Ethereum announced the latest version of Swarm, v0.3: What is Swarm?

Ethereum has been constantly evolving with a lot of technical innovations not only for Ethereum itself, but these innovations are the benchmark for the industry grade products. Ethereum has also been talking about the shift from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm.

Now Ethereum network recently launched Swarm v0.3, it is regarded as the third Proof-of-Concept release on the Ethereum network. Swarm has been launched on the Ethereum public testnet.

What is Swarm?

Think about it, Internet being the source of information where you can search for virtually anything, all the data needs to be stored somewhere in order to extract that data and present to you when you request for it, the data is typically stored in centralized servers present all around the world.

You can think of Swarm as a decentralized hard disk where the data is being stored on every node. The question that arises here is if the data is present in every node, wouldn’t it take a lot of space of the user?

This is the innovation of Swarm, it is an essential base layer service of the Ethereum Web3 stack. Here the data is being broken down and every node has the replicated Blockchain (the database here), but the size of the replicated chain is very low, when a user requests for the data, the node that is closest to the node requesting for the data will execute the request, thus reducing latency and increasing robustness and efficiency.

In technical terms, Swarm is a service that provides APIs to upload and download content to the cloud and through URL-based addressing which offers virtual hosting of websites and decentralized applications [Dapps] without web servers.

You can think of it as a peer to peer network for providing scalable solutions to the data storage industry.

A twitter feed of Ethereum for Swarm  Image Source: Twitter 

An extract from AMB Crypto:

The objective behind Swarm is a peer-to-peer storage and servicing solution that has zero downtime, fault-tolerant, and censorship-resistant, and self-sustaining due to a built-in incentive system.

There are two major characteristics that set Swarm apart from other decentralized distributed storage solutions:

  • While existing services like BitTorrent and Zeronet allows the user to register and share the content that they host on the server, Swarm provides hosting as a decentralized cloud storage service. There is a good sense that one can’t just ‘upload and disappear’. The uploaded content on swarm can be retrieved later, all potentially without a hard disk.
  • The other significant feature is the incentive system. Incentive system solves the coordination problems of decentralized consensus in computation and state, in which it allows programmable rulesets for communities, networks, and decentralized services. This is done by implementing transparent self-enforcing incentives.

Swarm 0.3 Upgrade includes some new and experimental features like:

  • PSS: Postal Service over Swarm- a messaging protocol.
  • Mutability: Content is addressed by its digital fingerprint [hash] this feature is still undergoing changes.
  • Fuse support: Enables users to integrate Swarm data directly into their local file systems [only on Linux and Mac].
  • Encryption support: Built-in encryption allowing for secure uploads of private data.
Announcing Swarm Proof-of-Concept Release 3

Ethereum quoted for Swarm:

“In the past year, the Swarm team has grown in size and is now on fire delivering the vision. We have been busy redesigning the network layer, rewriting the retrieval protocol using a stream abstraction. POC3 code was finalised just in time for the Swarm Orange Summit in Ljubljana, where we had 80 participants and a very inspiring and creative week of talks and coding. It is inspiring to see a growing number of contributors and companies that want to build on swarm.”

Image Courtesy for the featured image: aszem.inf

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