While we love blockchain’s autonomy, we’ve always been frustrated by how slow and easily congested it is. We liked IOTA in 2017 because it promised endless IoT data storage and fast, feeless transactions. Because IOTA’s focus has moved away from permanent storage, we’ve decided to build this ourselves: the immutable decentralized storage we’d like to use ourselves (as community members and as a company.)

The name PIPE comes from data pipelines, which are a set of tools and processes that move data automatically from a source to a destination. This closely aligns with the purpose of this solution: to give users control over the data they store and transfer online without having to put a lot of time and effort into it.
The PIPE stack targets developers and product owners who need decentralized storage for their products and services, but the $PIPE token will give everyone equal access to storage. Initially, the focus is on IoT, DID and NFT applications, but there are no limits on what can be stored.

PIPE is the result of five years of research and development, and it will solve the problem of how to store and transfer immutable, decentralized data for millions of machines, messages, or megabytes. Blockchains were a first attempt at this, but they scale badly. PIPE combines the open source technologies TangleHUB previously built, supported by grants, and with learnings from other decentralized storage projects.

PIPE is user-friendly because it is:

  • Performant – storage and retrieval are near real time.
  • Scalable – users can store and transfer as much as they want for as long as they want.
  • Secure – PIPE removes single points of failure and offers use of case-specific security.
  • Affordable – tokenomics promote predictable prices and remove financial friction.

In follow-up posts we will dive deeper into these characteristics.

User-friendly and secure

User-friendliness and security are not at odds in PIPE. Instead, it gives control over how they are balanced. Not everything requires the same level of security or privacy, and user-friendliness varies from user to user. PIPE gives you the flexibility your use case needs.

  • A secure system is better than a harder-to-hack algorithm.
    You must be prepared for inconvenience if you want security, but people will bypass it if it’s too difficult to use. Many cryptocurrency scaling solutions reintroduce single-points-of failure to be able to scale.
    This put us in an interesting position: “What level of security is right?” But then we realized: “Who are we to decide?” Isn’t the adagium of crypto: “You are in control (of your own security?)” We feel it is not up to us to dictate the level of security you need. Instead, PIPE lets you control the various aspects of security.
  • Developers choose the safest algorithm.
    PIPE offers hybrid encryption. This means that new signature schemes can be dropped in, according to users’ needs or the progression of cryptography.
    Do you want your data to be protected until long after quantum computers emerge? PIPE has a hybrid post-quantum signing algorithm that you can use. Couldn’t you care less about who has access to the data? Our standard setting only obfuscates the data to maintain its integrity and gives hardly any performance penalty. Do you require something in between with regards to security and performance? More conventional algorithms like EdDSA can fill that spot.
  • The user chooses the way to hold private keys.
    The PIPE architecture is agnostic to key holding. That means the key can be held in any suitable hardware or software wallet of your choice, which means the attack surface is reduced. Anyone can integrate PIPE into their wallet, so you won’t have to use a separate PIPE app, but can handle everything in the same flow. This increases user-friendliness and promotes innovation.
  • It’s more efficient to borrow consensus than run it constantly.
    We don’t think that every bit of data you store has to be checked by every computer in the network. The benefits diminish significantly with every additional verification and verifier, while the costs rise exponentially. To return to our original point, who are we to say you need this on every transaction? Your use case might or might not be, but it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the cost and effort. Offering this choice makes it easier to use PIPE for your particular use case.

In a follow-up blog, we’ll dive deeper into potential use cases, so make sure to sign up for our newsletter.

What else makes PIPE easy to use?

PIPE is easy to use because of its hybrid-API, smart data storage/retrieval, and the option to pay in euros or dollars. 

  • PIPE’s API is very familiar to IOTA developers.
    The PIPE hybrid API is IOTA compatible, meaning that it’s easy to move current IOTA data implementations to a PIPE data channel. On top of that, PIPE has extra features that make it better for high-frequency and high-bandwidth applications. For example, the message size can be increased to 5MB instead of 32kB.
  • Holding just the private key can retrieve all messages from a channel.
    Most decentralized storage systems require keeping all file hashes, which is at odds with the concept of external storage, or being online to make sure the files are still up. With PIPE, you can recover all your data from the private key alone. PIPE derives the index deterministically, which means all storage locations in the network can be reconstructed. This means that losing your hash does not mean you lose the connection to the file.
  • Storage and retrieval are near real time.
    PIPE is so much faster than blockchains, and because it can download chunks in parallel, larger files download equally fast. PIPE is closer to AWS or Google than to blockchain in speed, and comes with additional benefits like immutability, high resilience, and self-restoring properties.
  • Euro and dollar payments are possible, while remaining decentralized.
    Data channels can securely transmit and store data without holding or handling tokens. Anyone can pay for a channel’s storage credits, e.g. the TangleHUB Fiat On-ramp, so new users or corporations with compliance issues can use traditional payment methods. This makes PIPE secure and decentralized, with flexibility in payment.

Conclusion

PIPE’s design is extremely flexible, which allows developers to make it as performant, scalable, secure, and affordable as they need. This flexibility is what makes PIPE user-friendly and adaptable for popular web2.5 and web3 use cases.

Follow our progress

We’ll be posting more details about PIPE in the next month. We will also publish a roadmap, litepaper, and pre-ICO details. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on your favorite social media platform.