Functionland is replacing Cloud Storage and Service Subscription economy by introducing a new category of products, called Blockchain-Attached Storage. It creates value by auto-minting crypto for the users and allocating a share to the developers. It is in the top 3% of projects on GitHub and backed by Protocol labs, Filecoin, Dfinity, Crust and Outlier Ventures.
Tell us about yourself?
I am Ehsan, a senior full-stack developer, electrical engineer, and project manager, who used to do background acting and home inspection as side hobbies. I had founded several IT-related start-ups and also worked in multi-billion companies.
I was a fan of the cloud for the accessibility of my data but receiving many advertising and spam calls to numbers I never shared before or seeing relevant ads to what I was uploading a few seconds ago on Google, was a concern about privacy of my data.
As a programmer, I was also annoyed by not being able to do those small and obvious modifications to the interface of Google Photos and Google Drive that could make them better at least for me, because I didn’t have access to their code.
I and Kevan initially discussed Functionland main idea, box, about a year ago and I was amazed by the idea of Box as an alternative to the cloud since the technology was there as separate pieces, just not been put together.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Don’t give up on the idea that you think is worth it. Find a team that is passionate about it and start building it.
What problem does your business solve?
Cloud services that are introduced as a fruit of web2 technologies have given us the comfort in sharing and collaboration online and a big advancement from web1, remember Yahoo in 1998? However, it also has disadvantages to it. First of all, while your data is at someone else’s ownership, they can impose the terms on you, without needing you to agree to them. Either accept the terms or leave, which would be a very costly exit without an alternative.
Also, these big companies, get their power and valuation from their users, while leaving the users out of their profits. Users power these companies and put them at very high valuations, while when they are acquired, things only get worse for their loyal users, by increased fees or worse by discontinued services.
Moreover, each of these companies can only provide a specific number of services because of resource limitations, so people need to subscribe to multiple services and all these subscription fees add up to a considerable amount for a user, let alone the fact that users’ data is now residing on multiple places and harder to find.
On the developers’ side, they also need to cover the high costs of servers if they want to launch an innovative service, leaving them with no alternative rather than working for one of these established companies, limiting their innovative minds.
All the above problems have a solution by introduction of web3 and decentralization, now.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We want to put an end to the rental web, where people need to pay big companies with central authority for services they receive. These central services, get the power to misuse both peoples’ data and developers’ minds while profiting a small group of owners.
The introduction of artificial intelligence has even made this a bigger concern. They optimize their AI algorithms to increase the value for shareholders primarily, which might not be exactly aligned with the users’ benefits. Watching a 6-second ad every 10 minutes, is not really something of benefit to the users, right?
Decentralization is gaining power in the financial world by freeing people and transactions from the power of central banks. Paying 100$ for an international transfer, was not really something beneficial to the users, right? And now you have the option to pay close to zero for some transactions in a decentralized world.
The same can happen outside of the financial world if we create the infrastructure for it.
What is your magic sauce?
Our magic sauce is engaging users in the ecosystem so that they can host and provide services to each other instead of centralized companies. Our protocol allows users to provide storage, computing power, and application to each other in local pools.
There is no competing solution that is focused on the monetization of opensource from developers’ perspective and ownership of data from users’ perspective. Also, the concept of local pools, allows for faster connections and extremely fast data download and upload.
Imagine instead of a central cloud company, your neighbors and yourself are all providing services to each other. You are all benefiting and have power at the same time instead of one central company.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
We want to go live with the first version of our hardware this year and in the next year, we increase the production limits. After gaining the user base, we outsource the hardware to hardware providers and focus on the protocol and software side.
We plan to build the infrastructure for the web3 so that in 5 years, all cloud services can be replaced by their decentralized alternatives. A free forever internet without any central ownership, censorship, and primary authority.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Web3 is a new concept and is still not known for many users outside of Defi. For many people, blockchain means bitcoin, and introducing the concept as something that has utility has been hard.
However, with the experts we could onboard, we are gradually becoming the leader in this concept, and our oversubscribed seed round and high-profile partners show that investors and bull eyes are considering this idea the future of the web, that ends rental web.
How do people get involved/buy into your vision?
In the first year, we are trying to reach early adopters who are ready to try new technologies. Are you a developer, raspberry pi enthusiast, a crypto miner, someone just curious? Go to our pre-order page and pre-register to get informed when our first batch of Functionland Box is out:
You can check out our GitHub and start exploring the codes for yourself:
Or just jump on our telegram channel to participate in the discussions: https://t.me/functionlanders