Smart Vault

Decentralised Data Storage with Privacy and Monetization Controls

Introduction

The Smart Vault provides decentralized data storage for applications that want to monetize digital content or distribute digital content within private groups on a peer-to-peer network. The Smart Vault provides a paradigm shift from traditional data storage where data is siloed and controlled by the application owner.

Users of Smart Vault-enabled applications have true ownership and sovereignty over their data. They control where it is stored and who has access and since their data is not stored centrally, the risk of their data being lost, hacked or sold onto third parties is greatly reduced.

What is the Smart Vault?

The Smart Vault is a decentralized datastore where access to data is controlled by smart contracts. What makes the Smart Vault unique is its peer-to-peer architecture for data transmission and its smart contract security model for managing access to data. Using the Smart Vault, a data owner can share a file directly to members within a private group or vendors can sell content in a peer-to-peer connected network of consumers in exchange for payments that are managed by smart contracts.

Applications use the Smart Vault to:

  • Sell digital content (e.g. video, music, images).

  • License access rights to digital content.

  • Transfer ownership of digital assets (e.g. and titles, vehicle registrations).

  • Track and trace a product in a value chain (e.g. a food supply chain).

  • Share confidential information directly between members within a private group.

  • Transmit self-sovereign identity claims.

  • Source always up to date data across applications.

The Benefits of Using the Smart Vault

Eliminate the Cost of Blockchain Storage.

Storing data on the blockchain is both impractical and expensive. By using the Smart Vault you can store your application's state information on a decentralized datastore that is managed by smart contracts. Storage costs are eliminated since users of your application store and manage data within a Smart Vault that they own.

Eliminate Data Liability.

As a developer, you must ensure that your application complies with data privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA regulations when handling the personal data of users. By letting users store and manage data using a Smart Vault, you eliminate your compliance burden and the liability associated with protecting and securing this sensitive data.

Create Decentralized Private Groups.

The Smart Vault provides applications with granular control for accessing data. No one can access data unless they are granted permission, including access to the data in encrypted format. The data owner always has control over who has access, when access was approved and they can revoke access to anyone at any time. Note: Some decentralized datastores provide data privacy by solely using encryption and storing the information publicly without access controls. The encrypted data is available to anyone to download, regardless of having permission or not. This method leaks information about the encrypted data and the data owner.

Sell Content. Transfer and Track Assets.

‌The Smart Vault enables you to develop peer-to-peer business models for selling digital content and transferring assets. Digital content (video, music, art, games) can be sold by content producers in a peer-to-peer manner giving greater control and a reduction in cost. The sale and transfer of ownership of digitized assets (e.g. land titles, vehicle registrations) can also be executed directly between parties without requiring an intermediary.

How Does it Work?

Data is stored in a distributed manner by Smart Vault nodes that have been granted permission. Data owners manage access permissions using smart contracts.

IPFS Distributed Storage

The Smart Vault uses the InterPlanetary File System(IPFS) an open standard for storing and transmitting data in a distributed manner. The IPFS protocol provides high redundancy and availability of data by multiple computers hosting and serving the same file in parallel to applications. Applications retrieve files using an addressing scheme that is based on the content of the file rather than its location. The IPFS protocol provides a paradigm shift from traditional application design where one entity usually hosts all user information and content that it needs.

The Smart Vault extends the IPFS protocol so that files are only transmitted to other Smart Vault nodes that have been authorized to access the protected data.

The default IPFS protocol has no security mechanism for restricting access to data. The Smart Vault extends the IPFS protocol with a security layer for controlling access to protected data.

Distributed Peer-to-Peer Transmission

A file that is stored in a Smart Vault is broken into blocks of data. When a block of data refers to a protected file, transmission of the block will only be permitted by verifying that the blockchain account requesting the data has been authorized.

Data blocks are transmitted in a peer-to-peer manner between nodes such that a Smart Vault will receive data in parallel from multiple Smart Vault nodes at the same time. This redundancy ensures that access to the data will still be available when a Smart Vault is offline.

Ethereum Smart Contract Permissions

The Smart Vault has been designed to integrate with smart contract enabled blockchain such as Lightchain. Permissions to access a file are managed by a smart contract that is controlled by the data owner. The smart contract has an Access Control List (ACL) that is used for managing access to the file. The ACL is a list of permissions that accounts can be granted to control file access.

By using Smart contracts file access is managed in a decentralized manner and provides granular control for granting permissions. Permissions can be granted to single account or multiple accounts for a private group.

Smart contracts also ensure transparency and audibility for when, by whom, and to who permission was granted.

Demonstration

You can see a demonstration of the Smart Vault as follows: