Daniel Nagy Follows 7-Year Legal Struggle With Ethereum-Based Swarm For Decentralized Storage


Daniel Nagy is known for his work as the leading developer of Swarm, though it didn’t come easily. There was actually a long 7-year legal battle involving the project, but Nagy didn’t lose faith. Instead, looking back at the time, he said, “If you built it strong enough, the law will follow.”

BitTorrent, which was the predecessor to peer-to-peer file sharing, allowed Nagy to run a DC node. However, technology has since evolved and the concept of this type of node is “perfectly and completely obsolete,” according to Nagy. He commented to CoinDesk, “I had a bit of a legal fight over and I won.”

After this battle, Nagy opted to join the Ethereum Foundation. This simple action stirred him to dive deeper then into the benefits of censorship-resistant technology. If anything, then the court time stimulated his Swarm efforts, which is expected to be a major storage layer that emphasizes systems architecture and privacy-focuses cryptography.

Nagy’s primary goal is to make it possible to maintain decentralized storage that has the strength to prevent these kinds of issues going forward. He’s calling this effort “an arms race,” where the competitors are developers and regulators. He continued, adding, “Since we can develop stuff and the marginal cost of replication is zero, we will win this arms race, and I think everybody knows that.”

Even at the beginning of Ethereum, there’s been an initiative for quite a while. With Swarm, the hope is that the platform can create a mechanism to take off some of the older data, while offering a greater variation with file storage.

The decentralized storage layer is meant for “efficiency, speed, confidentiality, and security.” However, the creation of it was primarily meant to make an attack so ineffective that the legal system has to keep up with it. Nagy believes that a truly and completely robust network “can actually inform decision making, even to the point of how law is interpreted by judges and enforcers.” Furthermore, “They don’t want to enforce unenforceable laws,” he said.

With the goal of making a base infrastructure for a decentralized interview, the Swarm platform uses multiple computers to divide the information between other network participants. To keep the layers from being victims of censorship, , It is crucial to offer decentralization and privacy on it. A perfect example of how Swarm remains protected is “redundancy,” as developers put it, meaning that the group of systems is duplicated, resulting in a “swarm” of machines.

Speaking on this topic, Nagy said,

“If you have multiple channels of communication, multiple locations of storage, then censoring becomes more expensive because you need to find all of them and shut down all of them.”

Even though Swarm has a way to transparently store information, the work that Nagy has put in has to do with keeping sensitive information private , even if it’s on a third-party computer.

To ensure that this encryption is possible, there’s a “counter mode” implemented with Swarm. During any dispute, the protocol verifies ownership with a small bit of encrypted information, though nothing else is revealed that can compromise security. The only way for users to get access remotely is with private and public key pairs.

Anyone who participates will keep groupings of encrypted data on their computer and can even maintain some sense of plausible deniability. Furthermore, since the keys cannot unlock data, there’s no potential for legal issues with Swarm. This concept is important and necessary for Nagy, because the only way to keep a healthy society is with attack-resistant storage options.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Nagy said,

“Storage is the shared experience of humanity. The difference between hunter-gatherers and us is exclusively the amount of stored information that we have access to. There is no other difference between us.”

Right now, the protocol is considered to be in its public alpha stage, which means that anyone can run nodes, but the data is still under heavy development. From here on, there will be ether incentives available for anyone who decides to participate in the Swam network, but there is still some work to do. Adding to that work, Nagy notes that the encryption of the Swarm network is meant to be “as smart contract friendly as possible,” making it possible for developers to integrate it simply. Despite the fact that the goal of Swarm is for the storage of smart contract information in a decentralized manner, there are many other cases that it can be applied to.

In the last year, Swarm has managed to collaborate with multiple companies in the last year, like Livepeer (a video streaming startup) and Datafund (a private-based protocol for data management). Nagy is also using the technology to create BeeFree, a censorship-free social media platform. The efforts are being worked on with Dimitry Khokhlov, who is also an Ethereum Foundation developer.

In the partnership, the pair aim to use technology to create alternative platforms that don’t protect users and data from censorship.

Nagy added,

“We have access to a kind of shared pool of knowledge that humanity has accumulated, and if that is being censored, that makes us much, much, much dumber as a society.”

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