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How Streamr’s Decentralised Network Revolutionizes Data Sharing

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Editorial Note: The following content does not reflect the views or opinions of BeInCrypto. It is provided for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as financial advice. Please conduct your own research before making any investment decisions.

As data has become synonymous with “digital gold,” it’s no wonder the demand for access to real-time data is skyrocketing. On the same side, as Web 3 or decentralized technologies are emerging, the shortcomings of centralized services within the Web3 stack are being addressed. 

Streamr is among such decentralized projects that provide a real-time data infrastructure as it allows data to travel via a global peer-to-peer network that is scalable, robust, and permissionless. Streamr sets itself apart through the use of blockchain technology for data sharing. 

Streamr’s real-time data delivery system operates through the help of a P2P or a Peer-to-Peer network in a pub-sub fashion. Pub-sub or Publish-Subscribe is an asynchronous communication model that supports scalable and reliable communication. 

Similar to BitTorrent, Streamr is a network of nodes that can pipe messages to one another without intermediaries. However, the key difference between the two is that Streamr is for real-time data streams, whereas BitTorrent does not operate real-time data streams. 

Launched in 2017, Streamr was launched by the founders of Streamr, who believed there needed to be a way to connect billions of devices with real-time data through the help of a decentralized network. 

The importance of real-time data must be addressed, particularly due to the growth of DePIN or Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks. This is because DePIN helps to move the work of large data centers to non-technical people around the globe, ultimately bringing in huge benefits, particularly of trust. 

DePIN is owned and operated by users, making it neither a public nor a private infrastructure. DePINs allow for building real-time data ecosystems, giving stakeholders the power to add value and additional services that help to support the ecosystem. 

At the same time, for the development of a decentralized future, real-time data is needed as this helps to power decentralized applications or dApps. DApps need external data to function, and if they remain dependent on the existing centralized data networks, dApps will eventually become liable to all the existing problems that are present in Web 2. 

These liabilities include user data being susceptible to cyber attacks, power remaining in the hands of a few, a complete lack of robustness, misuse of private data, monopolistic positions that cause inflated costs, and the risk of a single point of failure. 

These issues bring serious concerns to not only the development of decentralized applications but the entire decentralized internet or Web 3, where the promise is to give users more power over their data through decentralization. 

While an ecosystem of decentralized P2P networks already exists, Streamr development takes a completely different approach, focusing on real-time data. Through the help of this real-time data, anyone can publish events on data streams, and anyone can subscribe to streams. 

First and foremost, Streamr is a P2P network that utilizes a Pub-sub messaging pattern, including one-to-many, many-to-many, or many-to-one streaming. This allows DePIN builders to build in a UP, ACROSS, or BROADCAST fashion, depending upon the different use cases.

For example, DIMO, which is an open and user-owned IoT network that uses Streamr, is built in a UP fashion from Miner to Network. With the help of DIMO, developers can easily access barometric pressure, temperatures, and other weather-related data in real-time. This gives developers who require weather data to power their applications an ideal solution.

In the future, DIMO plans to build in an ACROSS fashion, giving miners more flexibility to connect. This will help to ensure that DIMO’s data stream is completely decentralized and not owned or controlled by any centralized authority. 

Streamr 1.0, which is the final milestone in Streamr’s original 2017 roadmap, means when it is implemented, it will lead to the implementation of the network tokenomics, meaning the network is fully decentralized. Anyone can now set up an operator node, and delegators can now delegate their tokens to the operator node. 

Within the Streamr Network, both data publishers and subscribers are Nodes in a P2P network. 

Nodes that are involved in a stream of data connect one another in a certain way, ultimately helping to form the stream’s topology through which the main function of Streamr Network can be performed. 

Therefore, every node that joins a stream does two things: it consumes the data and relays it onwards to other nodes interested in the stream. 

To incentivize good nodes who ensure data flows robustly and stably, the honest and stable nodes are paid, forming the basis of Streamr Network Tokenomics. Streamr tokenomics works similarly to the gas price of Ethereum. In Ethereum, users are constantly in a battle to incentivize miners to execute their transactions faster. 

On Streamr, users have to pay less or nothing at times if they are happy with the best-effort performance. They can also pay to incentivize nodes to make the stream more robust and secure. 

However, it is important to note that Streamr Network tokenomics is not based on buying more access to data on The Hub. On the Network, users pay for infrastructure costs for data delivery. On the application layer, users pay for access to data content. 

Users can use the Network for data delivery without using The Hub, similar to a person who can send and receive packages without ordering products or services from online stores. 

Streamr

The Streamr infrastructure consists of a tech stack that helps to connect and incentivize computers within a global peer-to-peer network. The entire stack is built on top of a decentralized transport layer, which helps to ensure resilience, fault tolerance, robustness, transparency, openness that comes with decentralization, and community building. 

To facilitate their goal, the Streamr stack offers the following multilayered technology stack:

Streamr Hub

The Hub or Streamr Hub serves as an entry point for developers, helping them to create and connect with live streaming data. The Hub is a portal that leads directly into the Streamr Network and is a step forward towards a more consciously open data approach, all while ensuring it does not undermine any Web3 ethos. 

Other than DIMO, there are several other projects on the Hub. The first includes Polygon, in which Polygon Validators are sharing their validator node’s live metrics. The second includes EthWatch, which broadcasts the live stream of Ethereum and Polygon contract events. 

Other projects that are built using Streamr include Swash, Redstone, and Unbanks. In the DePIN space, they include MapMetrics, IoTeX, and Peaq Network apart from DIMO. 

As the demand for AI is growing, Streamr hub has 90% of the features of an AI marketplace. The smart contracts can be extended to allow users to publish prompts that can get access to the output of a pay-to-access remotely run model.  

In the end, the goal of the Streamr hub is to facilitate the discovery and the delivery of what type of data exists out there, give users a comprehensive toolkit for its creation along with its management, and make it simpler for the users to subscribe to a data stream of their choice. 

Streamr Network 

Streamr Network acts as the “transport layer” of the entire Streamr stack. The network handles all messaging in a decentralized data pipeline. This layer consists of primitives known as events & streams and broker nodes.

The Streamr Nodes operate on primitives, and the collection of broker nodes consists of a P2P network that handles the decentralized messaging. The infrastructure layer, on the other hand, uses the Ethereum stack for its operations as node coordination requires robust consensus, which the smart contract implements. 

Streamr network has multiple different parts, all of which play an important role in transporting data. These include: 

Events

An event is a timestamped piece of information that contains headers and content. Headers provide the metadata of the vent, which includes its timestamp, content type, and origin. The content gives information on what format the content is in. Both are encoded in a binary format. 

Streams

All of the events that occur are a part of the stream. They are grouped in a logically relatable manner and stored in an ascending order. The entire metadata is stored on Ethereum’s smart contract. Streams carry five different pieces of information, namely user ID, name, description, owner, and permissions. 

Publish-Subscribe

The data delivery in the Streamr network follows the publish-subscribe paradigm. Events that occur are promptly delivered to all those who are authorized and subscribed to the stream. This can be limited depending on what kind of access the user has. 

Partitioning (Sharding)

To achieve scalability, not all the Streamr nodes handle all the traffic. This is because the event traffic within the whole network is divided into several independent parts called partitions. Each broker node handles traffic that belongs to a different set of partitions. 

Node Coordination

Streamr uses node coordination, which acts as a key coordinator for the assignment of network partitions to broker nodes in the network. Node coordination also helps to maintain changes when nodes appear and disappear. Streamr network uses its underlying Ethereum network to establish consensus for node coordination in the P2P network. 

Incentivization

Streamr incentivizes Operators (who act as the miners on Streamr) to do two things: report the checksums for their assigned partitions to the network and deliver the data to any smart contract subscribers. To incentivize, Streamr sends them $DATA. 

Event Persistence

For Streamr to turn its entire network into a decentralized time series database, the events in data streams persist in the P2P network. The achieved decentralization allows the Streamr network to achieve greater robustness, fault tolerance, anonymity, and lower costs. 

Data Provenance

To ensure hackers do not manipulate data for their monetary advantage, the Streamr Network cryptographically signs a private key. This helps to attest to the data provenance and ensures that the events on the network always carry a signature that can be verified. 

Data Confidentiality

As anyone can participate in the Streamr network by running a node, all of the event payloads of non-public streams in the Streamr network are encrypted. This encryption is done with the help of asymmetric key cryptography. Such an approach, combined with the help of encryption, brings safety. 

Streamr Smart Contracts

While several Ethereum-based smart contracts support the Streamr Network and The Hub, the Streamr Network also uses its smart contracts. These smart contracts help to improve coordination, permissions, incentivization, and integrity checking. 

Stream

The Stream smart contract is the main smart contract that holds static information and carries the permissions for the stream. 

Stream Registry

The stream registry contract holds important information about the known streams in the network. 

Network Coordinator

The network coordinator contract assigns partitions to broker nodes. These Streamr Nodes register themselves with the coordinator and receive updates on the network state by looking at the smart contract. 

$DATA

Lastly, in the Streamr stack is the $DATA token, which is a means of compensation between the data producers and consumers. It’s an ERC 20 token that ensures that the payments are handled securely. It also provides interoperability with different wallets and other tokens. $DATA has the following main jobs: 

Implement a monetization mechanism for data producers, which helps them act as a data vendor to step in wherever necessary and help the community grow to everyone’s benefit. 

$DATA is also an incentive for maintaining and operating a P2P network, as it takes resources, time, computing power, and communication bandwidth. Without such an incentive, Streamr Nodes will not participate, and the entire P2P network in which the real-time data runs will collapse. 

The primary application of $DATA includes when developers and subscribers pay for the data they want to get access to using $DATA. Additionally, data producers and the network participants are reimbursed for their participation with $DATA securely and automatically. Tokens can also be earned by running a particular node and then staking $DATA tokens on that node. 

Streamr reimburses staking awards through the help of a supply inflation process, which was decided through the help of the project’s governance. In Streamr 1.0, delegated staking was introduced, which allowed token holders to not only run a node but also stake their $DATA in return for a reward. 

Stream sponsorships are the final milestone of the Streamr project, as they bring the long-awaited incentive layer that fully activates the $DATA token economy. As streams operate an overlay of the network, stream Sponsorships attract new nodes to join the network. With the help of this, the Streamr network will become more robust from external attacks.

It will also help to prevent the data loss which is caused by node churn. When churn nodes consistently join and leave the stream, it adds instability to the topology, thereby leading to disruption in the message flow. 

In other words, through the help of Sponsorships, Streamr nodes will become bulletproof. 

Sponsorships work through the help of a smart contract that will release funds over time to operators who have joined them. Sponsors will fund sponsorships, as they will be the ones to create them by defining the terms of engagement. 

The smart contract will help to ensure the agreed terms are fulfilled, and then DATA tokens will be transferred. They must deliver on their promise to avoid losing their tokens. 

Operators and Delegators

Operators are Streamr node runners. Operators can join or leave a sponsorship at any given time as long as they agree to the penalties while signing up. Delegators, on the other hand, are the passive liquidity providers for Operators. In return, they will earn revenue from well-performing operators. 

The lifecycle of the Stream sponsorship will comprise 5 different steps and is as follows: 

Firstly, a sponsorship smart contract will be created, which will describe all policies and parameters. Secondly, sponsors will pay DATA tokens on the agreed terms. Thirdly, operators will join sponsorship by staking on it. Fourth, Operators will join the sponsored stream network and relay data in the stream. 

In the last step, if or when the sponsorship runs low on tokens, they can either be “topped up” or the reward will be given based on the configured emission rate. This process will ensure sponsorship contracts act as a decentralized mechanism that helps to manage a stream of earnings distributed within different operators. 

The unique selling point of Streamr is that it provides a real-time data infrastructure of the decentralized web or Web 3, which already sets it apart from its competitors. There are several other advantages that Streamr brings, but other decentralized data storage projects are unable to do so. Some of these include: 

Ease of mining

Unlike Filecoin, which is one of Streamr’s primary competitors, users have an ease of mining and become a part of the network. In the case of Filecoin, users have to purchase expensive hardware. In addition, users also need to have some experience in systems deployment and administration, which makes it extremely difficult for non-technical people to enter.

In the case of Streamr, the barrier to entry is kept as minimum as possible as the project believes that’s the only way for the blockchain ecosystem to grow. 

Fair token distribution

There’s an ever-existing fear of FIL, which is the native token of the Filecoin network to be dumped by its advisors. This is because, at the time of the launch, almost half of FIL supply was given to the advisors at half its existing price. In fact, Filecoin community members alleged 2020 token dumping when an unknown account received 1.5 million FIL tokens. 

Meanwhile, Streamr has ensured the supply of its $DATA is done reasonably. 

Non-Discriminative

Another key area that helps Streamr set itself apart from other projects is that it maintains a neutral stance on data and content. 

On the other hand, Arweave has a Democratic Content Policy, which creates a potential conflict as network nodes have the power to issue a blacklist against certain data types, thus hindering the idea of an “open economy.” 

Emphasis on adequate user interfaces & appropriate information

Streamr has a major focus on developer user interfaces that are much easier to use and are targeted toward people who have a relatively less technical background. Siacoin, which is one of its main competitors, has yet to offer adequate user interfaces. 

A similar issue is also present with Arweave, where the project developers are unable to provide in-depth information that can help developers when they are building on their stack. What Streamr offers is unique as it provides in-depth, dense knowledge in a relatively easy-to-navigate manner to ensure developers do not face any issues. 

The importance of data, especially one that runs in a combination of a real-time data market and the data pipeline, all while remaining decentralized, is transformative for the entire Web3, particularly because this gives a decentralized ecosystem exposure to data that has never existed before all while remaining true to decentralization. 

Streamr maintains its tech stack layered and modular to allow non-tech individuals to participate in the network in one capacity or another. 

It also hosts a publish-subscribe mechanism, which is a framework for exchanging messages between publishers and is widely used in Web2 due to its reliability. Streamr uses the same framework while making it decentralized, spread across different nodes rather than concentrated in one area, similar to centralized technologies. 

To ensure transactions are scalable, with minimum latency, Streamr divides its throughput scales linearly. This allows the network not just to scale but also to process millions of events per second. 

Streamr also allows users to sell their data directly, which gives them the power to monetize their data, all while knowing which companies and industries are using their data. Through the help of this transparency, users will be empowered, unlike in a centralized system where power is monopolized. 

Anyone who owns a personal computer or a laptop can become part of the Streamr network by becoming a node operator and earning yield on staked tokens. 

Proving its versatility and adaptability, Streamr has the potential to revolutionize different industries and applications. Some of the emerging use cases of Streamr include:

[1] Video Streaming

Traditional streaming services often need help with bandwidth limitations and central server outrages. Streamr’s P2P network can help distribute video content more efficiently by reducing latency as stream viewers become P2P distribution nodes as they consume the stream. This will help to improve the user experience. 

[2] Decentralized AI

Streamr helps to provide a strong infrastructure for real-time data collection and distribution. This is critical for training AI models, ultimately ensuring that AI systems can function without the hurdles present within centralized data servers. This helps to enable more efficient and scalable AI solutions. 

The Streamr developer community has already developed the next generation of AI technologies. Some of these AI technologies include the Streamr node AI plugin, AI video distribution, LLM routing, AI chat, Verifiable AI, AI Audits, and AI data crowdsourcing. 

As the need for decentralized data exchanges has become more apparent, Streamr can provide help to the entire Metaverse ecosystem. This can be done by providing a foundation for real-time data transmission that will enhance the interactivity and responsiveness of the virtual metaverse worlds. 

[4] Web 3 Gaming

As the importance of real-time data exchange and decentralized infrastructures is maintained in the fast-growing world of Web 3 gaming, Streamr provides a strong solution. It offers a platform where game developers can build decentralized gaming experiences with real-time player interactions and data exchanges. 

[5] dApp Messaging

Decentralized applications (dApps) at times rely on centralized servers for messaging, which leads towards a contradiction of Web 3 ethos. Streamr brings a solution as it can provide a decentralized messaging platform that enables dApps to embrace decentralization. 

Decentralization is a much-awaited answer that users are looking for due to their declining trust in large corporations. With data becoming an integral part of our day-to-day lives, it is only necessary to ensure it does not become monopolized in the same manner as that of several other industries. 

Projects like Streamr bring an important answer to the problem, giving users the utmost possession and freedom over their data. Streamr allows users to access data in real-time, which empowers the existing infrastructure by allowing it to become more decentralized. 

Streamr is bringing this power transfer to individuals, all while improving user privacy, resilience, fault tolerance, and efficiency. This will help the future of the internet to become more connected and decentralized, with the users having more freedom over their data and power over important decisions.

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