Ethereum’s Swarm Moves Closer to Achieving a Decentralized Internet
The Swarm team has announced the immediate release of Swarm client v0.3. Swarm is a distributed storage platform and content distribution service which can facilitate decentralized hosting of websites leading to censorship-resistant content.
Code Merged into Master Branch
The main aim of Swarm is to provide a decentralized store of Ethereum’s public record. This will store Dapp code and blockchain data. It also allows users to combine their storage and bandwidth resources to ensure that these services can be used by all participants of the network.
Swarm client v0.3 is the third proof-of-concept release (POC3) of the Ethereum Swarm client. It has been deployed to the public Testnet and the Ethereum Foundation is running a cluster of 50 Swarm nodes together with a public web gateway. The POC3 code is now merged into the official go-ethereum repository’s master branch.
From a wider perspective, Swarm will facilitate decentralized web app (Dapp) creation. These include messaging, data streaming, and peer-to-peer accounting. Current Dapps on the Ethereum network include Fork Delta and IDEX, and CryptoKitties which famously caused network difficulties.
Swarm allows users to create websites that are not hosted on one server that could be subject to restrictions, but are based on a peer-to-peer network. This allows for censorship-resistant content that would be hard for governments to take down and could suit sites such as WikiLeaks.
Today, WikiLeaks published a database containing public information about employees of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which was ‘censored‘ by other sites including Medium, Twitter and Microsoft-owned Github. Microsoft, which has ICE as a client, has been threatened by developers that they will leave the platform unless they drop their support for ICE. This was due to the agency splitting up immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
— Ethereum (@ethereum) June 22, 2018
Other benefits of Swarm include being DDoS-resistant, having zero-downtime and being fault-tolerant. Zero-downtime is a strong attribute of decentralized systems in general and gives one reason why cryptocurrencies can provide a better service than traditional payment methods. Earlier this month, VISA suffered major payment issues across Europe leaving users unable to make purchases.
Swarm uses an incentive system to ensure that the system is self-sustaining. It uses peer-to-peer accounting to ensure that contributions are accurately accounted for. Nodes are able to trade resource for resource, but can receive monetary compensation if they are requiring less from the network than they are serving.
A Swarm testnet is being operated by the Ethereum Foundation which can be used to test out functionality in a similar matter to the Ethereum testnet (ropsten). Anyone can run the Swarm client node on a server, desktop, laptop, or mobile device. It is part of the Ethereum stack and the reference implementation is written in golang and can be found under the go-ethereum repository.
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