When you use a Blockstack decentralized application (DApp), the data that you enter into that application, photos, documents, and more is something you own and control. Traditional applications such as Instagram or PayPal store your data on their corporate servers.
Blockstack DApps do not allow applications to store your data on the application’s corporate servers. Instead, you store your data with a storage provider you choose. A storage provider gives you personal storage for your application data.
If you want to walk away from a particular DApp, there’s no need even to export your data. You simply stop using the DApp and it no longer can read or modify your data. And if you want to start using a different DApp with the same data, you can.
Understand storage providers
The Blockstack Ecosystem provides a technology for data storage called, Gaia. Gaia is storage hub technology for storing application data. A storage provider is simply an organization that implemented Gaia and is providing storage hubs for users. Any organization or person can create a Gaia storage hub and become a storage provider.
These providers host data in one or more existing storage systems of their choice. These storage systems are typically cloud storage systems such as Amazon, Dropbox, iCloud or Azure to name a few.
Users that create an identity in the Blockstack Browser are given a choice of which data storage provider to use. Blockstack itself runs a Gaia storage hub and acts as a storage provider. The default choice is the Blockstack-run storage hub.
Every provider will store your data at a particular address or URL. These addresses look similar to any address you put in your web browser. When you log into a DApp, you are giving that the application the ability to save data to the URL on your behalf.
Current limitations of data storage
The following are limitations of the current system.
- You cannot move your storage from one provider to another.
- You cannot store your data on your own computer.
Blockstack is always seeking to expand Gaia’s capabilities. These limitations will disappear as they are overcome by new Gaia features.