According to a new report published by Singaporean venture capital firm Foresight Ventures, the cost of decentralized file storage on blockchains such as Filecoin, Arweave, Swarm, Story and Sia currently ranges from near zero to $4 per terabyte (TB) per month. This is much lower than traditional Web2 services such as Amazon Cloud or Microsoft Azure, where prices can range from $16 to $23 per TB of monthly storage.
However, the report also outlines other costs associated with decentralized storage, such as data upload fees and retrieval fees, the latter of which can amount to $7 per TB. Some service providers mentioned in the report, such as Filecoin, only had storage fees, which were also quite low, while others had all three types of the aforementioned fees.
In addition, analysts at Foresight wrote that blockchain storage still faces issues such as “file loss,” “difficult to retrieve data” and “high bandwidth requirements.” Pointing to one blockchain, researchers commented:
Price does not account for bandwidth. Some nodes only provide storage services, refuse retrieval.
Despite pricing controversies, data from blockchain analytics firm Messari cited in the report show that the total storage capacity of the four largest file-storage blockchains increased by 2% year-over-year to 17 million TB at the end of 2022. Filecoin currently has the largest market share at 67%, followed by Arweave (19%), Sia (8%) and Storj (6%). While network utilization remains relatively low, the metric among top players has since surged to 3.1% compared to just 0.2% in 2021.
On April 27, Filecoin rolled out the nv19 Lightening and nv20 Thunder network upgrades to improve block validation times. As of April, the network has 22.7 million TB of storage capacity and 3,623 storage provider systems.