When you use the Network to store some data it is split into ‘chunks’. Each chunk is securely encrypted with a set of credentials that are only known by the creator—who has the keys to unlock the data and reassemble it into information again.

These credentials never touch the Internet.

Data ‘chunks’ are then sent to the Network, duplicated several times for extra security, and dispersed evenly and randomly across the globe, along with a map of where they are and how to reassemble them. Once again this is securely encrypted and only accessible to the holder of the keys.

The encrypted data chunks are held by a multitude of everyday devices, called nodes, these all offer a small portion of their spare, under-utilized capacity, to securely hold a small collection of encrypted data chunks, serving them back to their owner when asked.

Nodes in the Network are independent but work together in cooperation. Each has a randomly determined location in the Network, and from this location, monitors the health and behaviour of neighbouring nodes it connects to. Nodes check and double-check each other's ability to keep on holding and serving data.

They cooperate based on a set of rules and incentives that reward good behaviour but shun the bad; quickly dropping uncooperative nodes from the Network

Each piece of data stored is looked after by a small number of nodes called a close group, a group which only exists for that specific data. This allows nodes to act independently, but together to form a strong autonomous global network, capable of storing and retaining data in perpetuity.

As nodes come and go, as devices are turned on or off, this redundant data is replicated again and shuffled to new nodes that must perform the same task.

Nodes are rewarded for holding data, and offering their spare capacity for the collective good, by payment in a currency native to the network that acts as a medium of exchange for these resources, and allows the autonomous market to function. This currency is referred to as ‘network token(s)’.

When someone (a person or a collective) uploads data they pay a one-time fee at point of upload and then the data is stored for the lifetime of the Network. It will always be free for the owner to access and download, it is perpetual data.

While perpetual data is an attractive proposition in an age of spiralling ongoing costs, it is also essential if the data owner is to have true sovereignty, autonomy, and control over the data they own: you cannot be blocked from it and you cannot lose access to it.

That frees owners of data—whether they’re individuals, collectives or organisations—from ongoing charges by cloud providers as well as on-going contract renegotiations, truth of source, and terms of access (and use).

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