brain cognition and disable critical thinking. 

The largest repository of internet history and sociocultural trends, the Internet Archive, is also being threatened. Under the pretense of piracy and misinformation, numerous lawsuits from publishers may force the Internet Archive to go bankrupt. If that were to happen, much of human history would be lost.

Disruptive protocols like Swarm may be our last line of defense against a global state of censorship and surveillance. Because content uploaders are unaware of the information they are hosting, they are exempt from any liabilities or external pressures. Hence, Swarm’s architecture is the most resilient against data breaches and regulatory impediments.

Swarm can ensure the free flow of information, helping maintain not only freedom of speech but also freedom of thought. If you wish to learn more about Swarm, visit their official website and follow them on social media.


The presented content may include the personal opinion of the author and is subject to market condition. Do your market research before investing in cryptocurrencies. The author or the publication does not hold any responsibility for your personal financial loss.
About Author
Casper Brown
410 Articles
I am an associate content producer for the news section of Coingape. I have previously worked as a freelancer for numerous sites and have covered a dynamic range of topics from sports, finance to economics and politics.