What are the benefits of Web3 data storage?

10 Jul 2023

OmniIndex CEO Simon Bain. Image: OmniIndex

OmniIndex’s Simon Bain discusses the advantages of Web3 data storage such as blockchain benefits, greater security and emerging tech such as AI.

As the tech world continues to move towards Web3 – the next generation of the internet – experts have been looking at the ways this future can benefit people and businesses.

The rise of certain technology such as VR and the blockchain has caused people to focus more on concepts like the metaverse, when the internet combines further with reality. At last year’s Future Human event, a panel of Web3 gurus discussed trends in the sector such as NFTs.

But many Web3 applications are still in their infancy. Simon Bain, the CEO of OmniIndex, believes one such application is data storage.

OmniIndex has developed its own Web3 data storage application called Dropblock, which the company released in 2021. OmniIndex claims this form of blockchain storage presents various benefits over more traditional methods, such as enhanced security and a lack of third-party access.

Bain shared multiple arguments on why he thinks Web3 data storage is the future:

A wave of developing technology

Web3 is a broad term for the proposed future of the internet, which includes concepts such as decentralisation and blockchain technology. While there are differences, the concept of the metaverse also ties into elements of Web3, with a larger focus on virtual experiences that merge with reality.

Bain described Web3 as an “upgrade” on the traditional internet thanks to various supporting technologies, including AI.

These associated technologies have received boosts in recent months. Tech giants have been focused greatly on AI since the rise of ChatGPT last year. In May, a group of companies shared plans to launch a worldwide blockchain network for financial markets.

This Canton Network is scheduled for testing this month and is backed by a number of big names such as Microsoft, Deloitte and Goldman Sachs.

“Web3 has the power to facilitate new innovations that can support us in ways that we’ve never seen before,” Bain said.

Staying secure from cyberattacks

As beneficial technology advances, the tools available for criminals continue to grow more sophisticated too. As a result, cyberattacks continue to be a constant threat for businesses across many industries.

Last week, Dublin Airport was revealed to be another victim of the Moveit cyberattack, which impacted multiple organisations on both sides of the Atlantic.

Bain claims that Web3 data storage is able to protect itself from attacks such as ransomware better than traditional forms of data storage, thanks to aspects like the blockchain and a lack of third-party access.

“The enhanced security of Web3 storage is matched with genuine privacy for user data with Web3 data platforms unable to access the data they’re storing,” Bain said. “This prevents data storage providers being able to monetise their user’s data through actions such as targeted advertising.”

Despite the proposed security benefits of the blockchain, there have been examples of cyberattacks hitting the crypto space in recent years. Last year, gaming-focused blockchain network Ronin suffered a hack that resulted in around $625m worth of crypto being stolen.

The UK’s Euler Finance was hit with a flash loan attack this year, which saw a hacker exploit a vulnerability to steal nearly £200m from the network. This hacker later returned all the stolen funds after being contacted by Euler Finance.

Preventing deletion through the blockchain

One concern with data storage is the risk of losing data, through a targeted attack or some form of software error. Last year, 34m research files were lost in Kyoto University, after a script malfunctioned and deleted the files from the university’s supercomputer, some of which could not be recovered.

Bain claims that blockchain technology means stored data “cannot be changed or deleted”, while multiple copies of the data are distributed across the blockchain network.

“The benefit of this is that even if one copy is attacked or lost due to a technical issue, the user would still be able to access their data immediately because of the other remaining copies,” Bain said. “Data is also encrypted at all times and protected by different levels of access and authentication requirements.”

Environmental impact

While some experts have praised the benefits of blockchain technology, its opponents have called out the environmental impact. Bain said that this is not true for all blockchain, as OmniIndex and Dropblock use proof-of-stake technology.

In proof-of-stake, a blockchain network relies on trusted validators to verify it, which is believed to be more environmentally friendly than the proof-of-work system, which involves the use of ‘mining’. This method and crypto mining has been long criticised for the amount of energy it uses.

Last year, the Ethereum network completed a massive upgrade to move towards this proof-of-stake system. At the time, the non-profit Ethereum Foundation said the upgrade could reduce the blockchain’s energy consumption by more than 99pc.

“This type of blockchain is reported to use 99pc less energy than the proof-of-work mechanism and it is also less energy consuming when it comes to the hardware too,” Bain said.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic