The video transcript is below:
Let me tell you a Story – Claude is a French friend living on a mountain in Switzerland somewhere. For years, he diligently backed up his photos, music, work, and family stuff to CD/DVD drives. Recently tried to restore some data. He tried a disk, then another and another. To his shock, 80% of the disks were useless. He didn’t get back his skiing pictures, he couldn’t restore a Jethro Tull concert, and he certainly could not recover his Excel pension data… that’s what living in Switzerland does for you. If we can’t preserve Claude’s bath time singalong videos, what chance do we have of preserving humanity’s data?
And that is the vision for Filecoin: preserving humanity’s most important information.
Let’s start with some audience participation!
Who has heard of Bitcoin – hands up
Who holds Bitcoin? Hands up
Who is going to buy Bitcoin?
Warren Buffet says that if he could buy all the farms in the U.S. – OR all the Bitcoin, he would choose the farms. With farms, you can create goods and have an income. With Bitcoin, you can only sell Bitcoin to someone else who wants it. Now that I have upset a few people, we can use this test later on.
Anyone here with Altcoins? ETH? Stablecoins? What about Filecoin? Who has heard of Filecoin? Could you explain Filecoin to your mother? The purpose of this talk is to put you in a position to understand why we have Filecoin and whether or not you might want to invest in Filecoin.
To understand Filecoin, we really need to understand the future of web3 decentralised data.
In this talk, we will cover- why we need a solution like Filecoin- what exactly is Filecoin- how you might get involved (and should you buy Filecoin as an investment?)
Why do we need a solution
Audience participation time again
How much data is there in the world?
Answer: by 2025, we will have 175 Zetabytes
Let’s use an analogy where one 1 byte = 1 drop
If we add up all the drops, we end up with one ocean!
Now we double that every two years!
Next point. Is your data safe?
How safe is your data on a hard disk? What do you think?
The answer, on average you might struggle to recover data from a disk after about five years. You could be like Claude and the bath time singalongs.
How much data do we lose? On aggregate as a planet? I’ve seen stats for 17% per annum in academia, as reported by Nature in 2013. That equates to a startling sum, over 20 years of an 80% loss. Imagine all the projects that could foul or peer reviews that might fail.
ChatGPT, who else? Provides some other incredible figures for data loss
- up to 30% of users and businesses will experience data loss on an annual base.
- 45% of data loss is caused by hardware
- and 22% by humans
Not only is data exploding, we are losing much of it with huge implications for science and research.
This is like a bucket with a big hole in it. We are filling the bucket at a rate of knots and yet losing so much. I could have used a human medical analogy, but I will leave that to your imagination!
We are losing data, we have corruption, and ransomware causes chaos. Here’s the thing. Right now, we need lots of data to build projects and solutions with these new AI tools that have so much potential. If only there were a solution.
Can you imagine if there was an enormous screw-up? For example, the AI that controlled all the flights above Europe or the USA had to be unplugged for a catastrophe. We would want to go back and investigate what on earth had happened. What if we found the data was corrupt, lost or had been tampered with? Thinking about all of these issues shows us that we need a better way.
TGIF. Thank god it’s Filecoin. Filecoin to the rescue! We have done the Why; now, let’s look at the What.
[What is filecoin]
What is filecoin? A token or a crypto coin? Let’s explore this. Technically, Filecoin is a utility token and was birthed via an initial coin offering, ICO. Unlike Bitcoin, filecoin has a very specific purpose that is not about being used as a store of value. Think of Bitcoin as a way to buy a horse. Filecoin is the hay that you would use to feed the horse. Filecoin is designed to be eaten or, rather, burned to be technically accurate. Filecoin is used to incentivise storage providers to store data as well as ensuring that consensus mechanisms are operating to manage the network. Hidden from us is an entire ecosystem and infrastructure whirring away in the background. The rest of the world has an interface and a mechanism to store data.
Let us use the analogy of an island economy. Are you familiar with this term? What does an island have? Take the UK as an island, for instance. The UK has its own jurisdiction, factories, ecosystem, and currency—the island imports and exports goods and services. Specifically, the filecoin island uses a “token” to facilitate transactions between participants. It acts as an incentive to reward good behaviour, and bad behaviour leads to the notion of slashing, which is like a penalty or fine.
If the island works well, the exports are greater than the imports and vice versa. Some really exciting things are happening on the island to back up the vision of “preserving humanity’s most important information.”
Let’s very quickly delve into some of the important concepts. I will cover three.
Immutability. If you store your data on the filecoin network, you can be sure to get it back. (Not like Claude, who is still upset over his bathtime pics.) Your data is converted to car files, and these can be randomly tested each day to ensure the data is still there as expected.
Safety, or distributed storage. If your data does go bang, you can mitigate this by having duplicates at other storage providers and in different geographies. Statistically, you could achieve in the region of 20 9s availability if you played your cards right. Remember when 99.9 was a cool thing or five 9s. 20 nines is insane! Due to vendor lock-in and the difficulty of moving data, it is very hard to achieve this functionality elsewhere in the cloud.
Compute over data. Earlier, we spoke about the oceans of data and the fact that we will see a constant doubling. Today, there are organisations who have to use trucks and disk caddies to take data from place to place. Consider this. If you were to fill a shipping container with disks, with a few assumptions in this calculation, you could carry about 3.4 Exabtytes from place to place. For 175 Zetabtyes, we are talking about 52000 trucks. This means physically moving data around because our network infrastructure can’t cope with the volumes is not a long-term solution. With filecoin, we can leave the data where it is and effectively move the algorithms around instead, which are much smaller. Naturally, it does not quite work like this, but the analogy holds as a way to represent a different way of thinking about the problem.
The story gets much better. Filecoin and Ethereum can play together through smart contracts. Your own data could be shared and paid for in micropayments. Tie these technical breakthroughs together with AI, and we really do have a very compelling use case for Filecoin. I really believe the time has come for some incredible opportunities and progress.
PHEW – we have had the why and the what – now it is the time for the How.
How could you get involved?
I will cover 4
One. Buy, accumulate and speculate and go against Warren Buffet. Do you feel lucky?
Two. Trade with the island. There are business opportunities to export goods. For example, prepare other people’s data and then arrange the storage on the filecoin network.
Three. Go onto the island. Join the island community as a storage provider or be a plumber connecting various services. There is a huge, welcoming community waiting for you.
Finally, Four. Or stake. People on the island need Filecoin, I need filecoin, but I also have to buy hardware and data datacentre services (This is where we can challenge Warren Buffet; you can grow coins at 20% per annum – like growing hay for the horses)
On the subject of holding, at the time of recording, the price of Filecoin is the price is very low, about £2.70 or in dollars $3.30. If you wanted to take a punt, then why not? Please remember I am not here to offer investment advice.
Would I personally risk fiat to just speculate? Dunno. If I were holding other tokens or currency, that would be a different answer. If you already have Filecoin ETH or BTC or stablecoins, then perhaps staking is something to think about. And here is why.
Filecoin uses a proof of space-time consensus mechanism to ensure the network participants are behaving for the benefit of all participants. Some would say the way that it works makes it a proof stake network.
Let me explain if I agree to store your data. I must provide the physical hardware of servers and disks, BUT also I must pledge tokens. If I fail in any way, then I will be slashed, I will lose out. I am incentivised. Therefore, for those who want to stake Filecoin, there is a mechanism that backs up your risk. If you provide FIL to me, I will pledge this to the network, and I will get it back in the future. Meaning you get your “money” back with interest that you receive along the way. There is a genuine need for outsiders to support the island with resources to enable the factories to continue production.
To finish this talk, let’s look into the future.
 There is talk of treating data as an asset class. Think about it. This is mad. You could trade shares in a dataset or resell chunks of data on the open market. If this is to occur, the data must be kept safe. Filecoin is perfect for this scenario.
 Regulated industries and AI companies are going to be forced to prove that they are taking care of their data. And as you know, there is an explosion in AI usage right now.
 If we look at the visionaries of Bitcoin and Ethereum, they really wanted to bring power back to humanity. Filecoin is an alternative to the Amazons, Googles and Microsofts and fits the overarching vision. We can liberate data from these closed environments. Long live data, freedom to data!
We looked at the need for something like Filecoin – Claude and his CDs. We then looked at what Filecoin is – the island economy.
And finally, should you invest? Can we challenge Warren Buffet? I can’t offer you financial advice other than to draw your attention to what is possible and that I have committed to the ecosystem. I have put my money where my mouth is.
We have an ocean of data that will soon become oceans and then planets of data. Perhaps just like Bitcoin, Filecoin is opening the doors to some incredible stuff. Let’s protect the Claudes of this world on our journey to protect humanity’s data!