However, although the apps themselves may be decentralized, truly fast and secure decentralized data storage solutions are still lagging behind. As running dApps is a seriously expensive endeavor, companies are looking at ways of reducing their costs – and when it comes to storage, Bluzelle may have the answer.
Blokt interviewed Bluzelle CEO and co-founder Pavel Bains to find out why blockchain systems require more efficient data storage systems, in line with the decentralized nature of blockchain itself.
Bluzelle was founded in 2014 by Pavel Bains and Neeraj Murarka, to address the current need for more efficient data exchange and storage between devices.
CEO and co-founder Pavel Bains comes from a design and interactive media background, which he sees as key use cases for Bluzelle solutions in the non-blockchain sector. Likewise, CTO and co-founder, Neera Murarkaj, has a long history of working with Bitcoin and Blockchain since 2013.
Expanding on his team’s expertise, Bains says:
“Our core team has worked on blockchain projects for banks and insurers such as HSBC, AIA and MUFG. That is where we discovered that traditional database systems were not going to cut it for blockchain projects.”
Additionally, Andrew Mastracci, the Bluzelle Director of Product Development, has over a decade of experience in networking technology and is working on taking the idea of data storage and turning it into a network protocol.
Other notable team members include Isabel Scroggin, Head of Research, who has previously worked with NASA, bringing valuable experience as Bluzelle researches new technologies and determines how to best apply them.
Discussing how Bluzelle was established, Bains remarks:
“Neeraj and I started Bluzelle to work on blockchain projects to see what was needed in the market. Initially we did work in payments for companies in Vancouver and developed a Ripple gateway. Then we saw the need for banks and insurers to get onto blockchain and began building POCs in insurance and identity management for several companies in Asia.”
It was through those early projects that Bains and Neeraj discovered the need for a decentralized database, and became focused on delivering Bluzelle.
The Data Explosion
With the explosion in device usage, the current infrastructure of the internet can’t handle the growing amount of data created and shared.
Instead, Bluzelle uses blockchain principals to create data storage solutions which offer high performance, superior security, and authenticity which current centralized systems cannot.
Specifically, Bluzelle focuses on the growing use of decentralized applications (dApps), which are generating massive amounts of siloed data.
“Decentralized applications built on blockchain platforms still require their data to be stored in a database. If it’s stored on the blockchain it’s too slow, and if it’s stored on centralized data storage systems it’s not efficient and has poor security.”
To combat this, Bluzelle has utilized off-chain storage, which offers the highest levels of security for sensitive data, with ideal performance compared to centralized systems.
The Bluzelle Decentralized Database Service
Bluzelle takes unused computer hardware resources from around the world and allows them to be rented out to companies to store their data on. By providing a decentralized solution, Bluzelle provides enterprise-grade storage solutions which every developer can afford.
Explaining how the Bluzelle decentralized database model brings greater benefits than traditional cloud-based or single system data storage models, Bains says:
“We have no points of failure where they have multiple points of failure – this can bring the whole system down. We can scale efficiently and on-demand, where they become very costly to scale. We can guarantee privacy where they are unable to do so.”
Bluzelle’s Swarming Approach
Instead of data sitting on a computer, as in centralized data storage solutions, Bluzelle implements what is known as ‘swarming.’ In this case, data is fragmented and split across multiple computers through blockchain technology.
The group of computers all have the same ‘shard’ of data on them, so even if one goes down; the others are still there as a backup. Importantly, none of the computers in the group hold more than half of the data, so it can’t be pieced together without the private key holder.
Bains explains further:
“As our network grows, swarming allows us to manage data and performance at a regional level, ensuring that performance never suffers as a result of more data being stored. Also, with swarming we can tailor solutions for companies that need to have their data stored in specific geographic areas.”
Bluzelle’s swarm database can scale up and down as needed, while remaining secure, and crucially – fast.
Bluzelle Use Cases
Each dApp being built, which in the near future will number in the thousands, will require its own database, and decentralized databases like Bluzelle could hold the ideal solution for the enormity of data produced.
Discussing the first target use cases for Bluzelle, Bains says:
“For general applications, for example those without blockchains, we see video games, media and IoT as excellent segments. Each of those industries want a global reach, and traditional data storage solutions can slow down performance which irritates end-users. Decentralized storage ensures that no matter where their customer is, they will get high performance.”
Bains gives the scenario of a game provider scaling their product to new countries as a perfect use case for Bluzelle technology. For example, an online game with a database in Portland USA suddenly becomes popular in India.
Traditionally, in this scenario gaming companies would need to set up another server and replicate everything in India to keep the performance up. Then, if the game becomes popular in another location, operators have to do this all over again, with each operation costing a significant investment in time and money.
Instead, with Bluzelle’s solution, the data is replicated automatically to every one of the nodes on its network, which means that companies data is instantly available everywhere; without the developers having to expand the network manually.
The BLZ Token
The BLZ token is an ERC-20 token used by customers on the Bluzelle network to pay for the Bluzelle data storage service, and also functions as a utility token for payouts to the people who provide their hardware for use with Bluzelle.
Attracting Developers to the Bluzelle Network
Software developers are integral to the adoption of the Bluzelle network, and Bluzelle has several methods of attracting top talent to its product.
“Software developers like to see how a product will benefit them right away. They don’t like hype and exaggeration. To reach them we will go through developer platforms and marketplaces like Heroku. We’ll also do live events and hackathons, and using online communities is also essential. For incentivizing, a great method is to provide a free evaluation period and the ability to earn more storage by referring others.”
Bluzelle have already hosted two hackathons, one of which saw over 1,000 livestream viewers tune in to their presentations and discussions sessions.
The Future for Bluzelle
Since it was founded, Bluzelle has attracted some serious VC funding, in addition to closing a successful $19.5 million ICO in January 2018.
Talking about what Bluzelle’s biggest lessons were since its ICO, Bains shares:
“The biggest learning curve was in becoming focused on who our target market is. We started with a general developer market but that can be hard to market to. By focusing on a specific group, like video game developers, it allows us to measure ourselves against the leading solutions available to them, and helps craft our communication to one specific group.”
Bains also believes that the most significant areas of development for Bluzelle in the future will be in finding new ways to increase network storage capacity; creating efficient payments so users can pay in fiat while still powering the network through the BLZ token, and in finding multiple ways for users to stake their BLZ tokens.
Blokt would like to thank Pavel Bains and all the team at Bluzelle for sharing their expertise with us.