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The new social experiment of distributed storage requires not only star players like Filecoin, but also competitors like mirror network MW to explore the path of differentiation.
Written by: Luff
In the past ten years, the trend of decentralization represented by Bitcoin has spread rapidly. People have tried to use new ideas of “decentralization” to improve all aspects of current business models. In the field of data storage, a new business that hopes to reduce the cost of cloud storage with idle storage space and bandwidth resources-distributed storage. The most prestigious representative of this is the Filecoin project led by Portocol Lab.
However, technological progress is inseparable from competition. In addition to Filecoin, there is also a rising star like Mirror World Network (MW). Like Filecoin, MW is a distributed storage network based on the IPFS protocol. The difference is that MW provides a more friendly economic model and a safe, easy-to-use, and regulatory-friendly technical architecture. According to MW official data, since the test network has been in operation for half a year, the number of global nodes has exceeded 13,000, and the storage capacity has reached 260PB. Among them, many Filecoin miners have participated, which is called “FIL gold, MW silver” in the industry.
So what kind of storage network is MW? What are its characteristics? How can you compete with predecessors like Filecoin on the same stage? We start with the operating mechanism of the MW network and look for answers to these questions step by step.
What is MW?
Mirror World Network (MW) is a file system that combines blockchain and distributed storage. It is a commercial incentive layer based on the Interplanetary File Protocol IPFS, hoping to build easy-to-use and usable distributed applications.
MW file system architecture
MW market structure
As a distributed storage system, MW provides users with file storage and retrieval services. Market participants include: users, depositors, block producers, observers, and provers. Different participant roles assume different responsibilities in the network and jointly maintain the network and economic operations.
- Users: Groups with data storage needs. By sending a storage request to the network, the MW system accepts the request and stores the data on the MW network. The user can sign the data and have the right to check at any time to ensure that the data is stored authentically and safely. Users can put forward storage requirements of different levels according to the importance of the data, and the MW system will select the appropriate data security strategy to store the data according to the corresponding requirements.
- Storer: Provide disk space to store data to get corresponding rewards. The depositor needs to accept random verification by users and observers and provide proof of storage. For example, accept PoST verification to prove that the data has been stored in the disk within the agreed time.
- Observer: Detect the data status in the entire network, whether the data meets the security policy, and repair security defects, so the observer needs to be stable online. In addition, observers also provide data indexing services, and can also accept user entrustment to help users initiate data verification to ensure that data is safe and usable. Based on performance considerations, most of the observer’s work is done off-chain.
- Block Producer: The maintainer of the blockchain network consensus, obtains the right to produce blocks and block rewards through competition. After obtaining the right to produce the block, the block producer will package the transaction information into the block and participate in the construction of the new block. The stability, connectivity, throughput and other performance indicators of the MW network have a great relationship with the memory and calculation speed of the block producer. Currently, block producers on the MW network compete for the right to produce blocks through the DPoS mechanism.
- Proof: Provide proof for the data on the chain to make it credible. The proof data provided by the prover and the original data object will be linked together and recorded on the chain, with traceability and immutability. The certifier needs to run the certification node, and it is assumed by the notary office and judicial institution. After they have been notarized, the data on the chain has social credibility and judicial effect.
There are four types of nodes in the MW network: full nodes, storage nodes, observation nodes, and proof nodes. The same node can assume multiple roles at the same time. For example, a full node can assume the roles of store, observer, and block producer at the same time, but there are also participating roles that must be performed by specific nodes. For example, the prover must be the proof node and the block producer. Must be served by the full node.
The relationship between participants and nodes in the MW network, source: MW white paper
MW has constructed a market-oriented economic system, and each participant realizes the operation of the economic system through market cooperation and game. To realize such an economic system, technical solutions and token economic models are the key.
MW technical characteristics
The mirror network MW is a safe, regulatory-friendly and practical blockchain storage network based on the IPFS protocol.
Based on IPFS protocol
IPFS (InterPlanetary File System, InterPlanetary File System) is an Internet underlying protocol for sharing storage resources. According to the description of its development team’s protocol laboratory, IPFS is “a point-to-point hypermedia transmission protocol”, and its goal is to target the http protocol that is widely used on the Internet today. IPFS has the following advantages:
- Efficient: IPFS file distribution adopts the nearest principle, which is more efficient than centralized storage
- Economy: Distributed protocols use social idle storage resources and network bandwidth
- Security: Decentralized storage, with higher disaster tolerance, also helps prevent hacker attacks
MW applies IPFS to actual storage and at the same time obtains the advantages of IPFS in terms of economy and efficiency.
Data security has always been the focus of the data storage system. MW network mainly uses three strategies to ensure user data security and privacy: data encryption, data fragmentation, and multiple backups.
- Data encryption: The data file will be encrypted (AES-256-CTR) by default in the client and then stored in the storage node. This means that the user cannot actually view the content of the file directly, but must view it after decryption.
- Data fragmentation: Fragmentation strategy and security strategy are closely linked. If users have high requirements for data security, fragmentation can ensure data security to a large extent. Divide the data into fragments, expand and encode redundant data blocks, and store them in different locations, such as disks, storage nodes, or other geographic locations.
- Multiple backups: Multiple backups of data are the basic strategy of data security. Copy one data at least three copies. One copy for the same node or neighboring nodes, one copy for cross-regional nodes, and one copy for cross-country nodes.
MW network allows users to customize data security policies according to the level of security requirements. The currently allowed parameters are: the number of data backups and the number of data fragments.
The Internet boom has brought about a big data explosion, and the data industry has become an area of focus for regulators. Distributed storage also has to comply with relevant regulations and regulatory requirements in order to develop in a long and healthy manner.
The prover in the mirror network is just a regulatory friendly link. The certifier needs to be served by the notary office and the judicial institution, and the certification data and the original data objects are linked and recorded on the chain, so that the on-chain data has credibility and judicial effect.
Token Economic Model
The total supply of MW tokens is 1 billion, distributed according to the following rules:
- 70% miner reward: evenly released over 10 years, one block every 10 minutes, 1333 MW tokens per block;
- 12% Technical research: user R&D innovation and project deployment, etc., this part of the reward release has been extended indefinitely;
- 10% of investors: 2 years of linear release, the first batch of release time is April 20;
- 8% Foundation: The part held by the foundation is mainly used for community cooperation and airdrops, and every transaction will be made public on the chain.
In addition, MW introduces a deflation mechanism, 50%-100% of each transaction fee will be burned. From the perspective of token economy, more than 70% of tokens are used to motivate miners, and the release rules are simple and transparent, which is more attractive to miners. In fact, during the time when the Filecoin economic model was controversial and the FIL token price fell, part of the computing power has been switched from the Filecoin network to MW.
The above describes the network mechanism and token model of the mirror network MW vertically. Let’s compare the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of other distributed storage projects from a horizontal perspective.
Comparison of distributed storage projects
Filecoin is an incentive layer built on the IPFS incentive layer, which stores important data for humans. It is led by Protocol Labs, the development team of IPFS, and has an experienced technical team. Filecoin emphasizes the effectiveness of data, and forms a consensus by storing useful data, avoiding the waste of resources in Bitcoin mining.
- Advantages: strong technical team, high community attention
- Disadvantages: The economic model is controversial and the system design is complicated
Arweave is also the IPFS protocol incentive layer, which provides users with decentralized and trustless data storage. It puts forward a new concept of “permanent storage”. Users only need to pay a one-time fee, and the network can store data permanently. The Arweave protocol implements “permanent storage” through an encrypted economic game, and creates an endowment fund to compensate miners to ensure the availability and durability of data.
- Advantages: permanent data storage, relatively simple proof algorithm
- Disadvantages: high storage costs, users need to pay a premium for permanent storage
Storj is based on a file storage solution developed by Ethereum. It uses encryption, file sharding, and blockchain-based hash tables to store files on P2P networks. Since there is no independent public chain, Storj has no consensus mechanism, and it is closer to the commercial application of storing files.
- Advantages: Have a certain file storage market
- Disadvantages: centralized operation, lack of consensus mechanism
Data comes from CommarketCap or related project team, time October 25, 2020
It is worth noting that the dust settled on Filecoin’s main network has brought the distributed storage track into the public eye, new projects are constantly emerging, and the war for distributed storage has begun. Then, how does MW break through in the battle of incentives?
MW’s breakthrough: usable and easy-to-use distributed storage network
The core of MW is a usable and easy-to-use decentralized storage network. Many storage projects simply use hard disk space to mine without paying attention to the external effects of the project itself and cannot generate actual value. MW focuses on expanding the external value of the blockchain system.
What can MW network do? Lao Feng, the founder of MW, said that there are three main aspects:
- Establish an open distributed blockchain storage network to form a multi-chain ecology with various existing public chains to complete data and value transmission.
- The idle storage resources inside the enterprise and individuals are grouped into a distributed storage network, and various public chains, storage networks, and personal nodes can be deployed and operated.
- Build a globally distributed cloud storage compatible with IPFS, public cloud storage, and private cloud storage.
MW’s centralized chain architecture includes the application expansion of public chain, alliance chain and cross-chain. In the public chain, MW is an open block chain + distributed storage system, which mainly provides income for miners and maintains the stability of the network. In terms of alliance chains, MW can become an application network for small distributed data centers, providing cheap, secure, and private storage services for the alliance chain, and can also provide a certain degree of supervision and auditing for enterprises and governments in specific fields or scenarios. In the cross-chain direction, MW can provide data backup, query and verification services for the data on other public chains.
In fact, MW has launched a number of applications in the blockchain industry and traditional business fields. Mainly include establishing a distributed data center, entering the DeFi market, and joining professional international organizations.
Distributed data center
Distributed data center is a concept that has gradually emerged with cloud computing, which refers to the unified management of data centers in different physical locations. The mirror network MW distributed data center is an upgrade of the traditional data center solution. It uses the network to connect thousands of storage servers to form a virtual super storage server; in addition, the distributed data center also network multiple data centers to form a multi-center service network.
MW’s distributed data center DDC has implemented data node networking test operations in Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Tianjin, Hefei and other places, saving governments and enterprises up to 70% of storage costs.
Layout the DeFi market
DeFi is the hottest field in the blockchain industry this year, and it is also a future trend with high expectations. Mirror network MW earlier released the “MW Join DeFi Market” community for comments.
MW plans to issue a synthetic asset MWE anchored at MW1:10 on Ethereum through a cross-chain method. MWE and MW exchange each other through a decentralized gateway. In this way, MW will gain better liquidity and enter the DeFi field of the Ethereum ecology. MW users can enjoy rich financial services on Ethereum.
Join the international organizations SNIA and IAC
The Global Network Storage Association (SNIA) is an earlier established storage manufacturer-neutral industry association with more than 420 members from all over the world. MW joined the SNIA organization to promote distributed storage technology to all parts of the world.
The International Archives Council (IAC) was established in 1950 and is headquartered in Paris, France. The early participating members of IAC were all member states, and my country applied to join the organization in 1980. Later, IAC gradually opened up to enterprises. MW has joined the IAC organization and is currently establishing a technical connection with the Shenzhen Archives, aiming to create a new technical solution for permanent preservation of archives and promote it to the archives (cold data) industry.
In addition, MW’s ecological application development is also reflected in:
- Save worry sign: Based on a small program application developed by the MW network, save worry sign provides mobile electronic contract and block deposit service for small and medium-sized enterprises. It is currently connected to the Hangzhou Internet Court and can be directly accepted as a judicial deposit in the future , Saving time cost and calibration cost.
- Ecological Fund: MW established the first phase of the “Mirror Network MW Developer Ecological Incentive Fund”, providing 10 million MW tokens to encourage developers who develop wallets, browsers and other applications for the MW ecosystem.
- Community development: MW network’s mobile wallet “IMW”, gadgets, block explorers and other ecological tools have entered the testing period.
The future of distributed storage
Ten years of development, blockchain projects have increasingly focused on application landing and actual value. Distributed storage is one of the few tracks close to actual application scenarios, and it is expected to become the leader of the blockchain out of the circle. This new social experiment requires not only star players like Filecoin, but also some competitors to explore different paths. MW is one of the representatives of this group of competitors.
At the moment when Filecoin is unfavorable, MW is expected to win the support of storage miners with better token incentives. In the long run, MW needs to further improve the application ecology and development community, and construct a moat of ecological value. What is more worth looking forward to is the extension of distributed storage beyond the blockchain industry, creating external value in a true sense, which requires unremitting exploration by many projects including Filecoin and MW.
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