Filecoin Storage Provider Spotlight — PiKNiK

This is one in a series of periodic blog posts devoted to profiling Filecoin storage providers. In these posts, we examine what they bring to — and the benefits they derive from — the Filecoin ecosystem.

Established in October 2020 by several founding members of the Filecoin Storage Provider Working Group and Protocol Labs MinerX Fellows, PiKNiK joined the Filecoin community as a bootstrapped Web3 storage provider. With ambitions to pursue the enterprise cloud storage market, it was one of the first U.S. startups to onboard 1PB or roughly 1,000,000GB of storage capacity to the Filecoin network.

Headquartered in San Diego, California, PiKNiK took on its first piece of verifiably valuable data atop the Filecoin network in March 2021. This was followed by a second, geographically-remote data center installment in April, which enabled PiKNiK to offer true data redundancy.

With over 30 staff today — including business, crypto, and storage industry experience from IBM, Cloudian, Western Digital, Google, Yelp, McKinsey, Deloitte, SF Blockchain Week, and more — the team has been innovating to enable other Web3 storage providers (IaaS) and to serve end users (STaaS) atop the Filecoin network. Driven by core values that “Data is the most valuable asset in the world” and “Decentralization of the internet is inevitable,” PiKNiK has been proud to support the onboarding of pioneering customers such as the USC Shoah Foundation, Internet Archive, and Fleek.

“Filecoin gives a lot of freedom and choice for us as a storage provider in deciding how we design systems and store real data in the Web3 environment,” said PiKNiK CEO Kevin Huynh. “Even though we’re working in a decentralized infrastructure, we still have the flexibility in Filecoin to code and architect for similar options, functionality, and enterprise readiness that you would expect from traditional, centralized Web2 cloud storage — only without the drawbacks that come with those monolithic and expensive systems.”

By participating in the Filecoin ecosystem, PiKNiK avoids traditional and centralized cloud storage pitfalls that include constraints for end users on tools within a given provider’s proprietary ecosystem; mining or exploitation of user data for advertising or anti-competitive strategies; and the unreliability of any given tech giant’s role as a single point of failure that affect innumerable downstream clients with each downtime.

PiKNiK is helping to grow the Filecoin ecosystem in several ways as it focuses on building out capabilities for enterprise readiness, such as role-based access control, payload encryption, and object-based storage backends, that can operate in this decentralized Web3 environment. Looking further ahead, Huynh says that PiKNiK aspires to mature its offerings to provide cloud services across the Web3 cloud stack and on-the-fly compute for applications and integrations atop Filecoin-based storage.

Furthermore, an arduant emphasis on Filecoin has led PiKNiK to establish Project ESPA, an accelerator-style program to train more than 50 net-new, independent, and enterprise-ready storage providers over just the first year. Sponsored by Seagate and Protocol Labs, Project ESPA will offer a hands-on, weeklong boot camp in Las Vegas, paired with a comprehensive Web3 didactic curriculum, and followed by a six-to-nine month go-to-market residency before completion.

The Filecoin Foundation (FF) is an independent organization dedicated to developing Filecoin and related technologies. The Foundation does this by coordinating