Survivors of the 2017 speculative bubble around the blockchain are just beginning to offer the first encrypted services networks. Enough to revive the attention on « DeFi », decentralized finance.
In 2017, an incredible frenzy was stirring up the world of cryptomoney, perfectly illustrated by Filecoin. This start-up specializing in blockchain [blockchain, a cryptography-based technology that stores and transmits information in blocks without centralized control] had raised $257 million [211.7 million euros today] on the simple promise of building a decentralized data storage service.
At the time, investors had spent nearly $20 billion on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), digital token offers from companies that promised to build new digital infrastructure [see box]. Many have since disappeared, and ICOs have quickly fallen out of fashion.
Last fall, however, Filecoin’s service was finally launched. The people vying for its tokens [by providing storage on their machines] have already committed to a capacity of 1.3 exabytes, reports Juan Benet, the initiator of the project. One exabyte is 500 times the amount of data stored by all U.S. research libraries. User requirements still represent only a tiny percentage of this volume, but Filecoin wanted to first assemble a large storage capacity – and the result far exceeds its expectations, says Juan Benet.
What is a ICO ?
In the world of cryptomoney, Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is a way to raise funds by issuing digital tokens that can be exchanged for cryptomoney (mainly Bitcoin or Ether, the most famous of the block chain currencies). Unlike shares, tokens do not give access to shares in the company’s capital but to a right to use the service to be developed. These tokens are traded on platforms at a price that fluctuates according to supply and demand.