On October 16, Cumulus Encrypted Storage System (CESS) announced that they passed and delivered the Web3 Foundation (W3F) Grants Program. “This indicates a closer cooperation between CESS and Polkadot”, reads the release. But why does it matter? And how it can influence how we store our data, whether as regular users or organizations and communities? How does it help to make the Web 3.0 reality closer? Let’s dive in deeper and start from the beginning.
How can blockchain become a true net?
Two years after the World Wide Web was created, two researchers delivered a simply better way for the documents, or literally anything, to be stored. Before the Internet, and still, in many places, the documents are “time-stamped” by a notary and stored in the same way they were stored hundreds of years ago. But Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta proposed a solution that guaranteed that no one can tamper with the data stored by using the chain of blocks and encryption. So, in 1991, blockchain was born.
Since the launch of the Bitcoin blockchain, more than a decade has passed. Once an exotic word “blockchain” that could be heard among geeks is one of the most sought-after on Google. Maybe “blockchain” or “crypto” has not become the word of the year yet but lots of interest followed and the technology rocketed. In 2021, the world has a blockchain system for almost everything. One can pay for coffee, vote, earn income or share the artistic endeavours all via various single-purpose or ecosystem-building blockchains. But is it as efficient as it could be?
Not at all. Blockchain was meant to be a decentralized technology backed up by a large number of nodes. Yet, individual blockchain networks are so many that they can hardly guarantee enough participants to prevent centralization. Moreover, many are not open which further prevents blockchains from communicating with each other. In the end, the public are facing an inflow of thousands of blockchain with different algorithms, types and transactions, governance rules etc.
To conclude, so far, blockchains operate in isolation. In other words, there are hundreds of islands where people transact efficiently but one can hardly swim from one island to another without paying a middleman. Until the islands are seamlessly connected, society will not be able to enjoy the full potential of blockchain technology.
That is why the avant-garde developers are working on infrastructure solutions to guarantee the seamless interoperability of blockchains. Since its launch in May 2020, Polkadot is one of the strongest networks that aim to make blockchains talk to each other. In their own words, the crypto company provides the world with a system for blockchain networks “to operate together”. Of course, it is not at all what there is to it. Connecting blockchains together will also help solve one of the biggest blockchain issues – the scalability problem. No single blockchain can fit it all, but together they can!
If decentralized currency is used to pay, why store data in a centralized cloud?
While in future, blockchains will exchange data with each other seamlessly, where will the public store their data as individuals or organizations? One can hardly imagine that the status quo would prevail in this area. In the 21st century, people and organizations need to be able to reach their data at any time from any place without any risks, restrictions or censorship.
With many scandals over centralized tech giants abusing their power, orchestrating social media and preventing the free exchange of data, cutting off the middleman from the cloud data storage has been long called for. In the end, if one can exchange money on blockchains, it is only a matter of time when the control will be given back to people and data will be exchanged in a truly decentralized way.
In 2021, there are already some data storage startups that gravitate towards using blockchain like Sia, Filecoin, or Crust, but those companies are mostly underutilizing the full potential of the blockchain technologies since they are using it only to connect users and storage providers instead of building a real cloud storage ecosystem.
For a cloud system to be truly efficient, it needs to put blockchain logic in its heart and use distributed collaborative technology also to manage the storage resources. By doing this, it is possible to create a unified pool that provides block storage services for users.
At the moment, the market lacks such ecosystems and this is a gap that the project CESS, Cumulus Encrypted Storage System, is trying to close. In a nutshell, by using distributed collaboration and storage virtualization, CESS is building a decentralized cloud data storage network infrastructure that will help manage the storage nodes distributed all around the world forming a unique storage pool that any users can use for storing files and other digital assets.
There are four characteristics of the project that speaks to its future success: solid-proof technology to ensure efficiency (1), avant-garde cryptographic technology to guarantee safety (2), incentive system to reach and sustain the network effect (3), and real-life use cases to attract various market players (4).
The Power of Random Rotational Selection (R²S)
First of all, at the core of any blockchain project, there is an innovation in the tech area. CESS core, among other things, is an innovative consensus mechanism. To be precise, CESS uses the Random Rotational Selection (R²S) consensus mechanism – an improved DPoS consensus mechanism.
The innovation lies in the R²S logic that, on the one hand, helps to achieve efficiency with low gas fees and rapid transaction processing throughput (10,000TPS) and on the other hand, helps to guarantee that the network will be decentralized in order to ensure network security and to prevent malicious attacks. More so, the underlying logic ensures that all miners, contributors, network participants will have equal opportunities to earn incentives.
In detail, one of the core ideas of the R²S consensus mechanism is strict requirements for consensus nodes and a specific evaluation method that helps to randomly select 11 nodes among many qualified candidates that meet the criteria within a specified time window. Having 11 qualified nodes on hand that perform validation and data packaging for a reward helps to keep the transaction speed at maximum and transaction fees at a minimum and eliminate the risk of the power concentrating around super nodes as it happened in some previously designed blockchain networks.
Cutting in tiny pieces, encrypting and being able to track it all back
Secondly, safety does not stop at ensuring decentralization. CESS implemented a whole range of bullet-proof measures to ensure that damage could be done to their clients’ data. Among such technologies, for example, there is the Proof of Data Reduplication and Recovery (PoDR²). No serious harm can be done to the data because it is re-duplicated, encrypted, sliced into tiny unrecognizable pieces and of course distributed in a decentralized way.
Also, CESS implements proof schemes to guarantee that the data is indeed stored at some place and can be achieved by a client in one piece. If one of the nodes that store a tiny piece of information fails the verification procedure, it of course will be punished but more importantly, the system will launch the data recovery process that will repair the sequence by copying missing parts from other nodes.
When each member matters
Thirdly, no system can become truly useful unless it crosses the chasm at the adoption graph. To reach and sustain the necessary numbers of nodes, project developers included in the system architecture a lucrative human-centric incentive system. There are four types of miners by their roles in the network: storage capacity miners, content delivery miners, content retrieval miners and consensus miners. For example, consensus miners produce and validate blocks, as well as schedule and distribute data file segments to storage nodes.
CESS dynamic incentive system is based on the project development progress. At early stages, in order to build a stable network, the token allocation will be 30% from original design 15% to consensus miners and 15% from original design 30% to storage capacity miners by smart contract. After about a year, depending on the network complexity growth rate, every month the network will reduce the share of consensus miners’ tokens by 10% and relocate them to storage capacity miners until 15% of tokens are fully shifted by smart contract. The end goal is to adjust the token incentive mechanism to maximize the efficiency with the upcoming project progress.
“Each node joins the CESS peer-to-peer network by contributing data storage resources, computational resources, or network bandwidth”, shared developers. The token incentive mechanism serves the purpose to help to attract enough nodes to ensure the decentralization of data storage. At the same time, CESS also distributes rewards via the staking proof algorithm. In any case, by mining or staking, the token allocation is completely transparent and fair. All alike, from individuals to strong organizations, will be able to benefit from a decentralized system with transparent incentive systems for all members built on a win-win principle.
Giving data rights back to its creators
Finally, as for real-life use cases, CESS provides plenty. But one of the most up-to-the-point is the prevention of possible copyright violations for all kinds of intellectual property. Thanks to a unique Multi-format Data Rights Confirmation Mechanism (MDRC), which extracts data fingerprints from each data file to generate data certificate ID. Anyone, an artist, a tiny business or a huge company, can register the fruits of their intellectual work and be sure that they will always have the confirmation of their ownership rights. No government censorship, human error, corporate espionage, hacker attack will be able to change it.
But most importantly, it helps to solve the biggest data ownership issue of Web 2.0 and give data right back to the creators. The recent growth in popularity of the NFT, non-fungible tokens, only proves that all kinds of creators are fed up with constant insecurity and hundreds of middlemen that take the lion’s share of what end customers pay for the product. CESS can store all kinds of artistic work like literature or music, but also “CESS is capable of supporting large scale enterprise storage requirements”, shared project representatives.
A roadmap to making Web 3.0 a reality
In other words, we have the Polkadot system that helps connecting a decentralized infrastructure for all types of blockchain projects and the CESS decentralized cloud storage network that, among other things, provides the infrastructure to bring cloud data storage to the next level of security and decentralization.
Polkadot system and CESS are both built on an open-source framework of Substrate, which adds to the prospect of seamless integration. Polkadot can be seen as an infrastructure solution for all kinds of decentralized applications but CESS will be not just one of many public chains that developed using the substrate. Instead, it will be a valuable addition to the Polkadot ecosystem as it can support other public blockchains and ecosystem members with decentralized data cloud storage solutions.
Needless to say, CESS can also work outside the Polkadot ecosystem. CESS does not in any way rely on Polkadot. There is a solid layer of underlying technology combined with a vision of building an independent cloud storage system.
In a more general view, while public chains help build an infrastructure for Web 3.0 to exist, CESS is also helping to update the data storage solutions by solving the biggest problems of Web 2.0 and basically does three things: propose to end the hegemony of the centralized tech giants, to apply bullet-proof protocols for storing data, and to give back the data rights to its creators by solving the copyright issues.
The fact that CESS developers achieved the Grant milestone suggests that soon they will be an excellent addition to the Polkadot ecosystem. Being a member of the Polkadot ecosystem, the CESS network will continue its efforts to achieve the mission of building an open, fair, and secure data network environment, or Web 3.0.
All in one, CESS seems to be a great addition to the series of ecosystem projects that are working on making the Web 3.0 dream come true. The company already attracts members of the global community with under-utilized resources to join an expandable network via the token economy incentive method. Don’t miss the chance to join innovators in building the future of data storage and follow CESS on Twitter and Telegram.
Alex Adelberg is bestselling author of Blanca Journal. He does his best writing on science and technology. His book has been published in nearly 15 countries. He experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training, scientificating…. But his favorite job is the one he’s now doing full time – writing articles
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Blanca Journal journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.