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article imageBlockstack raises $52m to create a decentralised app platform

By James Walker     Dec 6, 2017 in Technology
Blockstack has raised over $52m from its ICO which closed last week. The company is creating a user-controlled app platform that addresses the centralisation at the application-level of the Internet. You retain control of your data by storing it locally.
Decentralising apps
Decentralised applications are a growing centre of interest online as more people become concerned about the centralisation at the heart of the Internet. The concept upends the currently accepted model of web app operation, where you hand control of your data to server farms that run hundreds or thousands of services. When you upload a photo to Facebook, you transfer the image to the company and allow it to store the file in a central location.
As VentureBeat reports, Blockstack's alternative approach gives users control of their data through a browser-based personal API. It's tackling the centralisation problem at the application level, using the fundamental layers of the Internet to support new decentralised JavaScript apps. Developers are given the tools they need to transparently access data in a decentralised manner, allowing powerful applications to be created without expecting you to hand over your files.
Using a Blockstack-based cloud service needn't be noticeably different to a regular centralised one. Behind the scenes, the developer uses data that's stored on your device and copied to the cloud at your request. The app developer gets access to a pointer that lets them know where your data is and how to access it. They can then retrieve it but aren't able to store it or assume implicit ownership of the file.
Control your own data
The model can be likened to the way the Internet works at its lowest levels. As you visit webpages, your browser has to find out information about each new domain name to get the address of the server behind it. The Internet is by nature decentralised but increasingly this trait is disappearing at the application level. As soon as the server's been identified, the Internet's infrastructure cares less about preserving decentralisation.
With Blockstack, the browser has to lookup information about each file. Its location can't be asserted because it could be on your device and you might have restricted the app's access to it. The data in the resulting network is as decentralised as the network itself, improving security, privacy and resiliency against cyberattacks.
With its ICO complete, Blockstack now has the resources it needs to build a complete ecosystem based on its technology. Its next step is to offer blockchain-based tokenised payment options, allowing developers to charge for their Blockstack apps. You can try a limited version of the network today by heading to Blockstack's website. The company's also looking for developers to create more apps for the platform.
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