A group of developers announced Swarm, a distributed storage platform and content distribution service to be built on Ethereum. It will allow users to pool their spare resources to capitalise on them.

The “orange paper”, co-authored by Viktor Trón, Aron Fischer, Daniel A. Nagy, Zsolt Felföldi and Nick Johnson, explains the reason behind its creation. According to the authors, 

“While the Internet in general and the World Wide Web in particular dramatically reduced the costs of disseminating information, putting (almost) a publisher’s power at (almost) every user’s fingertips, these costs are still not zero and their allocation heavily influences who gets to publish what and who gets to enjoy what.”

The idea of Swarm is to make it possible for users who have an excess of storage space or bandwidth to share it on a p2p platform with other users in exchange for ether micropayments. They state that “from the end user's perspective, Swarm is not that different from WWW, except that uploads are not to a specific server.” 

Developers plan to use this feature to make their platform “DDoS-resistant, zero-downtime, fault-tolerant and censorship-resistant.” They also project it to be “self-sustaining due to a built-in incentive system which uses peer to peer accounting and allows trading resources for payment.”

Indeed, a large part of the “orange paper” explores the ways of creating incentives in order to make the operations smooth. Swarm would allow, for instance, swapping service for service and issuing cheques as instruments of delayed payment, and provides for various escrow conditions and for internal audit.

But that is not all. Swarm aims to become a collaborative editing platform with reputation system based on skill categories and peer review. 

Swarm is designed to be integrated with the devp2p multiprotocol network layer of Ethereum. It will also use Ethereum blockchain for domain name resolution, service payments and maintaining the content permanently available.

Nothing is said about the release date of the platform but it should not be expected before the publication of the next “orange paper” which is scheduled in the second or in the third quarter of 2016.

Alexey Tereshchenko