Why should I store my data in the blockchain?
“Everybody has secrets. So, if I store my data, am I the only one who will see it…?”
Data storage is a complex issue since data is solely the owner’s personal property and that of no one else. However, most of the data we are storing today is also accessible by third parties without us even knowing. This does not automatically imply that we will, without a doubt, be worse off if we choose to store data through a service provider, but the security level of current solutions is lagging behind the potential that the blockchain would be able to deliver.
Just like any other technological innovation, the blockchain also needs to face the currently dominant economic approach. My personal belief is that most changes that have taken place over the past 10 years are not contributing to the economic increase of technology. Of course, there are some exceptions, but most of them provide solutions that can easily be taken care of by already existing business processes.
This is why you shouldn’t be surprised if you come across leading technological corporations offering blockchain service solutions that favor their current infrastructure since this is what the protection of their business interest requires. However, the situation may not be so obvious. Why doesn’t the market shift and start heading more towards on-chain data storage? Is what you hear through the media really the basis of the slowing factors that pull the market back? Is cost-efficiency, in fact, the most important aspect or should we be looking for the problem in capabilities?
If we have a look at the hottest topic of the past 3–4 years, it’s evident that it has been all about Ethereum. The whole world was expecting Ethereum’s smart contracts to deliver a global breakthrough in the widespread utilization of blockchain technology. These objectives were based on the smart contracts created by Ethereum. So, here comes the question of what the Ethereum smart contracts are good for? If we wanted to really simplify this question, the answer would become very straightforward: It is best for generating tokens.
The question, when it comes to tokens, is how much has this “technology” contributed to the advancement of the market? Many projects start to build their foundations on an Ethereum basis, and all of these projects set the off-chain based data storage system as their primary intention. Is it because this is the right direction, or is it because this is the only solution that can be achieved on an Ethereum basis? Obviously, this matter is not as simple as it sounds, but one thing is very clear: the Ethereum-based approach does not carry as many benefits as most of you might imagine. This, of course, does not mean that Ethereum is inadequate, but what it does mean is that it is not as superior as most people would believe.
Those platforms that offer off-chain services are not very different from the current data storage solutions. The blockchain obviously provides the transparency of the system, but it adds nothing to data storage in terms of safety/security. With such an approach, it is rather marketing that increases instead of what would really matter, i.e., technological value. I also need to add that all of this does not necessarily signify that off-chain data storage is of no use. It is evident that, in many cases, storing data off-chain is sufficient, but what about those cases where it is not sufficient enough?
If we actually want our data to be accessible only by us, we need to opt for the on-chain data storage instead of its off-chain counterpart. Just like any other technology, this one will also have its own, specific development cycle. There are several fields today, where on-chain based data storage would already be in demand, and the only reason it still has not happened is the incapability of overcoming the technological constraints that accompany blockchains.
In summary, the demand is there, but the knowledge is missing. Hence, promoting off-chain seems to be an easier option to turn to. Naivety aside, I am aware that the challenges of on-chain are far more significant than mere security and access. “Perpetual” data storage comes with different types of costs. However, I do not think this inconvenience is so substantial that developments should be completely avoided.
Fortunately, the ILCoin Development Team is not afraid of facing challenges. The objective of the team is crystal clear since the Decentralized Cloud Blockchain (DCB) is, indeed, a solution that allows for storing data on-chain. This sort of data storage will provide different services to people who want to avoid third-party access. As you would expect, this technology, just like any other, will have to encounter legal and social obstacles. Also — just like in the case of any other outstanding idea of the past — the whole of society will also have to measure up to this challenge. However, one thing is for sure, the project that solves the problems associated with on-chain data storage first will earn their place in the history books forever.