Filecoin vs Aleph.im: Comparison And Explanation
With the upcoming launch of Filecoin, the community has asked about the difference between Filecoin and aleph.im. We are often viewed as similar projects, when in reality we are quite different. A side-by-side comparison is often a good way to try to gain a better understanding of two ideas or projects.
Our projects are often viewed as similar when we are actually quite different
Decentralize The Cloud
On one hand we have Filecoin, a project that intends to decentralize file storage services and get the web to transition from using centralized cloud file storage services (such as Google Drive and Dropbox) to decentralized blockchain-powered file storage services. Additionally, Filecoin can act as a worldwide CDN.
Filecoin allows transitioning from decentralized file storage services
On the other hand we have aleph.im, a project that intends to decentralize database and computation services and get the web to transition from using centralized cloud computation and database services (such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure) to decentralized blockchain-powered database and computation services. Additionally, aleph.im is working on a decentralized identity (DID) framework. Finally, we have a decentralized file storage DApp running on aleph.im since December 2019.
Aleph.im allows transitioning to decentralized database, computation and identity services
Essentially, both projects allow a transition of a subset of cloud services to decentralized cloud services.
Different Services → Different Use Cases
Filecoin is especially useful for those wanting to store large files such as videos, images, sounds and large documents (i.e. pdf). So as a result, commonly seen apps being built on Filecoin are Dropbox clones, image sharing apps, and video marketplaces.
Aleph.im currently focuses on supercharging the DeFi ecosystem by allowing its DApps and protocols to migrate the centralized parts of their stack from cloud to decentralised computation and database services. Essentially making them fully decentralized, we already have partnerships with DeFi projects running on various chains such as Jarvis, Orion Protocol and Serum. Aleph.im also provides storage capabilities to its dApps. A good example is the MyAleph dApp where users can store their files and notes securely.
DApps built on Filecoin range from Dropbox clones to video marketplaces whereas aleph.im enables DApps to decentralize their whole stack
As explained in the previous paragraph the use cases are different, so hypothetically a team could decide to build a DApp with the following stack:
- Smart Contracts on Ethereum
- Database, Computing and DID on Aleph.im
- Large Files Stored on Filecoin
In a nutshell, we enter the realm of composability across decentralized storage solutions.
Filecoin initially started as an Ethereum based project that then moved on to build its own custom blockchain using a novel consensus mechanism called Proof of Storage.
Unlike Filecoin, aleph.im is not a blockchain, it is a scalability network built on top of technology such as LibP2P and Gossipsub (both created by Protocol Labs) and aleph.im already supports multiple blockchains and ecosystems such as Ethereum, Polkadot (and all substrate-based chains), BinanceChain, and NULS.
It is important to note that we are also IPFS compatible. All of this technological overlap shows how much respect we have for the tech built by Protocol Labs and we sincerely hope aleph.im can assist in helping that ecosystem to continue to grow.
Flourishing ecosystems require a robust set of tools available to developers so that they can rapidly build and innovate. Both aleph.im and Filecoin are building out developer tools, but with different approaches suited to their target markets.
Initial Funding Mechanism
Filecoin is famously known for its ICO in 2017 in which it raised approximately $205M. These funds have been invested in building the ecosystem and we are now seeing the result of this work come to fruition with their upcoming mainnet launch.
The aleph.im network was bootstrapped by the community without an ICO or public raise. Initial distribution was done on the NULS network using their POCM staking mechanism. Users were able to stake their NULS in support of aleph.im, receiving ALEPH tokens rather than NULS. This allowed the team to self-fund while the protocol was being built, as well as distribute ALEPH to early supporters.