Video Of The Week: Filecoin

One of the crypto projects I am most excited about is Filecoin, which comes from USV portfolio company Protocol Labs, which also produced the popular hypermedia protocol IPFS.

In this talk, from the Blockstack Berlin conference last month, Protocol Labs founder/CEO Juan Benet talks about Filecoin, why they are building it, and how it will work.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    was this one of those ‘accredited investor’ (only) gigs?

    1. Barabare

      Yes. I understand those who are ideologically opposed to the accredited investor test, but you really cannot fault them for going that route. They sold a SAFT (simple agreement for a future token), which is essentially an IOU sold to accredited investors pre-launch of the network, with the tokens delivered when the network launches, as the argument that it’s a functional utility token not subject to the securities laws is much weaker pre-launch of the network.Most ICOs are blatantly illegal securities offerings when marketed to U.S. investors. People have been arrested and the SEC is apparently ramping up for many more enforcement actions, so it would have been extremely risky for them to proceed in another manner.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Isn’t it a bit odd that the behaviour isn’t considered the same in either case, as I imagine the money has already flowed to Filecoin?

      2. awaldstein

        Most is not correct unless you have data.A bunch certainly.There is no more or less fraud dependent on target of the investors to anything I’ve ever seen.

        1. Barabare

          I did not say they were frauds, I said they were illegal securities offerings. Under the United States securities laws, you cannot sell securities without registering them with the SEC or relying on a valid exemption from registration (such as the various exemptions that let you sell to accredited investors). Terming it an “ICO” does not mean it’s not a security. This is not to say the business are fraudulent or that the current system great — they could be real great businesses and we should perhaps let them be sold in ICOs in some manner, but under current law, most agree that it’s illegal.

  2. Vendita Auto

    It seems to me that access to D-Wave systems will be crucial to blockchain as cyber security will be about D-Wave generated algorithms v algorithms (algo’s evolution Turing/John McCarthy/Deep Blue) without mortal intervention. Blockchain systems will not be secure against D-Wave warp speed calculations in the hands of a modern day Claude Shannon I hear much about blochain as if the world stops whilst we implement just another system IMO without access to D-Wave Filecoin is a well intentioned group of people that I admit are technically well above my pay grade, but one cannot imagine D-Wave is not very close or Micius is not in orbit.

  3. PhilipSugar

    Loved the talk. In no way, no way is this a diss. People have been working on this for 30 years. Started with SETI:… and I knew founders at Parabon: in the 1980’s second in the 1990’sBlockchain has made it possible to pay people.BTW: This is nothing new. First things were mainframe, then client server, then internet where you hosted, then “the cloud” and maybe back again to distributed.History Rymes

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Perhaps I’m not fully understanding, however people could always be paid to work on blockchain (with fiat currency) — it’s just now structured so that “anyone can be an investor” and anyone can gain/gain future “profit” from their efforts now in these incentivized crypto-asset structures (a.k.a Pyramid-Ponzi schemes). E.g. Resulted in all kinds of people globally collaborating for aligned goal of raising the value of the crypto-asset(s) of choice, and with relatively little individual risk for people investing.

      1. PhilipSugar

        Not debating about the value of for instance bitcoin.Saying that if you look at the history of computing, which certainly has changed the world and society in a way much faster than even say the industrial revolution.Things always go decentralized, centralized, and then back again. It is a pendulum: Newton’s Law, and things get faster because of Moore’s Law.We hit the pinnacle right now, the apex of the pendulum with the four horseman of the internet. It will swing back.

        1. bubba123

          On top of what Matt Myers says,USV writes their investment is in “Protocol Labs”. Given this is itself an equity investment standard portfolio company. It is once again centralised. i.e. Protocol labs will be the money machine if this is successful – not the file coin miners.All of these things are scams.

    2. fredwilson

      Sure does. And eventually someone gets it right

      1. PhilipSugar

        Absolutely. YouTube is one of the greatest examples of this, same for SmartPhones.Eventually the stars line up and then you are on for a ride.Too early is the same as wrong, but everything is built on top of everybody else’s effort.

  4. Matt A. Myers

    One question I have always wondered re: a Filecoin system: doesn’t a lot of savings of storing things in the cloud come from 2+ people have the same file, and therefore you don’t need to store that file more than once for a person, you simply link/give access to the 2+ people for that file? How does a system presented like Filecoin compare?

    1. LE

      First here is a bricks and mortar version of that concept (which I will use to offer an answer in a non technical way).Say you are a vendor of a commodity product. Let’s say it’s a lawn mower. You decide to use Amazon to pick and pack that mower so that when an order comes in Amazon takes care of fulfillment. Next one of your competitors decides to sell the exact same lawn mower model and use Amazon as well. So instead of having two of the same lawn mowers Amazon has only 1 of the particular model in a particular warehouse. [1] The idea makes more sense if there are 20 models and 20 vendors obviously. Now let’s extend the concept. Instead of Amazon running the warehouse and fulfillment there are 6 garages where lawn mowers are stored and fulfilled. And those garages (the hard drives, ok?) store a combination of the 20 models as calculated by sales to be most efficient. So essentially instead of Amazon being in charge ‘everyone’ is in charge (not sure that is the correct way to put it). Order comes in and gets shipped from a garage to the end user.Does this make sense as an explanation and answer? Point is with filecoin (at least as I understand it) you could take care of the ‘same file’ in a beneficial way storage wise just as is done now.How this relates to files for anyone unfamilar: There is your picture (right now next to your name). It is used by 100 people who are fans of “Matt A. Myers” (or Tom Cruise who I’ve said you look like). They decide to store the photo in google could. Google only has to store 1 copy of that photo and a pointer not 100. It would stay as only 1 copy until all 100 people deleted it. As long as 1 person needed it it would remain. Well the same thing would scale with something like filecoin. (Once again as I understand it..)[1] Note by the way that new car dealers do a version of this with inventory whereby manufacturers spread inventory over several dealerships and give access to many thereby reducing costs.

      1. PhilipSugar

        There are a couple of things that break down when analogies start happening.For instance: He says you pay for a hammer one time and then it is yours. Well that is great but when it comes to computers, there are constant updates. That requires constant expense. That hammer never breaks (BTW: I think cars are going the way of software)Now for your file example: Storage used to be crazy expensive. So that changes things. Think about something that went from $2mm a Gigabyte to 5 cents. YES……INSANE.

        1. LE

          Yep Unix multi user system that I bought in 1985 had a 70mb hard drive. Extra drive was $4000 in 80’s dollars (or maybe that was the extra 2mb of memory don’t recall exactly). You could easily run an entire 20 person business on that machine.God I loved this machine. Strung Wyse terminals to it all over the place. (Playing with that and learning to program it was the reason I made that money that I told you about a few days ago..)… https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          1. PhilipSugar

            Damn I have strung a ton of Wyse terminals.I want everybody to show their age and answer:Have you ever done a vampire tap on thick coax.How about searched for a broken connection on 10base2 when somebody jammed their computer into the wall.Or have split fingers from wiring IBM Token Ring.

          2. LE

            I’ve got all sorts of things that I picked up from Black Box (was in Pittsburgh back in the day) for cables, testing and what not. I refuse to throw it out. Below is rs232 stuff one example. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

        2. LE

          there are constant updatesThe technology industrial machine is conditioned to not worry about things like service after the sale or minor details like that. Part of that is just arrogance and part is this entire move to push work and blame on the end user. Who is a sucker enough (en masse) to accept it ‘it’s me I guess’. Only industry that really happens with. You know you go to a hotel and if the HVAC doesn’t work you call the front desk and someone comes up and gets it working. They don’t tell you to do a web search and do it yourself, right?

          1. PhilipSugar

            There are two issues at work here.First is my point. People think you can capitalize software like for instance a house. Problem is that the work never goes away. It is a pure expense. Put in a new roof lasts for 30 years. Put in a new feature, you live with it forever. It’s like having a child.Second is the stupid user tax. If you are mainstream you will have stupid users that have nothing better to do than call you.

          2. LE

            If you are mainstream you will have stupid users that have nothing better to do than call you.I learned early on that if you have someone knowledgeable answer the phone that it was in some cases important for them to sound ‘stupid’ (the CSR).Why?Because if you sound like you know what you are doing (like if I took calls) people will then waste more of your time because they think they found someone who can help them with everything ‘ok this guy is smart let me pick his brains’.So the way you deal with that (if you are smart) is to talk in a way that telegraphs ‘I am not that smart’. It’s actually a tone of voice and a speech pattern that you can use to hide that you have a clue. And I’m not kidding.When I was in college I used to fish for information from companies because there was no internet. So in many cases you’d get some guy at a big company (and I am sure you’ve done this) who would spend an hour on the phone just telling you whatever you wanted to know. Helped to play the college student and I did that well into my late 20’s said I was ‘working on a project’ and the guard went down. Besides they liked to talk.

        3. Michael Elling

          IPv6 has been around for over 2 decades but still is less than 40% penetrated despite “obvious” benefits to all. Not entirely sure how IPFS solves for this chicken and egg issue that will become even greater with 5G, gig-access, IoT, etc….; let alone “universal” access. The threats of balkanization and obsolescence to any (digital) business model are growing by the (nano)second. Juan claims IPFS can solve a lot of problems that were clearly identified 2400 years ago by a bunch of Greeks; only they didn’t know digital back then. So problems are even bigger now.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        Your explanation makes sense, however it didn’t really answer my question as to why it’d be equal cost or cheaper? If there are 1,000,000 people who store the same song in the cloud, currently there’s 1 copy with practically no cost for retrieval.So it breaks down then to not trusting “Amazon” to store the file and provide it when requested, and therefore you distribute it amongst many (so as long as enough “garages” have enough of the file, you can retrieve it), otherwise in the version of “1 copy [exists] until all 100 people deleted it” is once again requiring a central platform that is deciding to let “Amazon” keep the file until they officially delete it? …All those 100 people still need to trust a central source though then to not delete a file that the central source ultimately controls, otherwise each of those 100 people would need to store 100 different images with “Amazon,” no?Also, you’d have to trust that central source to actually delete it and not simply soft delete it? Or if each of the 100 people stored the same file individually, then they each have ultimate control/sovereignty — yet in this version, this is where / what I am asking — you literally then are using 100x the space, and therefore cost for each storing and each retrieval. I suppose if we reach a point that storage is infinite then this doesn’t matter, however retrieval costs – where if energy and CPU time becomes free at some point doesn’t matter either – will be more than they currently are; and dictatorships cut off communications as one of their primary tools, so whether a file is decentralized or not, it’s hardware and mesh network that would be the solution.I’d like to see a basic, foundational, cost comparison for both — something like that you’d see in a slide in pitch deck of the various use cases, comparing today + future they see.

  5. Frank W. Miller

    Mining is a PROBLEM, not a solution. Blockchains will not move forward until engineers realize this. Not only is there a waste of electricity and hardware and so on on a monumental scale but his stated goal of decentralization will not work either. If mining is the incentive, a large player (probably state sponsored) will build gigantic facilities specifically designed to win, just like whats happened with btc. The root of that problem is mining. You’ll have to come up with something else. Fred’s comment below is right, eventually, someone will get it right, but this ain’t it.Also, Filecoin should be looking at something like Cassandra if they are interested in storage. Its completely decentralized, its open source so its transparent like Linux, and it really really works already. If they could come up with a way to incentivize folks (with something other than mining) to join the ring, most of the work they are doing would be already done.

    1. bubba123

      Frank exactly. Bitcoin – 50%+ of miners are in China. XRP 97% is held by top 10 holders!Decentralisation does not work

  6. Sometimes less is more

    I would prefer you upload one high quality blog post per week instead of continually “filling space” with fluff merely so you can continue your routine of posting daily.

    1. PhilipSugar

      Don’t usually reply to to trolls but your fake name is telling. Less would be you not commenting……do you see the irony of your post? I mean seriously your post is funny. Actually made me laugh that somebody could be so self unaware.

  7. Ed

    What do you mean by “until recently”. Together, with your statement, “no one was clear”, brings no Further clarification to the issue.

  8. bubba123

    All these things are scams. and I don’t know why a credible VC like mr Wilson promotes it. Oh yeah! because it’s free money for him. If you own shares of the portfolio company, it’s nice for your company to sell a token that has no redeemable $ value or security attached to it because your portfolio company receives cash for working capital. It’s like free capital. Why the heck did kik messenger need to issue a token?! And now we have “protacol labs” issuing a “file coin” -Why doesn’t Mr Wilson explain? Why doesn’t ever cover this aspect of token issuances…