How often do you think about where your files are stored when you upload them to Google Drive or Dropbox? Probably not often. These cloud storage options are just out there in La-La Land as far as anyone who isn’t an employee of a cloud service provider is concerned.
The same is true for Storj, with one interesting difference: It’s decentralized.
The decentralization is something that cryptocurrency users have pretty much come to expect and they may actually like that their files aren’t sitting in some data center that might fall victim to hacking, fire, avoidable networking meltdowns, and natural disasters.
Instead, your data could be sitting on the desk of a college student who rents out unused hard drive space to earn some money to help pay for meals.
Obviously, the biggest risk with using Storj is that said college student might not realize that the most useful feature of a cloud service is that the data is theoretically available 24/7/365 and shut down the computer that your data is stored on.
He might unplug the external hard drive or it might get stolen. So, as a friendly reminder to everybody who rents out hard drive space on Storj, please try to give the hard drive up, running, and connected to the Internet as much as possible.
The other risk is to those who choose to rent out hard drive space on Storj. People who choose to do this could inadvertently be providing encrypted storage for shady types who use the Dark Web for illegal activities.
This basically means that owners of hard drives should be wary of any situation in which their computers and peripherals might be searched by authorities.
The authorities can and will track you down using methods similar to the ones used to track down Dread Pirate Roberts if they suspect that your computer is being used for illegal activity.
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If these risks sound like something you can live with, though, Storj does have some possible benefits.
Entities that are interested in renting cloud storage but don’t want to locked into paying for gigabytes that they aren’t going to use can customize their own service package for as little as $0.015 per gigabyte per month and only pay for the storage they need.
There’s no setup fees and no minimum usage. If an individual is just going to store a few Excel spreadsheets on Storj, that individual can pay for as little as one gigabyte.
The benefit to the owners of hard drives is that their unused hard drive space need not be what economists call an “idle asset.” My new Windows laptop came with a one terabyte hard drive and I don’t intend to do a ton with it beyond handle a few things that Linux isn’t equipped to handle yet. So it’s not like I’ll lose much if I uninstall some of the included games and useless apps that come with Windows 10, carve out a modest partition to rent out on Storj, and earn some crypto.
The good part is that the GUI for actually renting out your hard drive space is actually pretty easy to install and use. The really weird part is that the actual Storj “wallet” is a separate thing and this is not easy to find outside of using Parity, Mist, or MyEtherWallet. This implies that Storj is built on Ethereum.
If you can live with that, it’s up to you where you’d prefer that files be saved when somebody uses your rented hard drive space. Then it’s up to you how much of your unused space that you’d prefer to rent out.
The Storj GUI can automatically detect how much hard drive space you actually have available. Once you have your partition set up and online, you can delete or pause it at any time. (Make sure you’re doing this on a laptop that’s pretty reliable and won’t freeze. I was testing this on my clunker laptop.)
So the bottom line is that Storj can function pretty much like a decentralized cloud storage option for organizations that might have had a poor experience with a centralized datacenter.
It can also be useful for people who have unused hard drive space that they’d rather not see go to waste as a potential income-earning asset. You probably won’t be buying an eight-terabyte external hard drive specifically so that you can rent it out on Storj, but it could earn you some lunch money if you’re a broke college student and you don’t mind ShapeShifting it to a currency that you can load onto a debit card.
Thanks for reading!
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