• Starboard

Fil+: Accelerate Storage Rewards And Service Reputation With DataCap

To advance Filecoin’s mission of storing humanity’s most important information, the Filecoin Plus (Fil+) Program (outlined in Filecoin Improvement Proposal (FIP)-0003), acting as a layer of social trust, was added to the Filecoin network. Through the program, off-chain verifications are incorporated with on-chain incentives to reinforce the quality and value of onboarded data. The off-chain verifications are done by community-selected notaries, who examine the data quality and allocate DataCap- a novel on-chain resource denominated in storage capacity units (i.e. TiB, PiB, etc.)-to storage clients' wallets. The on-chain incentives are achieved by incentivizing storage providers to take storage deals embedded with DataCap (known as Fil+ deals) to increase their likelihood of earning the network’s block rewards.


Key Takeaways:

  • Both storage clients and storage providers can benefit from the Fil+ Program by onboarding valuable data and providing storage services.

  • Notaries will grant a storage voucher named DataCap to qualified storage clients, who can use it to encourage storage providers to provide better storage services at no cost.

  • Starboard aims to improve the efficiency of DataCap application and circulation for building a more vibrant and transparent Fil+ Program.


DataCap: boosting rewards with the Filecoin Plus (Fil+) Program

Storage clients can use DataCap as an instrument to lower the costs of onboarding valuable data to Filecoin. Storage fees on Filecoin can be relatively low at present even without DataCap, but clients with DataCap have advantages in attracting experienced storage providers to move their data from centralized clouds to Filecoin at no cost, which is a technology-heavy and time-consuming process.


Storage deals embedded with DataCap (Fil+ deals) allow storage providers to receive a 10 times boost to their Quality Adjusted Power (QAP), which leads to their increased likelihood of earning block rewards. Therefore, the allocation of DataCap has to crucially ensure the transparency and accountability of the Fil+ Program.


In order to manage this, the community selected––see selection criteria here––a group of independent verifiers (i.e. Notaries) to monitor the data onboarded through Fil+. Once notaries’ statuses are granted by the community, they are presented with DataCap amounts. Notaries are given autonomy in their decision-making process and will make their best judgment in granting DataCap to qualified storage clients. While notaries’ assessment criteria usually vary depending on their proposed strategies, under the principle of diversity, data addressing real-word use cases are generally what they are looking for.


Figure 1: The circulation of DataCap on BigData Exchange Platform


If general storage clients have less than 32GiB prospective data to be stored through the Fil+ Program, they can simply have data automatically verified and receive DataCap immediately. For institutional storage clients with moderate amounts of data (<100TiB), they can directly connect to notaries. The Large Data Notary (LDN) Program is specially designed for large data (>100TiB, usually 500TiB~5PiB) storage clients, and they can follow these steps to obtain DataCap according to the progress of their projects.


DataCap: increasing service reputation along the Filecoin ecosystem’s expansion

Filecoin’s storage and computation capabilities allow data services like storage, retrieval and computation etc. to be packed and transacted between clients and storage providers. The challenge is how clients can discover the best and most reliable storage providers to consume data services. Especially for those storage clients from Fil+ program, their valuable data need be stored by trustful storage providers with a proven record of service reputation.


Even storage providers cannot directly increase their service reputation by consuming DataCap, they can still leverage it as an intangible asset to demonstrate their service quality. For instance, since Fil+ clients usually have rigorous standards for data storage reliability, storage providers who have served more Fil+ deals can be deemed as widely acknowledged and accepted by a very demanding community. Plus, the more Fil+ deals for a storage provider, the more dedication he/she shows on storing valuable data rather than just piling up storage capacity for mining rewards. Therefore, if new clients with DataCap come to find a storage provider, storage providers with a high rate of Fil+ deals can be implicitly considered more trustful.


What has happened since the Fil+ Program has been launched

The diverse backgrounds of the notary community ensure the diversity of onboarded data through the Fil+ Program. Blockchain venture capitals as well as scientific research institutions have formed a community of 200 notaries that actively manage the allocation of Datacap. The Fil+ Program is a long-term growth initiative, and there is no cap on the amount of DataCap granted to notaries. As of 15 July, a total of 607.36 PiB Datacap had been granted to notaries, of which 573.73 PiB were done so through the LDN Program. Since notaries need to consistently verify data authenticity and gradually grant DataCap to clients, the amount of DataCap at notaries’ hands is generally greater than that available to clients. This results in 153.76 PiB DataCap (~25.3% of overall DataCap granted to notaries) being granted to storage clients, of which 117.88 PiB (~76.7% of overall DataCap granted to clients) have been utilized in Fil+ deals.


The amount of DataCap granted to, and used by, clients has significantly accelerated since 2022. As shown in the following figure, this metric (in yellow) has surged after January, with an average increase of 15 PiB per month. Upon receiving their DataCap, storage clients also expedite their usage of DataCap; and the DataCap utilization rate has grown from ~60% in January to 78% at present. With the upcoming data computation and content delivery services going live on Filecoin, the Fil+ Program is expected to expand at an exponential rate.



Figure 2: The amount of DataCap granted to clients and its usage ratio over time


Starboard’s goal: To help improve the efficiency of DataCap application and circulation

Currently, a market gap exists between clients having DataCap and storage providers looking for DataCap. The allocation and circulation of DataCap will become inefficient to meet the growing amount of valuable data to be stored on Filecoin. Starboard seeks to solve this shortfall by incubating products which 1. allow clients to simplify their DataCap application while 2. facilitating the usage of DataCap between storage clients and storage providers. The effects of these are twofold:

  • Creating an incentive mechanism for storage clients and data communities to onboard more useful and valuable data to Filecoin;

  • Providing storage providers with consistent and transparent supply of Fil+ deals so as to maximize their service economics and reputation.

Starboard ultimately aims to shorten DataCap circulating time among notaries, storage clients, and storage providers; and to help clients and storage providers along the preparation and delivery processes of data storage.


Summary

Economic incentivization through the Fil+ Program is just one of many ways to drive the long-term success of the Filecoin network (which relies heavily on the establishing of trustworthy relationships between clients and storage providers.) Storage Providers, who have demonstrated their reliability in storing humanity's most important information, can further elevate their reputations and incomes when providing other Web3 data services on the Filecoin network. As Filecoin Virtual Machine (FVM) launches, more Web3 data services like distributed content retrieval and privacy-preserving computation will sprout out to diversify Filecoin’s serviceability. Starboard will consistently follow Filecoin’s progress and build novel products benefiting ecosystem stakeholders accordingly.


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