With the support of the Ethereum Foundation twice, will EthStorage become the storage center of Ethereum?

Author: Alfred, LDCapital

One of the hottest tracks this year should be the L2 track that enhances the scalability of blockchain. After successful implementation, faster speed and lower costs will promote the gradual prosperity of Web3 applications, and the generation of a large amount of data in the future will create a demand for explosive storage. This article will focus on EthStorage, the first-place winner in this year’s EDCON Super Demo, and look back at the decentralized storage track, which has low market heat recently but huge potential.

1. Development Process of Network Storage

Consensus, computation, and storage are the three pillars and underlying infrastructure of Web3. When data and information are generated, storage is needed. Since the birth of computers, storage technology has been continuously exploring and breaking through. This article divides it into four stages.

1. Centralized Storage: Centralized Storage + Centralized Management

Computers initially used paper tape to record data, and later IBM manufactured the first hard disk in 1956 as a storage medium, which is the storage method we are familiar with today.

The devices for centralized storage have been iterating, such as hard disks, magnetic tapes, storage cards, SSDs, etc. However, the storage architecture is fixed, and terminal devices can access and request data from storage resources through the network, but all data storage resources are centralized in a central location or server for unified control and management.

2. Cloud Storage: Distributed Storage + Centralized Management

In 2006, Amazon AWS was launched and introduced the EC2 and S3 cloud storage services, ushering in a new era of storage. Microsoft, Google, Alibaba, and others have followed suit and become the most widely used storage method today.

Cloud storage adopts a distributed storage architecture, using multiple servers to store data in a dispersed manner, dividing data into multiple server backups, reducing single point failures, and having features such as reducing data redundancy and elastic expansion. However, the servers of cloud storage are managed centrally by cloud service providers, and the actual control of the data does not belong to the users.

3. Traditional Blockchain Storage: Distributed, Full-Node Storage + Decentralized Management

Since the birth of Bitcoin, blockchain network storage has become an alternative solution to centralized storage and management. Through distributed storage, consensus mechanisms, and transaction verification mechanisms, blockchain ensures data security and immutability, while meeting the characteristics of decentralized storage and management.

However, the storage costs of blockchain networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are high and the efficiency is low, mainly because the network architecture of these blockchains is not designed from the perspective of storage. Each node needs to store a copy of the data, and the block space is limited. For example, in the case of boring ape NFT, storing one requires at least hundreds of dollars on the Bitcoin or Ethereum network.

Source: Fundamental Labs

4. Web3 Decentralized Storage: Distributed, Multi-node Storage + Decentralized Management

Because storing data directly on the blockchain is very expensive, many web3 decentralized storage solutions and projects have emerged, such as IFPS, Filecoin, Storj, Arweave, Swarm, EthStorage, etc. The goal of these projects is to increase storage space and reduce costs while maintaining decentralized storage and management through techniques such as data segmentation, multi-node storage, and on-chain proofs.

II. ETH Modularity and World Computer

1. ETH Modularity

Since the ETH roadmap centered around Rollup began in 2021, Ethereum’s modularity has started to be established. The various layers of the single all-in-one chain are split, and the functions of different layers can be expanded by different modules or chains, a direction also known as “Endgame” by Vitalik.

Blockchain represented by Ethereum is divided into four key layers:

(1) Execution Layer: transaction processing, smart contract execution, and computation, etc.

(2) Settlement Layer: verifying execution results, resolving disputes, and settling state commitments.

(3) Consensus Layer: determining the order and validity of transactions and ensuring consistency among nodes.

(4) Data Availability Layer: ensuring data can be used, stored, and verified.

In the single all-in-one blockchain, the blockchain handles all four functions and faces the “trilemma” of blockchain. Modularizing the blockchain can split the four functions into multiple specialized layers to solve different problems.

After the modularity of ETH, the ETH main chain becomes L1, and many L2s have emerged on top of it, mainly serving as the execution layer of ETH. For example, OP Stack’s L2 technology has also developed a modular architecture to enhance future scalability. ETH will mainly maintain the data availability layer (DA) and consensus layer through modularity and Rollup, becoming the mainstream and most secure base layer, while upgrading the functionality of other layers through other chains and solutions to achieve the scalability and improve the scalability of the entire ETH ecosystem.

2. World Computer

The goal of Ethereum is to build a world supercomputer. Currently, Ethereum has done well in terms of security, but it is still making breakthroughs in terms of scalability. Rollup is an important direction to solve scalability. The modular approach can to some extent solve the trilemma of blockchain, but to become a supercomputer, it also needs to face three challenges: consensus, computation, and storage. These three challenges are also mutually constraining.

Source: "Towards World Supercomputer"

This dilemma of three priorities will lead to different trade-offs:

  • Strong consensus ledger: Essentially requiring redundant storage and computation, it is not suitable for scaling storage and computation.
  • Strong computational power: It requires repeated use of consensus when performing a large number of computation and proof tasks, so it is not suitable for large-scale storage.
  • Strong storage capacity: It requires repeated use of consensus when performing frequent random sampling space proof, so it is not suitable for computation.

Currently, traditional L2 solutions also face the problem of balancing centralized sequencer with computational efficiency, and they cannot provide strong storage capacity. The authors of the article “Towards World Supercomputer” propose a solution to the dilemma of becoming a world computer by extending the underlying architecture based on functional partitioning of the world computer.

The final world supercomputer will consist of three topologically heterogeneous P2P networks, similar to building a physical computer. They will be assembled into a world supercomputer by connecting the consensus ledger, computing network, and storage network through trustless buses (*connectors) such as zero-knowledge proof technology. Other components can be added according to the specific needs of the application. By appropriately selecting and connecting each component, a balance can be achieved among the three dilemmas of the consensus ledger, computational power, and storage capacity, ensuring decentralization, high performance, and security of the world supercomputer. EthStorage plays the role of a storage solution in the architecture of the supercomputer.

Source: "Towards World Supercomputer"

If based on this framework, the transaction process of Ethereum’s world supercomputer will be divided into the following steps:

  1. Consensus: Use Ethereum to process and reach transaction consensus.
  2. Computation: The zkOracle network performs related off-chain computation by quickly verifying the proofs and consensus data passed through zkPoS as a bus.
  3. Consensus: In certain cases, such as automation and machine learning, the computation network will use proofs to transmit data and transactions back to Ethereum or EthStorage.
  4. Storage: For storing a large amount of data from Ethereum, such as NFT metadata, zkPoS acts as a messenger between Ethereum smart contracts and EthStorage.

Source: "Towards World Supercomputer"

III. ETH Storage

1. Introduction

EthStorage is the first Layer 2 solution that provides programmable dynamic storage based on Ethereum data availability. It can extend programmable storage to hundreds of TB or even PB levels at a cost of 1/100 to 1/1000.

The team has received funding from the Ethereum Foundation twice, supporting their research on data availability and L2 dynamic dataset storage proofs using Ethereum L1 contracts. They also won first place at the 2023 EDCON Super Demo.

2. Technical Features

Highly Integrated with ETH

The client of EthStorage is a superset of the Ethereum client Geth, which means that when running a node of EthStorage, it can still participate in any process of Ethereum normally. A node can be both a validator node of Ethereum and a data node of EthStorage. The Data Provider module of each EthStorage node will initiate a connection request with the Data Provider of other EthStorage nodes. When they are connected to each other, it actually forms a decentralized storage network.

Source: "EthStorage - The First Ethereum Storage L2"

Users of EthStorage can directly use existing wallets to interact with all applications built on top of the storage, whether it’s NFTs, decentralized social networks, or decentralized games, to minimize the entry barrier for users to access EthStorage. At the same time, the EVM-compatible EthStorage can bring excellent interoperability to smart contracts. For example, if user A wants to set an image for the NFT they minted, using EthStorage, A only needs to execute one Ethereum transaction. When using Arweave, A needs to submit one Arweave transaction and two Ethereum transactions, and cannot achieve synchronous execution like EthStorage.

Source: "EthStorage - The First Ethereum Storage L2"

Decentralized Solution Based on DA Layer

In fact, EthStorage adopts a similar architecture to L2. A storage contract will be deployed on Ethereum as the entry point for data operations of EthStorage, and the proofs of off-chain storage data of data nodes also need to be verified through this contract.

Comparison with current L2:

  • Rollup (L2) stores the state tree off-chain, and the on-chain commitment is the root of the state tree. After receiving new data, Rollup also needs to execute transactions off-chain to complete the state transition process and establish a new state tree;
  • EthStorage stores data off-chain, and the on-chain commitment is the proof of data storage. When EthStorage receives a request to update the storage data, it will generate new storage proofs for these data.

From the above, it can be seen that the current direction of scalability for Optimism Rollup or ZK-Rollup is to scale Ethereum’s computational capabilities, while EthStorage Rollup aims to scale Ethereum’s data storage capabilities.

At the same time, EthStorage is a modular storage layer that can run on any blockchain as long as there is an EVM and a DA layer to reduce storage costs (* but many Layer1s currently do not have a DA layer), even on Layer2. For example, EthStorage is currently considering how to use its technology to implement fraud proofs on Optimism. The corresponding DA layer has also been enabled on Optimism.

Dynamic Storage

From the perspective of system design architecture, Filecoin and Arweave are more suitable for static storage, where a large amount of data can be uploaded to decentralized storage, but cannot be modified or deleted, only new data can be uploaded. Thanks to the key-value storage paradigm, EthStorage supports CRUD operations, which include creating new storage data, updating storage data, reading storage data, and deleting storage data. This is easy to achieve in centralized storage, but currently only EthStorage can do this in decentralized storage.

Source: EthStorage Official

Creating Ethereum Network Access Protocol

In Web2, browsing web pages, sending emails, downloading files, and other activities all rely on the HTTP protocol, which is one of the most common protocols on the Internet. The HTTP protocol defines how resources are transmitted and exchanged between clients and servers, and URLs are used to identify the location of these resources on the Internet. When a URL is entered in a web browser or a link is clicked, an HTTP request is triggered, which uses the URL to determine the requested resource. The web browser parses the URL, communicates with the server using the HTTP protocol, requests the specific resource, and displays it to the user after receiving a response from the server. The HTTP protocol and URL work closely together to form the foundation for browsing, interacting, and transferring resources on the web. However, the data of Web2 web pages or Internet services is hosted on centralized servers. When the server’s subscription expires, the cloud services used by the application will stop, and the application’s data will be deleted by the centralized service provider.

The founder of EthStorage proposed the Web3-based network access protocol — ERC-4804, which was ultimately reviewed and approved through EIP. ERC-4804, full name EVM Call Information Decoding Web3 URL, is an HTTP-style Web3 URL (*web3://) that calls information from the EVM. It is the first network access protocol on Ethereum. Unlike Web2, which accesses server resources, the web3:// access protocol directly renders resources hosted on Ethereum smart contracts, including HTML, CSS, PDF files, and more.

In simple terms, web3:// (*http://web3url.io) is a decentralized http://. It adds a decentralized layer to Ethereum, allowing users to directly browse web content hosted on the EVM, such as web pages, images, songs, and more, with the EVM as the decentralized backend.

Source: EthStorage Official

3. Current Status and Plans

Product Applications

Through EthStorage, decentralized storage can be used as the underlying layer to re-enable internet applications (*currently, many Dapps still use centralized storage methods), such as dynamic NFTs, on-chain music NFTs, personal websites, hostless wallets, Dapps, Deweb, and more.

Source: EthStorage Official

Using DeWeb as an example:

We know that Ethereum is a decentralized network, and many decentralized applications (dapps) have been created on Ethereum. However, these dapps are not completely decentralized. Many of their front-ends are still hosted on centralized cloud services. For example, when the front-end website of Uniswap goes down or when trading pairs are deleted, and when Tornado.Cash’s front-end service is suspended due to suspected money laundering, it is because their front-ends are hosted on centralized servers and cannot effectively resist censorship. However, with the use of EthStorage, web files and data are hosted in smart contracts and run and maintained by a decentralized network, greatly enhancing censorship resistance. By leveraging the programmability of smart contracts, DeWeb can be implemented, enabling many interesting applications such as De-github, De-blog, and various dapp front-ends.

Source: EthStorage Official

Currently, EthStorage has not announced any token plans, but in the test network, you can use and interact with the test token W3Q.


According to the roadmap released by EDCON, in 2023, EthStorage will mainly be in the testing phase in the test network and will be developed and tested in conjunction with the Ethereum Cancun upgrade. In 2024, it may go live on the mainnet, fully integrating Danksharding, CL+EL clients, and Web3 browser access.

Source: EthStorage Official

IV. Overview of Other Storage Projects

Filecoin: Filecoin is a decentralized storage network built on IPFS. IPFS is a protocol that uses a distributed hash table (DHT) for storing, addressing, and transmitting data (similar to the HTTP protocol). Filecoin serves as the incentive layer for IPFS and also acts as an open storage market. Filecoin uses a contract-based model to ensure data persistence and combines zero-knowledge proofs, especially proof of space-time and proof of replication. On March 14th of this year, Filecoin announced the official launch of the Filecoin Virtual Machine (FVM) to support smart contracts and user programmability.

The characteristics of Filecoin are: having a separate chain and incentive system; large static storage space and low cost; support for FVM virtual machine after upgrade.

Arweave: Arweave adopts the “pay once, store forever” model, where a one-time payment covers the cost of permanently storing the data, and retrieving the data does not require additional payment. Arweave uses random access succinct proofs to create a native data structure called Blockweave, where each block is linked to a Recall Block and a historical Recall Block. For nodes, the prerequisite for forging a new block is to synchronize a Recall Block and the most recently generated block data.

The characteristics of Arweave are: having a separate chain and incentive system; on-chain storage and permanent storage; relatively weak interoperability with other chains.

BNB Greenfield: Greenfield focuses on promoting decentralized data management and access, aiming to simplify data storage and management and connect data ownership with the DeFi environment of the BNB Smart Chain (*BSC). The complete BNB Greenfield system can interact with the mature BSC public chain and the BN community users. When users want to create and use data on Greenfield, they can interact with BNB Greenfield dApps (decentralized applications) and BNB Greenfield core infrastructure.

The characteristics of BNB Greenfield are: the last puzzle piece of the Binance “Trinity” ecological network, strong operability within the ecosystem, circulation and use of BNB across various chains; adopting the structure concept of Amazon S3 “bucket”; off-chain storage and on-chain verification.

5. Summary

Storage is one of the three pillars of the Web3 network. Decentralized storage can only be truly realized when it is implemented, which allows for data ownership and a sovereign network. Otherwise, the significance of developing blockchain networks at the expense of centralized efficiency is limited. This track belongs to the underlying foundation, has potential, and carries great significance.

Currently, compared to other tracks, decentralized storage has lower market popularity, mainly due to the underdeveloped stage and insufficient demand. When the development of Layer 2 makes Dapp applications cheap and fast, the accumulation of a large amount of data and the demand for value will push the market popularity towards the decentralized storage track.

EthStorage, as an emerging project, has a good ecological foundation on Ethereum and strong interoperability. It can be combined with other L1 and L2 layers that have DA layers, providing new development directions and solutions. Currently, each decentralized storage project also has its own focus and continues to develop, looking forward to the market’s shift towards the era of the storage track.


1. EthStorage official website

2. “Towards World Supercomputer” by Xiaohang Yu, Kartin, msfew – Hyper Oracle, Qi Zhou – ETHStorage

3. “EthStorage – The First Ethereum Storage L2” by 0xhhh, 0xCryptolee

4. “Decentralized Storage: A Pillar of Web3” by Fundamental Labs

5. “Modular Blockchain: An Engineering Solution for Ethereum to Become the ‘World Computer'” by IOBC Capital

6. “EthStorage: Storage Performance for Scaling the Ethereum Ecosystem” by Mint Ventures

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