The decentralized internet is a true work-in-progress. As concern about the availability of personal data on traditional channels grows, it is inspiring more people to flock to this nascent decentralized branch of the web. Companies and developers are working to build the basic services to make it practical and useful. But decentralized apps (abbreviated as dapps, pronounced “dee-apps”) are currently extremely slow, and functionality is hit-or-miss. Bluzelle, a company who raised $19.5 million in a recent ICO, is hoping to solve the problem through decentralized databases.
Databases are integral to a functional internet. They allow structured, readable data to be easily accessed by apps and websites, which ultimately drive the services we take for granted, like weather updates and stock reports. This interactivity has thus far been difficult to replicate on the decentralized web, where encryption and de-encryption have made it clunky to perform these tasks. But the significant interest in Bluzelle’s ICO represents both a belief in the potential of decentralized storage and an acknowledgment that it’s high time to get it right.
It’s fitting that a company focused on decentralized storage would use a cryptocurrency, long touted as the best example of a thriving infrastructure built without central authorities, to fund their venture. The ICO sold one-third of Bluzelle’s 500 million tokens, the Ethereum-based BLZ; this is actually the first of two tokens the company will make available. The second token, BTN, is for use on Bluzelle itself as the company scales – it will allow for micropayments that would have been too cumbersome on the ethereum blockchain, as well as real-time pricing based on demand.
Tokens were a natural fundraising choice for Bluzelle, because coinholders will have an investment in the continued success of their project. Pavel Bains, the company’s CEO and co-founder, also explained that because BLZ and BTN will be tradeable with each other, demand for the platform will be reflected in the coins’ prices, lending an air of transparency to the project.
The company is focusing on twin goals: developing a cryptocurrency-related dapp, where obvious use cases abound (like currency exchange protocols that read and write significant amounts of data). For that, it’s targeting an April soft launch. It is also working to create a community of developers, who typically adopt and improve technology before the greater public signs on.
Bains ultimately views Bluzelle as “complementary piece” in the decentralized internet’s ecosystem, performing the same function as MySQL does on the traditional web. He believes that major companies will switch en masse to decentralized databases as they further develop. If they do, his company may well lead the way.
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