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Hype of the Week: What is Filecoin?

A ‘hype storm’ is brewing as Filecoin launches its long-awaited blockchain and $FIL token. The decentralized file storage project went live on October 15th at ~14:45 UTC, with exchanges already cueing up to list the $FIL token.


Filecoin is a decentralized file storage network not dissimilar to Google Dropbox or OneDrive, that incentivizes the quality of its network via the use of financial incentives. Using their own blockchain and token ($FIL), Filecoin’s vision is to establish a storage-ecosystem that is permisionless, secure, competitively priced and censorship resistant.

The project started out in 2013, where a framework was being developed by Filecoin’s subsequently formed parent company, Protocol Labs. Come 2017, Filecoin had published its whitepaper and in Autumn that year, Project Labs, raised over $200 million in a Filecoin token sale. Come December 2019, experiments on their testnet (alternative test blockchain) commenced.

How it works

On the customer-side, Filecoin users can rent file storage space using the $FIL token. Filecoin offers it’s users tiers of storage size and processing speed by allowing them to chose their file storage provider (miner) depending on their desires. They claim that, as opposed to central storage systems (Dropbox etc.), no different API’s are required and the user can “verify that their files are being stored correctly looking at Filecoin’s blockchain.”

On the storage provider-side, providers can sell their storage on Filecoin’s permisionless market. Providers can earn $FIL by mining storage space. Furthermore, Filecoin rewards their storage providers on the quality and usability of the storage space mined, as opposed to Bitcoin’s hash unscrambling rewards. Additionally, Filecoin’s block explorers, such as Filfox, shows users the block height, number of providers, the top providers and the amount of storage on the network. Thus, helping miners compete for storage provision.

Months of Hype

In July 2020, Filecoin announced their initial Space Race competition to be held in August, where miners on Filecoin’s testnet would be “competing for up to 4M FIL in prizes as they race to onboard as much storage space as possible.” According to the Space Race website, 360 minters took part in the competition, onboarding 230 PiB (258milion gigabytes) in the three-week competition period. The second Space Race kicked off mid-September.

On the 27th of September, Filecoin stated that their mainnet would go live once the (epoch) block 148’888 had been reached “We expect this epoch to land around Oct 15, which will begin a period of monitoring and problem solving to ensure the network is nominal…”. Furthermore, they announced their celebratory mainnet Lift-off Week, starting from the 19th — 23rd of October.

True to their estimate, the mainnet went live on the 15th of October at ~14:45 UTC, with a week of pure hype leading to the launch. Over the week leading up to the launch Kraken, Gemini, Huobi, OKEx and as of yesterday, Binance — with Gemini’s Tyler Winkelvos tweetingFilecoin $FIL, the most anticipated crypto since the launch of Ethereum and Bitcoin itself, is here!”

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Author: Stephan Eduard Pàl Roth




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