January 30, 2024
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The Dawn of Web3: Embracing Filecoin for Revolutionary Data Storage

Graham Davis
Managing Director
Intelligent Data

Understanding Web3

Web3 signifies the next evolutionary phase of the internet and is often referred to as the third generation of the internet. Web3 represents a paradigm shift towards a more decentralised and user-empowered web. With its focus on decentralisation and blockchain technology, Web3 is built on three core principles:

  1. Decentralisation: Unlike the current internet (Web2), where data and control are centralised in the hands of a few major companies, Web3 decentralises this control. It uses blockchain technology, which is a distributed ledger that records transactions across many computers. This means no single entity has complete control, enhancing security and reducing dependency on central authorities.
  2. Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies: At the heart of Web3 are blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies. Blockchains like Ethereum not only facilitate digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ether but also enable smart contracts – self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into lines of code.
  3. User Ownership and Control: In Web3, users have more control over their data. Unlike Web2, where your data is often owned and monetised by the service providers (like social media platforms), Web3 gives users ownership and control of their data. This is achieved through unique digital identities and tokens.

In essence, Web3 is a step away from the centralised control of Web2, enabling a more secure, transparent, and user-empowered internet experience. Web3's core is user sovereignty over data, which contrasts sharply with the data monopolisation by tech giants in the Web2 era.

The Advantages of Filecoin in the Web3 Ecosystem

Filecoin is a decentralised storage network that allows users to rent out their spare storage space on their computers. It is a key part of the larger Web3 ecosystem, which focuses on creating a decentralised internet. Filecoin operates on a blockchain, similar to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, however its primary focus is on storage rather than currency. Here's why it stands out:

Decentralised storage

Unlike traditional cloud storage services that are centralised (e.g. AWS, Google Cloud), Filecoin offers a decentralised alternative. When accessing a website or file using traditional HTTP, you're essentially requesting it from a specific location (server) on the internet and the URL used points to the location where the data resides. This method relies on central servers. If the server is down or the file is moved, the link breaks, leading to the familiar “404 error.” 

Filecoin utilises the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) developed by Protocol Labs, who are the driving force behind both IPFS and Filecoin. IPFS provides the protocol for how data is stored, addressed, and transferred, while Filecoin is built on top of IPFS, providing the incentives and economic structure that encourages the retention and distribution of data. With IPFS, instead of asking for data from a specific location, it is requested based on its content. Each piece of data gets a unique fingerprint called a cryptographic hash. When accessing content via IPFS, your system looks for nodes storing the content you want based on its hash. This means the data can be retrieved from the nearest node holding it, not just from a central server. It reduces redundancy, speeds up the web, and can work even if parts of the internet are disconnected. Because data is not stored in a single location or controlled by a single entity, Filecoin reduces risks like data monopolisation and single points of failure. 

Security and Privacy

Filecoin uses content based addressing and advanced cryptography to ensure data is stored securely and privately. Traditional Location-Based Addressing used in Web2 relies heavily on the specific structure and location of data. If anything changes, links break, and data can be lost. Think of it as asking for a book in a library by its shelf and row number. If the book moves, the address is no longer valid. 

With Filecoin, instead of asking for data from a specific location, you request it based on its content. Here, you would ask for a book by a unique identifier (like an ISBN), which describes the content itself, not where it's located. No matter where the book is, as long as you have the identifier, the cryptographic hash, you can find it. This system is much more robust; data can be stored anywhere globally, and as long as someone has it, you can access it using its unique hash. It also means that if multiple people have the same file, you can download it from multiple sources at once, potentially speeding up access times significantly.

Filecoin leverages IPFS to create a decentralised market for storage where users can rent out their spare capacity, making data storage more resilient and less reliant on major providers. Because data is content-addressed and distributed, it's harder to censor or disrupt. Data retrieval is potentially more efficient since it can be sourced from the nearest node with the content, not just a central server. With content-based addressing, as long as someone somewhere is storing the data (and you know its hash), you can access it. This makes for a more persistent web, where data doesn't disappear just because a single server goes down.

In essence, Filecoin's use of IPFS represents a significant shift from a centralised, location-dependent web to a decentralised, resilient, and efficient system where content is king, and data remains accessible and persistent across the globe. This decentralised approach also means there's less risk of data breaches common in centralised systems. Filecoin's unique proof systems create a secure network against fraudulent activities, a feature not found in some other decentralised storage providers​.


Cost efficiency is another hallmark of Filecoin. It offers an economical solution for data storage, particularly for long-term archival needs. This efficiency is a substantial advantage over traditional cloud storage services, where costs can accumulate significantly over time​​. By allowing users to rent out their unused storage, Filecoin can potentially offer more competitive pricing than traditional cloud storage providers. This is particularly advantageous for businesses looking to reduce their data storage costs.

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly

Sustainability is at the forefront of Filecoin's design. Initiatives such as Holon Global Investments' renewable energy-powered data storage facility in New Zealand exemplify this commitment, aligning data storage with global environmental goals​.

Enhanced User Autonomy

Filecoin empowers users with greater control over their data. This shift is critical in an era where data privacy and ownership are paramount, marking a significant move from the centralised models of big tech companies to a user-centric approach​​.

Transitioning to Web3 and Filecoin: A Strategic Move

Adopting Web3 and Filecoin for your data storage is not just a technological upgrade; it’s a strategic move towards enhanced security, cost savings, and alignment with sustainable practices. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Security: Decentralised storage reduces risks associated with data breaches and losses.
  • Economic Efficiency: Long-term storage costs are significantly reduced.
  • Sustainability: Aligns with global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals, offering eco-friendly data storage solutions.
  • Control and Privacy: Users gain more control and privacy over their data.

Embrace the Future with Web3 and Filecoin

The transition to Web3 and the adoption of Filecoin represent a significant advancement in the way we approach data storage. As we continue to generate and rely on vast amounts of data, the need for secure, efficient, and sustainable storage solutions becomes ever more critical. Filecoin, within the Web3 framework, offers a compelling answer to these modern digital challenges.

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