Introducing Tardigrade - Decentralized Cloud Storage from Storj Labs


Decentralized platforms stand out from their legacy, centralized counterparts in many ways. They’re generally more secure, private and reliable, but they’re also true ecosystems in every sense of the word, as they connect users and suppliers in fast, programmatic ways.

On the Storj network, we have many types of community members. The two main categories are the people who help build the network (including storage node operators and the open source community) and the customers who turn to the network for economical, resilient, and performant storage. Generally speaking, these two groups have very different needs, interests and demands when it comes to the Storj network. Building a website that can provide clear information for two very different groups of people is challenging. Storage node operators need clear, concise information on joining the network, receiving payouts, and understanding the inner workings of the system. Customers need to get clear information on building applications to work with Storj, pricing, performance, and how to use the network.

Because of this, we have created a separate brand where customers (primarily developers) can go to purchase our storage services, without getting lost in the massive amounts of content we provide for storage node operators. Today, Storj Labs would like to introduce Tardigrade.io, our new home for customers and developers to buy decentralized cloud storage.

For 8 months now, we’ve been teasing tardigrade use as our mascot without much clarity of when and how we intended to use it. Today, you will find out!

Quality Customer Experiences

Because Storj Labs has several functional areas of our business that serve drastically different purposes to the overall network, we have decided to separate storage node operators (the supply side of our business) from users who store data on the network (the demand side). By separating them, we are able to ensure we offer easy, clear, and straightforward customers experiences to these two essential customer types.

Here is a quick breakdown of the types of users that will utilize each of the Storj-operated websites, as well as the needs and types of content for each:

TARDIGRADE.IO

  • Developers: Come buy secure, performant, resilient decentralized cloud storage at an affordable price with world class support, backed by an SLA. By production, this will also be the site where all customer-facing documentation, tutorials, and FAQs can be found. Our community support forums will remain joined for now on storj.io (more on this below).
  • Partners: We offer revenue sharing to members of our Open Source Partner Program and tech partners who refer customers/developers to buy our cloud storage.

STORJ.IO

  • Storage node operators: We will actively recruit high quality storage node operators, and by production, storj.io will be where our documentation, tutorials, and FAQs for node operators reside.
  • Community: Storj.io will remain the home for anyone seeking to participate in our community, show off their projects, and get to know others who are passionate about the Storj Network.
  • Open source contributors: Storj Labs is passionate about open-source and remains committed to letting users audit our code, contribute to our product success, and follow our development progress.
  • Token and company info: Storj Labs news, company updates, our team, and overall network management will remain available on Storj Labs. STORJ, our utility token, will remain essential to the network ecosystem as a way to globally pay storage nodes and pay for (or pre-purchase) storage on our network.

This is the long-term plan for the two websites and not all changes are reflected in full detail yet. We will soon begin migrating some of our blog content and will continue to add more pages and details to each domain over time, before our beta and production launches.

Guaranteed Network SLAs Built on Open Source

Storj Labs was built on a few foundational principles: stay committed to building open source software, deliver better-than-S3 performance, and provide an affordable alternative to centralized cloud storage providers.

In a world where data is being misused by vendors, building open source software gives our community of developers the power to audit our code to know how our network is built, see what data Storj has access to (rather, the huge lack of data we have access to), and contribute code to make it better.

When we make open source software licensing decisions, it can influence how our network performs, help us enforce standards on Satellites, and ensure the network meets the SLAs we offer to our community of developers. Tardigrade Approved Satellites are approved and audited to ensure they are using unmodified code and maintaining S3-equivalent or better quality, durability and performance. These standards will be enforced in two ways: using a more restrictive open-source license on Satellites and how the code is used, and by preventing non-approved Satellites from calling themselves a “Tardigrade Satellite.” Tardigrade, is a brand that can only be associated with Satellites we know that enforce SLAs on their respective networks. Doing it any other way means Storj cannot guarantee users’ data is completely safe.

To be clear, we remain committed to open source software and all of our software will continue to be open source. This means anyone will be able to run a Satellite on the network. Uplink and storage node software will be extremely permissively licensed, though Satellites will have some limits to ensure the network operates at a certain level.

For now, we are launching the beta and production releases of Tardigrade with our own distributed Satellites. After, we intend to allow large clients or partners to operate their own Tardigrade Approved Satellites. More long-term, we will allow community-run Satellites to earn a Tardigrade Approved rating.

Branding, Word-of-Mouth, and Phonetics:

Storj is intended to be pronounced “storage.” It has become clear to us that the brand name has inhibited the company’s ability to grow through word-of-mouth, since it requires explaining the spelling with its phonetics. There are also misunderstandings about knowing specifically what the name Storj refers to, since it is associated with our utility token (STORJ), our company name, and our product.

We plan on setting up our company and product for long-term, mass-market success. As we see our future panning out, we want to ensure that the dedicated customer experiences for each brand stay strong, as well as their ability to maintain word-of-mouth marketing for our incentivized referral programs. Breaking out the Tardigrade brand will help us achieve this. It also gives us a fun, microscopic mascot to help sell the world on decentralized cloud storage.

Whether you call them water bears, moss piglets or just tardigrades, we view these microscopic creatures as the perfect embodiment of the Storj network. Back when we first started the process of choosing a new addition to the Storj Labs family, we looked at the core brand attributes that our network will have at production. Durability. Resiliency. Affordable. Secure. Private. Simple. Performant. Tardigrades are highly distributed and inhabit every part of the world, from hot deserts to rainforests to the arctic. Storj is also highly distributed, with thousands of storage nodes across the entire world, including more than 200 countries and territories (we aren’t in Antarctica yet). Tardigrades are also highly resilient and can survive the vacuum of space, extremely hot and cold temperatures, radiation and drought - being able to live for more than 30 years without food or water.

What’s next:

Stay tuned in our community forum and our newsletter for a notification of when to vote for Tardigrade’s upcoming mascot.

Follow us on twitter @tardigrade_io for a chance to win a Tardigrade backpack, cup, and other swag bag items.