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What is Decentralized Cloud Storage and Why You Should Start Thinking About it?


Where do you keep your important data? If you are like most people, probably either on a physical medium like a hard drive on your computer and/or on a cloud server.

Cloud computing is growing every year. In fact, according to Statista, the number of personal cloud storage users (like those using Google Drive) has doubled between 2014 and 2020 from 1,136 million to 2,309 million.

But here’s the problem with centralized cloud storage.

You don’t own it. Once your data is hosted on their servers, you don’t really own your data either.

Let me introduce you to decentralized storage.

But before, read why centralized Internet is a bad idea to get the whole picture.

What is Decentralized Cloud Storage?#

Okay, so what is decentralized cloud storage?

Unlike centralized cloud storage, where your data is stored on a single cloud server, owned by Google (read here why you should drop Google) or Amazon, for instance, in decentralized cloud storage, your data is stored across multiple servers.

These servers are hosted and maintained by multiple users and groups, rather than a single company and they all work to keep your data accessible and secure.

How Does Decentralized Storage Work?#

In a decentralized storage system, your data is stored on a decentralized network, on so-called “nodes”.

Nodes are physical devices in a network (like a computer), which can receive and forward transmissions from and to other nodes in the network.

In a centralized storage system, you can download or upload files from or to a centralized data server, which in turn receives and forwards data from multiple servers.

Things work a little differently in decentralized storage.

Here, you don’t receive the entire file at once from just one server. Instead, each node in the network holds a piece of it and you download these pieces until you have the full file.

Isn’t My Data Safer With Google Than With Some Random People?#


Now, why would you have your data stored on some random nodes, run by random people?

Isn’t a multi-billion corporation like Google or Amazon safer?

No. Because those random people can’t read your data, while Google or Amazon (or any other centralized cloud provider) can.

How is this the case?

On a centralized cloud server, your data is encrypted using 256-bit encryption. Which is fine.

This means that your encrypted data can only be read if you have the decryption key.

Guess who owns that key?

Hint: it’s not you.

On the other hand, in decentralized storage, you’re the only one that has the decryption key. This means that not even those that are running the nodes can read your data.

They are only there to safely store your data.

And, even if they somehow managed to get ahold of your decryption key, it wouldn’t matter too much. Remember, it’s “decentralized”? They would only be able to access a fraction of the data and not the whole.

Decentralized Storage Pros & Cons#

Decentralized cloud storage has its pros and cons, so let’s take a look at these.

Decentralized Cloud Storage Pros#

  • It’s faster One big problem with centralized storage is that it can create a bottleneck.

Think of it as having only one road that leads to a big city. If the traffic is too high for that road, it will eventually get jammed.

Now think of having multiple roads to that same city. If you see one road getting a bit slower, you can just switch to another one and get to your destination faster.

  • Better security and privacy We already explained a bit how your data is encrypted on centralized vs decentralized cloud storage. But let’s reiterate:
    • You’re the only one who has the decryption key and can therefore access it and read it
    • Your data is stored in multiple locations, in pieces, rather than in a single location
  • Cheaper storage Of course, there are free cloud storage options that you can use, but it’s usually very limited.

For instance, Google Drive offers 15GB, iCloud 5GB (for Apple users only), One Drive 5GB, Amazon Drive 5GB (for Prime subs) and Dropbox only 2GB.

A few big files, like video games or movies and you’re all out of space on your drive.

So what then?

Then you have to start paying for storage. The problem here is that storage is limited. Which means higher cost.

Now, decentralized storage relies on nodes as we said. Individually, these nodes are small and so don’t have a lot of storage space. But, there are millions of available nodes to host your data (remember, each node holds only a piece of the data).

This leads to lower storage costs when compared to centralized cloud storage platforms.

  • Reduced file and data loss Centralized storage is like putting all your eggs into one basket. What happens when that basket gets stolen or damaged?

You’ll lose all your eggs, of course.

Decentralized cloud storage is like putting a few eggs in one basket, then a few in another and so on. If you lose some of your data/eggs, no worries, there are copies of it in other nodes/baskets.

Decentralized Cloud Storage Cons:#

  • Lack of legal accountability With centralized cloud storage, if your data is lost, the provider is held accountable.

But if your data is lost or stolen in a decentralized cloud storage? Which node in the network is accountable?

  • Technology still isn’t “ quite there” Decentralized storage is still very much in the experimental stage. And this means that a lot of people and businesses will be reluctant to migrate from the relatively stable centralized cloud storage to it.

In fact, at the moment, 94% of businesses are using centralized cloud storage, according to Cisco Global Cloud Index (2016-2021).

  • Is decentralized cloud storage superior to centralized? There’s still no definitive answer to this question and there probably won’t be for a few more years.

This means that decentralized storage is fighting an uphill battle on the market. Centralized storage providers are already well entrenched and won’t give up their positions that easily.


Even though decentralized cloud storage is still very much in its infancy and there are a lot of things to get right, the potential is clearly there, especially when it comes to security and privacy.

At Telios, we are firm believers in decentralization. Check this article on the benefits of decentralized Internet to understand why. The same, of course, goes for decentralized storage options.

Over time, we believe that more and more people and businesses will see that the benefits outweigh the problems and will turn to decentralized cloud storage.

What do you think?

5 Reasons to drop Gmail

Today, when people ask you for your email address, they don’t ask “what’s your email?”, but “what is your Gmail?” That’s how popular and widespread Google’s email service is.

For most Internet users, Gmail makes perfect sense. It’s free and convenient and everyone uses it. However, for a privacy-focused user, the popular email service has its fair share of downsides.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 4 reasons to drop Gmail (or other popular email providers) for a decentralized and secure email service.

1. Gmail Collects and Reads Your Data#

It’s no secret that Google has access to your data. And, of course, it also reads your emails.

If you ask Google, this is all to “provide better user experience and product personalization”, but most people don’t think much about what information they are “giving” to Google.

Flickr great deletion

Gmail links the following data to you:

  • Contact information
  • Location
  • Contacts
  • Search history
  • User content
  • Purchases
  • Identifiers
  • Diagnostics
  • Other data

So what does Google do with that data?

2. Selling Your Data to Advertisers#

“Now hang on just a moment there, Google says it will never sell your personal information!”

What we have here is a very clever use of the word “sell” by Google.

You see, according to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a “sale” is “any exchange of personal information for ‘valuable consideration’ (meaning ‘money’ in most cases).

Technically, that isn’t what Google is doing.

But they are still making money out of your personal information.


There are two ways that Google monetizes your data:

It directly shares data with advertisers, who can then bid on individual ads, or It builds profiles based on the user data it collects with shared interests and demographics, thanks to which advertisers can target people based on those traits.

Read more on how Google shares, monetizes and exploits your data on EFF.org.

3. Gmail Doesn’t Offer End-to-End Encryption (by Default)#

At least not by default. Look, you can install a PGP plugin for Gmail like FlowCrypt, but that’s a lot of work and Gmail wasn’t built with privacy and security of its users in mind.

That’s not to say that Gmail doesn’t have “any” type of encryption. It does have TLS or Transport Layer Security, but that only works if the data is in transit, so between the sender and the recipient. Gmail does nothing to protect your data while it’s on the sender’s or recipient’s email server (endpoints).

This is why end-to-end encryption does. It ensures that only the sender and recipient can access the email contents.

4. No Zero Access Protection#

For those unfamiliar, “zero access protection” means that the service provider (in this case Gmail) cannot access your data even if it is stored on its server.

Combined with end-to-end encryption, zero access protection ensures that you are the only one who has access to your data.


Let’s say you want to send an encrypted email to a friend. The email is encrypted using a public key, but the only way to read it is to use a private key and decrypt it with it.

Normally, in the perfect scenario, only the recipient will have that private key. However, what if the service provider, like Gmail, also has that key? They’d be able to read your encrypted emails with no problem.

But, with zero access encryption, that can’t happen and only the user has access to his or her emails.

5. It’s a Big Attack Surface#

Google has over 270 products and services under its umbrella and Gmail is but one. All of these services are in one way or another connected.

The good side of this is that everything is much easier to use and it’s all under one account and one login.

The bad side is that if one service is breached, your data is at risk on all of them.

As the largest email service in the world, Gmail is also the most likely target for email scams, spam and phishing campaigns.

According to a 2020 APWG study titled “Phishing Activity Trends Report”, 72% of all BEC (Business Email Compromise) attacks in Q2 2020 were sent from free webmail accounts and of those about 50% used Gmail.

Flickr great deletion


Again, we're not saying that Gmail doesn’t work. For most folks, it’s perfectly fine. But if you’re looking to protect your data and not have others make money out of it without your permission, then you should drop it.

Drop it for what exactly?

A decentralized & secure email service, like Telios. Telios is a peer-to-peer decentralized and encrypted email (meaning that not only is the email fully encrypted, but it is also stored locally on your device so only you have access to it).

Ready to take back control of your email data? Download the Telios app today for Windows, macOS, or GNU/Linux.

What is a Peer to Peer Network?

Internet communication happens so fast today that you might think that you are directly communicating with the other side. However, this is usually not the case and instead, data that you send from your computer first goes to a centralized server before it reaches the recipient.

This is called a “centralized” or “client-server” network

However, in some cases, such as when we want to directly share a file from one computer to the other, we don’t need a central server and instead a so-called peer-to-peer network is established.

So what is a peer-to-peer network, how does it work, what is the difference between P2P and centralized networks and is email communication done peer-to-peer?

What is a Peer-to-Peer Network?#

Let’s begin by explaining what is a peer-to-peer network.

A peer-to-peer or P2P network is one in which two or more computers are connected and share their resources without a central server in between them.

For example, when you connect your smartphone to another phone via Bluetooth to share files, you are creating a peer-to-peer network between the two devices.

Or, if you connect two computers via a USB to transfer files, you are also creating a P2P network.

The idea of a peer-to-peer network is that each computer in the network is considered equal and communication between computers is done in both ways. However, the appearance of the web browser changed all that and as content distribution became more important, we saw a shift from peer-to-peer to client-server networks.

But this wasn’t the end of the peer-to-peer network.

People still needed a way to share files quickly and in the late 1990s and early 2000s, we witnessed the arrival of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks such as Napster, Kazaa and BitTorrent.

Very soon, users started seeing these P2P networks as superior and faster when it comes to sharing files than a client-server network and many of them are still widely used today by users all over the Internet.

What is the Difference Between a Peer-to-Peer and a Server-Based Network?#

We already explained that, in a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, two or more computers interact with each other directly and without a middleman between them.

With a server-based or client-server network, all computers in the network are connected to a central computer called a “server”. This means that all data that is sent by one computer goes through that server before it can be received by another computer in that network.

For example, when you want to visit a webpage, like Telios.io, you don’t directly interact with that website but instead, the client (your browser) sends a request to the server on which the website is hosted and the server in return sends a response by downloading a copy of the webpage to your machine which is then shown in your web browser.

Decentralized P2P Network vs Distributed Network#

Another type of network-based centralized and decentralized or peer-to-peer is a distributed network.

As this type of network is often confused with a peer-to-peer network it’s useful to understand the differences between the two as well.

In a distributed network, all parts of the network are considered nodes and can interact with one another like in a peer-to-peer network. The difference here is that some of those nodes can temporarily become server nodes themselves to coordinate other nodes in the sub-network.

Examples and Applications of a Peer-to-Peer Network#

Here are some examples and uses of peer-to-peer networks:

  1. BitTorrent BitTorrent is perhaps the best example of how different clients can interact and share files in a peer-to-peer network. In fact, it is estimated that BitTorrent itself is responsible for more than 70% of all peer-to-peer traffic on the Internet.

  2. Zoom When it comes to video-sharing and communication, having a central server through which the communication would happen would be detrimental and would seriously slow down the communication. Instead, users can share video and audio seamlessly with each other using a P2P network through the Zoom app.

Of course, this goes for other video conferencing apps like Skype, Loom and more.

  1. Windows Windows gives several examples of a peer-to-peer network, especially with Windows 7 and Windows 8 versions.

First, in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 (prior to version 1803) you could connect all computers in your home to a Homegroup and create a peer-to-peer network in which they can share storage and other resources.

Another example of a P2P network in Windows is also creating an ad-hoc network through WiFi on Windows 7 and Windows 8.

  1. Online Gaming Platforms Although plenty of online gaming platforms like GoG and Steam use dedicated servers instead of P2P, some major publishers prefer a peer-to-peer architecture. One such is Blizzard, which distributes its games through a P2P network.

Peer-to-Peer Network Pros and Cons#

Peer-to-peer network architecture has its advantages over both centralized and distributed architecture, but even it is not perfect and has some disadvantages as well.

Let’s see what does advantages and disadvantages are:

Peer-to-Peer Advantages:#
  • There are no expenses to maintain a central server
  • If one part of the network fails, the rest is unaffected, making it more reliable
  • It’s easier to set up and implement than a client-server network
  • Less technical staff is needed and each user gets to set their own permissions as they see fit
  • Downloading files may not be affected by the Internet speed
  • It’s scalable. If extra clients are added, the networks’ performance doesn’t change
Peer-to-Peer Disadvantages:#
  • The performance of a network degrades as more devices are added to it
  • No central backup. Instead, the only way to backup files is to store them on individual computers in the network
  • P2P networks lack security as each user is responsible for their end to assign access permissions and avoid viruses and malware that can spread throughout the network
  • It is possible to get remote access to a terminal in a P2P network without permission thanks to unsecured and unsigned codes


So what about email? Is it peer-to-peer?

Traditional email services, like Gmail, YahooMail and even secure email services like Proton and Tutanota all require a central server to store data.

This means that, when you send an email to another person, that message first goes through the server before it reaches them.

Telios, however, uses a peer-to-peer network, which means that your emails can go to the intended recipient faster and vice versa and as a result, all your email content and metadata remain private.

Ready to take back control of your data and privacy? Download the Telios desktop app for Windows, macOS, or GNU/Linux (the app is still in Beta) or join our Discord channel.

What is decentralization? Benefits of a Decentralized Internet

Who controls the Internet?

If you google that question, this is the answer you’ll get:

“No one person, company, organization or government runs the Internet.”

And that is how the Internet was intended and was at first, true. But then a handful of companies started collecting and storing all data. This, to the point that you almost can’t use the Internet without them.

Sure, they may not “own” the Internet on paper, but in reality, they do.

This is why more and more people are calling for a return to the “glory days” of a decentralized and distributed Internet.

But what is decentralization and why would a (more) decentralized Internet be a good idea?

What is Decentralization?#

To understand the decentralized Internet we first need to understand what decentralization is in general.

Decentralization is a type of organizational and managerial structure in which decision-making and day-to-day operations are delegated from top management down to middle and lower management.

In the context of an organization, there are several benefits of decentralization, including:

1. It allows the organization to better diversify its products

When an organization is heavily reliant on a central authority, such as its owner or founder, it inevitably starts to stagnate as no new ideas, save those from or approved by the central authority, can swim to the surface.

In a decentralized organization, however, new ideas, markets, activities, products, etc are much more promoted.

2. Faster decision-making

Since the decisions in a decentralized organization are made closer to the problem and don’t have to be referred through the “chain of command”, this promotes faster decision-making.

In their book “Extreme Ownership”, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin explain the importance of decentralized command:

“With the understanding of the company’s mission and plan to achieve it, junior leaders must also be empowered to take action and make decisions that get the overall team closer to accomplishing that goal.”

3. Getting better executives

With more authority given, lower-level executives are in a better position to take initiative and grow their talent. This naturally makes them better at their job.

4. Less burden on the top management

In a centralized structure, where all decisions are made by the top executive(s), this creates more and more burden on them, especially as the organization grows.

Decentralizing authority serves to relieve a lot of that burden and frees up the top management from operational and day-to-day activities to focus more on managerial activities.

5. Improves control and communication

Although many organizations avoid decentralizing for the fear of losing control, in reality, decentralizing actually improves control. That’s because each department is now more accountable for its own results and their performance can be better monitored and measured.

At the same time, communication is also improved both vertically (from top management to subordinates and vice versa) and horizontally (between departments).

What is Decentralized Internet?#

Now let’s take a look at decentralization from the point of the Internet and the web.

Cory Doctorow, Special Consultant at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a leading non-profit organization for defending digital privacy, free speech and innovation, says that:

“A Web designed to resist attempts to centralize its architecture, services, or protocols so that no individual, state, or corporation can substantially control its use.”

We’ve already talked about why a centralized Internet is a bad idea, including having:

  1. A single point of failure
  2. A single source of information
  3. And the question of “who owns the data”?

Now, let’s take a look at the alternative and see what the benefits of a decentralized Internet would be.

What are the Benefits of a Decentralized Internet or Web?#

Just like decentralization in general, decentralized Internet also has plenty of advantages, including:

1. Truly own your data

Big Data companies became “big” by monetizing your data. In fact, if say, Google disappeared one day, it would take your data with it for good.

In such a scenario, can you say that you own your data?

In a distributed and decentralized Internet, however, you will both be able to store the data yourself and be the only one with the keys to them.

2. No more single point of failure

Did you know that all data that is uploaded to Facebook must pass through one of its data centers? The same goes for Google, Amazon and the rest of the Big Tech.

Now, it’s true that Facebook (or Meta) has many data centers, but if any of them fails, that’s millions of users’ data exposed because of a single point of failure.

In a decentralized network, however, participants themselves contribute to the storage capacity. This means that, if one of them fails or gets hacked, the others can jump in and plug the gap.

3. You don’t have to put all your trust in a single, central authority

While some trust in a central authority is necessary, for instance the trust in the government to protect us against criminals, that trust has its limits.

Take the situation with Flickr in 2019. Flickr was a popular photo-sharing site owned by Yahoo, but it has over the years, fallen on some hard times.

In 2018, the site was acquired by SmugMug and the next year, started deleting Flickr images of free users.

In fact, according to one user, SmugMug deleted 63% of Flickr’s photos.

Flickr great deletion This is a perfect example of the danger of “putting all your eggs into one basket” and understanding that we don’t have to put all our trust in one place as we can never know if that’s going to fail.

4. More free speech, less censorship

Censorship doesn’t come just from countries like China or Russia. It is also prevalent in the United States for example.

With the Internet controlled by Facebook and Google and they themselves have to defer to the government, free speech is becoming a rarity and is often subdued and even stomped on.

In truth, this is probably one thing for which we can’t blame Big Tech for. If they refuse, their central serves can get shut down so they have to play along.

However, with decentralized web and peer-to-peer networks, this is much harder to do as communication doesn’t go through any server.

5. It will help the Internet grow

Yes, the Internet, as huge as it already is, can get even bigger if it gets decentralized. This is where we come back to diversifying the product. If one organization, even a big one like Google, is working on everything, things get slow.

If, on the other hand, several organizations work on different Internet and web problems, we can get more solutions, tools, products and services that help the user faster.


Is decentralized Internet without fault? Of course not. We shouldn’t forget that it comes with its set of challenges.

However, at Telios, we believe that decentralized Internet advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages, especially when it comes to your data privacy and security.

What is decentralization?

Pierre Kraus

Pierre Kraus

Business Analyst @Telios

P2P protocols to pave the way to decentralization#

Decentralization tends to be associated with blockchain. But blockchain is a distributed ledger powered by a peer-to-peer network. What it means is that decentralization is made possible by peer-to-peer protocols that allow multiple devices to receive and distribute information instead of relying on a central server. Decentralized protocols can be applied for different use cases: financial transactions, file sharing, social media platforms, and you guessed it, emailing. In a decentralized architecture, computers - also called peers - are equally privileged participants in the network. They are both clients and servers at the same time.

But what does it actually mean?

Instead of downloading a file from a central server, a peer can request the file from other peers connected to the network, while sending it to other devices asking for it. It's a two-way road! The advantages are:

  • Equalitarian networks.
  • No single point of failure
  • Increases scalability

Telios uses a decentralized peer-to-peer network called Hypercore Protocol to send emails from one device to another without the need for a central server. This architecture gives users the peace of mind their data is private and only being read by the recipient. To ensure complete privacy, data needs to be encrypted when being sent over the network. Found more about it here (link).