Filecoin is a decentralized data storage system in which users can rent out free space on hard drives. For this, they receive a fee in the FIL cryptocurrency. The idea of the project is to create a more efficient and cost-effective solution for decentralized data storage. The platform offers users to earn money by renting out their own free virtual space on hard drives, servers and high-speed network resources, receiving tokens in return.
The Filecoin network is built on the basis of IPFS (InterPlanetary File System, “interplanetary file system”) - a distributed data storage system. IPFS unites a network of peer-to-peer nodes, each of which stores only a part of the shared files of the entire system. Thus, IPFS provides data storage, and the Filecoin network allows you to rent free space on the computer's hard disk in exchange for a fee in FIL. At the same time, IPFS allows you not to be afraid of censorship: downloaded files cannot be deleted from the network, and a site running on the basis of this system cannot be closed. Several algorithms are used to ensure consensus. Proof-of-Replication guarantees proof that a certain number of copies of a particular document are located on physical media. Proof-of-Spacetime together with the previous algorithm makes it possible to determine the storage period of each data segment, for which tokens are awarded. The project provides access to smart contracts. Customers can independently set the necessary data storage conditions, which will ensure competition among the owners of the space. Three parties are included in the Filecoin system: clients, custodian miners and recipient miners. Clients place an application for storage at a specified price with a certain replication factor on the on-chain storage Market. There they make a deal with the custodian miners and provide him with their hashed data for a reward. Storage miners place files in free sectors of the hard disk, which is fixed in the blockchain (allocation table) with the provision of private keys to the files to the client. Miners deposit a deposit into the system, which they can lose when the Internet connection is broken, if they are unable to confirm data storage. To get the data back, the client places an application on the off-chain receiving market (Retrieval Market) and makes a deal with the miner recipient, who returns the data for a fee. Recipient miners can also be custodian miners at the same time. In addition, they can deliver data not only in the Filecoin network: it is allowed to place offers for free or paid data delivery from IPFS on the receiving market.
The main difference between the architecture of building the Filecoin cryptocurrency network from most analogues is the presence of two types of nodes: Storage Nodes and Retrieval Nodes.
Storage Nodes. These nodes physically represent a space allocated by a network participant for storing information on their hard disk. The advantage will be given to medium – sized nodes in terms of the available volume, since large nodes lead to centralization, and too small ones worsen the quality of the network. These nodes receive payment for storing information on them.
Retrieval Nodes. This type of nodes is unique to the Filecoin network. The main requirement for them is a high speed of connection to the Internet, low ping and close location to the first type of nodes where information is stored. The task of the second type of nodes is to search for and transmit information to the user, according to his requests. The one who copes with it first, and will receive payment. Therefore, those search nodes that are located in places where a large number of working storage nodes are clustered will be competitive.
The user selects the file that he wants to store in the Filecoin network. Then his request for storage is placed in a special list of applications, for adding to which you need to pay a small commission. Then the bidding process begins, during which various nodes offer the amount of payment that they will charge you for storage. This is necessary so that the customer can choose the nodes with the minimum price for storage. After the nodes are found, the network splits the file into many fragments, which are encrypted and sent for writing to the winning nodes. The map of the placement of all fragments and the order of collection is entered in a special distribution table, which is located inside the blockchain. To put the file back together from fragments, you must have a secret key that is only held by the file owner. This ensures distributed, secure and decentralized storage of information within the network.
How the work is carried out:
- The client wants to place his files on the Filecoin network.
- The client sees all available storage facilities and their prices.
- Miners offer a contract for storage, and the client chooses the conditions that suit him as much as possible.
- The client sends its files, and the miner stores them.
- Each miner must regularly confirm that the files are stored properly. This happens with the help of cryptographic proofs. Each proof is a new block in the Filecoin blockchain. This principle of mining is called Proof-of-Replication (PoRep).
- If the network detects improper data storage, it removes information from the problem node and distributes it to others.
- Miners constantly receive commissions for storage, plus periodically-a reward for a block.
- If, on the contrary, the client needs a file, he looks at which of the miners is able to offer it, and then chooses the most profitable and fastest option.
- The client pays the miner and receives the file.
- The more people request a particular file, the more popular it is. This encourages other miners to take it and host it, while offering the most favorable conditions to attract customers. Thus, an economic model is formed that works on the principle of healthy competition.
The advantages of the project can also include:
- The presence of control by the national regulator.
- Pre-encryption (before sending data).
- The possibility of earning money with the help of mining, for which most of the tokens are allocated.
- Low cost of storage and the ability to choose conditions.
- Transferring and accessing files are similar to operations on a physical disk.
- Unlimited growth of supported space and traffic.