December 28, 2022

Exploring Top Blockchain Storage Companies and How to Use Them

Table of Contents

It’s true; not all data are sensitive or vital. However, much of it is and deserves to be maintained securely without the possibility of potential exploitation. This is where blockchain storage companies enter the picture. Unlike centralized solutions, blockchain cloud storage companies provide users with true ownership of data. Using cryptography, these companies also ensure that data is stored securely. That said, there are some challenges regarding blockchain storage. Fortunately, there are quite a few blockchain data storage companies determined to solve these challenges. However, while we already have several tangible solutions, the race for the ultimate Web3 storage provider is still on.

Before diving into the central part of this article, we’ll ensure that you can answer the “what is blockchain storage?” question. As we move further, we’ll focus on cloud and data storage companies for blockchain and look at companies that have used blockchain storage so far. Then, we’ll list the top blockchain storage companies and quickly cover their basics. Last but not least, we’ll even explain how you, as a developer, can use blockchain storage companies. This is where you’ll learn about Moralis and all it can do to propel your Web3 development to new levels. However, in case you prefer to learn by getting your hands dirty, create your free Moralis account and start tackling the tutorials that await you in Moralis’ Web3 docs

illustrative image showing user fetching data via blockchain storage companies by first logging in and then accessing various data on servers and blockchains

What is Blockchain Storage?

Blockchain storage is a unique type of decentralized storage solution, allowing users to truly own their data. Furthermore, a proper blockchain storage solution should never have a single point of failure. This type of resilient and transparent solution is what blockchain cloud storage companies aim to deliver. 

By definition, blockchain storage utilizes or at least works hand-in-hand with blockchain technology. Now, keep in mind that “Web3 storage” and “blockchain storage” are terms typically used interchangeably. Moreover, since some reputable decentralized storage solutions do not use blockchains per se, “Web3 storage” may be an even more appropriate term for all blockchain-based and blockchain cloud storage companies and protocols. 

While discussing the basics, it’s also important to note that the entire blockchain industry is relatively new. Additionally, the industry it’s not institutionalized. Consequently, several terms are used to describe the same aspects of certain things. For instance, many folks and even some articles consider blockchain storage to be the blockchains themself. Now, given the fact that blockchains are databases at their core, essentially, the definition is technically correct. However, we look at blockchain storage as what blockchain data storage companies provide. Moreover, blockchain storage companies typically focus on solving the challenges of storing larger data (e.g., documents, images, websites, applications, videos, etc.). Essentially, their goal is to replace centralized cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, Google Cloud, and OneDrive. 

If you want to dive deeper into this discussion, use the “what is blockchain storage?” link above.

physical server on top of a cloud illustrating how blockchain storage companies using cloud systems work

Cloud and Data Storage Companies for Blockchain

Many people misunderstand or misinterpret the capabilities of blockchains. For example, they presume you can use programmable blockchains, such as Ethereum, to store all sorts of data. However, that is not the case. After all, you might have already experienced network congestion and high transaction fees during peak traffic periods. Those issues occur as networks try to process transaction hashes. Accordingly, most current blockchains are simply not designed to store larger files – it is technically and economically impossible. However, every NFT project, Web3 game, or every other dapp (decentralized application) deals with many pieces of information. Since that data needs to be stored somewhere, we utilize cloud and data storage companies. 

We hope you agree that the ultimate goal should be to ensure that all the important data is stored in a decentralized manner. However, many crypto projects do not follow this ideal to the letter. Instead of using blockchain data storage companies, they use centralized cloud services even for information that should clearly be stored as on-chain data. 

sequence of metadata from creation to storage via a company using blockchain storage

Should You Use a Centralized or Decentralized Company for Storage – NFT Perspective

For instance, let’s look at NFTs (non-fungible tokens). These types of tokens come with NFT-representing files and metadata files. However, these files are too large to store on the blockchain. So, when developers deploy smart contracts that mint NFTs and govern their transactions on the blockchain of their choice, they need to include URI links to the metadata files. Unfortunately, in some cases, NFT creators store these files using centralized cloud storage. On the other hand, NFT projects using the proper “Web3” approach utilize blockchain cloud storage companies to store NFT-representing and metadata files.

How about other projects? Should you store all data in a decentralized manner? As a rule of thumb, you should use blockchain storage companies for vital data that must be immutable or transparent. Though, it’s worth keeping in mind that many current dapps are some sort of hybrids between Web3 and Web3 functionalities. As such, it’s up to you to find the right balance between using centralized cloud services and blockchain data storage companies. 

Companies That Have Used Blockchain Storage

If we again consider NFTs, many companies are now getting involved and want to incorporate these assets into their projects. Those that really respect the qualities of Web3 have definitely used blockchain storage companies. Even organizations behind some of the leading blockchains use blockchain cloud storage companies to store historical transaction data. For instance, Solana, Avalanche, Polkadot, Cosmos, and NEAR all use Arweave for storage purposes. Other companies that have used blockchain storage include Shoah (project Starling Labs), Internet Archive, OpenSea, Microsoft, Flow, and many others.  

Additionally, many companies and crypto projects are relying on IPFS. Some of the companies using IPFS are as follows:

  • Cloudless
  • Gitcoin
  • SEEDess
  • MetaMask
  • Skeps
  • Proxima (PXM)

However, although we consider IPFS a blockchain storage company, especially because of its decentralized nature, this protocol doesn’t use blockchain technology. Yet, it does employ very similar cryptographic concepts. As such, it is one of the most popular storage solutions with a proven track record in the crypto realm.

Note: You can learn what other companies use blockchain storage solutions by exploring the official websites of the top blockchain storage companies listed below.    

five companies floating around the globe - sia - filecoin - ipfs - storj - arweave

List of Top Blockchain Storage Companies

When it comes to blockchain storage companies, the details of the mechanics of their protocols vary significantly. Furthermore, all these companies know that decentralized storage solutions are the future. Hence, they all try to come up with a unique twist that will help them become the ultimate storage solution in the upcoming years. So far, the non-blockchain protocol (IPFS) is the most popular choice. Moreover, many devs use IPFS for NFT metadata and NFT-representing files. All in all, IPFS is currently the most popular blockchain storage system alternative. As such, we will take a closer look at this decentralized protocol in the next section. 

Aside from IPFS, other blockchain data storage companies and projects deserve your attention. More or less, all of the following protocols utilize users’ excess hard drive space. However, they take different approaches to making that effective, secure, and efficient. Ultimately, the following are the top blockchain storage companies:

  • BTFS
  • Sia 
  • Arweave 
  • Storj 
  • Filecoin

Introducing Storage Leaders 

The above-mentioned leading blockchain storage companies deserve a proper introduction. As such, let’s shortly describe the gist of each protocol. 

  • BitTorrent File System (BTFS) – BTFS is one of several products in the BitTorrent suite. It is a scalable decentralized storage system aiming to reduce storage costs, improve fault tolerance, and avoid government censorship. Probably the greatest power of BTFS is an already-large user node base (over 100 million). Moreover, this storage protocol uses the TRON blockchain.
bittorrent file system
  • Sia – The Sia blockchain is a conduit connecting those needing file storage space with those who have it. As such, smart contracts take over human or corporate intermediaries to ensure that data is properly encrypted. In this P2P network, those renting out their space can earn Sia coins.
sia blockchain storage
  • Arweave – This blockchain-like, peer-to-peer (P2P) storage protocol’s main focus is data permanence. It also offers extra storage capacities available on PCs that are part of the network (Arweave clients). Moreover, they call the application that enables data storage and other functionality “permaweb.” The latter is an immutable storage environment.
arweave storage company for blockchain data
  • Storj – Storj storage breaks data into smaller segments, encrypts it using AES-256-GCM symmetric encryption, and stores it across the global network of nodes. Moreover, the Storj network encompasses node operators and hosts offering storage (the supply side). 
storj
  • Filecoin – Filecoin includes a cloud storage marketplace, protocol, and incentive layer. In a way, the Filecoin network is a sort of blockchain-focused upgrade of IPFS. As such, it offers a very similar decentralized and secure data storage and retrieval solution. But it also incorporated blockchain technology.
filecoin

Other note-worthy blockchain cloud storage companies include the Utopia network, ZÜS (former 0chain), Genaro Network, LuminCX, Internxt (INXT), Akash Network (AKT), and MaidSafe (the Safe network).  

ipfs

InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) 101

InterPlanetary File System, or IPFS, is a distributed storage protocol/system with Protocol Labs behind it. IPFS is a peer-to-peer (P2P) hypermedia protocol that everyone can use for uploading, storing, and accessing data, websites, applications, and files. Accordingly, this P2P protocol enables users to host and access content in a decentralized manner. Furthermore, IPFS implements a unique and innovative partitioning approach. As such, user operators host portions of the overall data. 

Most of us are used to location-based HTTP systems; however, IPFS shattered that paradigm by introducing a content-addressing solution. Hence, when you use IPFS, you get to search by the content itself and not by its location. In order to make content-addressing possible, each piece of content comes with a unique content identifier (CID). The latter is a sort of hash. So, whenever you want to find any specific data, IPFS utilizes these cryptographic hashes. IPFS also links pieces of content together by generating IPLD Merkle DAGs. All in all, despite its non-blockchain approach, IPFS has a proven track record and is considered one of the leading blockchain cloud storage companies.

Note: You can explore IPFS further by visiting its official documentation.

wizard using fetching data from blockchain storage companies using moralis

How Can Developers Use Blockchain Storage Companies

All of the above-listed companies come with their official websites, where you can find out how to use their services. However, there are other tools that can make using blockchain storage companies a lot more user-friendly, especially for dapp developers. These tools include the best IPFS API and web3.storage. The former is one of Moralis’ ultimate Web3 API products. It enables you to effortlessly upload files to IPFS when building dapps. To get your hands on this tool, you only need to have an active Moralis account, which you can create for free! Moreover, the best IPFS API comes in the same toolbox as the ultimate EVM API, NFT API, Token API, Web3 Auth API, Streams API, and even the leading Solana API. As such, you can utilize this powerhouse of APIs and make dapp development as straightforward as possible. 

That said, how can developers actually use blockchain storage companies? Well, if you want to use one of the above-mentioned companies, such as IPFS, here’s how easy it is, thanks to Moralis’ IPFS API:

const response = await Moralis.EvmApi.ipfs.uploadFolder({

With the above code snippet, you can upload a folder to IPFS quickly and easily. Want to find out more about how to utilize IPFS? Make sure to follow the above “upload files to IPFS” link!

Since Filecoin and IPFS work great together, you may also want to use that blockchain protocol for storage purposes. If so, check out web3.storage. So, what is web3.storage? It is a user-friendly interface that enables you to use Filecoin’s network. If you want to learn how to use this tool, make sure to check out our “Filecoin in Unity” tutorial. 

web3.storage - what is it?

Exploring Top Blockchain Storage Companies and How to Use Them – Summary

In today’s article, you had a chance to explore top blockchain data storage companies. We started things off with the basics by exploring what blockchain storage is. With the basics under our belts, we dove into cloud and data storage companies for blockchain. Here, you learned that there are already many companies using these services and that things are trending toward a decentralized future. Then, we focused on the leading blockchain storage companies. As such, you discovered that IPFS, BTFS, Sia, Arweave, Storj, and Filecoin are the top options. Last but not least, you even found out that you can use IPFS via Moralis’ integration and use Filecoin via web3.storage. With today’s article under your belt, you are all set to start utilizing decentralized storage solutions.

Moving forward, we recommend starting with the tutorials on Moralis’ IPFS documentation page. Next, take on other Moralis tutorials to learn how to become a Web3 developer with your legacy skills. Do not forget to expand your blockchain development horizons by visiting the Moralis YouTube channel and the Moralis blog. Some of the latest articles there focus on the best token price API in 2023, danksharding and EIP-4844, how to get token metadata using NextJS and NodeJS, and much more. Nonetheless, you can even become blockchain certified by enrolling in Moralis Academy. There, you can start your crypto journey with the blockchain and Bitcoin fundamentals course or dive straight into some of the more advanced courses.   

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