EOS may soon offer a solution for on-chain data storage. There’s evidence of a new network resource, called “DISK,” which could give developers a better way to store some types of smart contract and DApp data.
According to the project’s GitHub pages, EOSIO software will include a database called “eosio.kvdisk,” which consumes a new network resource called DISK. This database has a higher capacity and higher CPU consumption than its RAM-based counterpart, potentially reducing costs for app developers.
Corvin Meyer auf der Heide, CTO of Blockchain Solutions, discovered the feature today. He explains:
“From what I see it’s not about file-storage. It’s about cheaper, but slower on-chain, in-contract-storage for computational tasks and not the storage of large files… Putting hashes on chain makes sense and probably that is [more] affordable with DISK than with RAM.”
Though the DISK feature went unnoticed until now, he notes that it was added several months ago. Initial commits show that “disks” were described as early as November of last year.
He also suggests that the feature may be added to EOSIO’s software before it reaches EOS itself.
Efficiency on EOS
Critics of EOS have frequently called for improvements to the blockchain’s efficiency and scalability.
EOS uses a resource model to limit transactions, meaning that EOS-based DApps must pay for resources such as CPU, RAM, and NET. This allows each DApp to reserve bandwidth for its transactions.
Unfortunately, EOS has suffered from overload at times and its resource prices have occasionally surged. Last November, several DApps migrated to alternative blockchains to escape the problem. Even EOS’s parent company, Block.one, is planning to launch its social network Voice on a fork of EOS.
Complaints about scalability have died down, but EOS has suffered from similar problems in the past. Offloading some data to a separate resource could reduce the costs that DApp developers must pay.
Other features could also reduce costs. The EOS Resource Exchange, or REX, (and any of its future incarnations and third-party solutions such as LiquidApps’ VRAM) can help developers afford the resources they need.
More Blockchain Storage
There are other general file storage systems that exist on EOS, as commentators have noted.
Cryptolions recently introduced a system called Prometheus, which anyone can upload files to. EOSFileStore, an older and defunct system, worked in a similar way. Telos, a separate blockchain that runs on EOSIO software, is developing an IPFS-based storage platform called DSTOR.
There are also decentralized file storage systems integrated with other blockchains. TRON’s BitTorrent File System (BTFS), Protocol Labs’ IPFS, and Sia’s newly launched Skynet fall into this category.
These platforms have much broader appeal than EOS’s potential “disk” feature. However, the fact that the latter serves a specific pain-point for developers may be more important in the long-run.