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Product & Tech

Akord's evolution: introducing cloud vaults and subscription plans

Pascal Barry
Pascal Barry
21 Oct 2023 · 3 min

Akord is adding cloud storage for our vaults, as well as subscription payments… and that may raise some eyebrows!  

We’re used to end-user focused projects building on Arweave to promote a one-time fee over subscriptions, and pit permanent, decentralized storage against temporary, centralized cloud storage. 

With our latest updates we are embodying an idea that web3 should not stand in opposition to web2, but instead embrace and build on the previous paradigm with the new. 

In our context, we believe offering cloud storage vaults will benefit our users and, in fact, help further usage of on-chain storage. A subscription model for users who also want to use our private vaults on the cloud is the only model makes sense.

We do appreciate that some web3 projects and creators like NFT projects don’t need cloud storage and may prefer one-time fees. For those users, we are exploring additional pricing options. 

Cloud vaults

Now, when you click “Create vault”, you’ll be asked to choose between Permanent storage or Cloud storage, Private or Public, giving you 4 possible vault setups.

We decided to introduce cloud as an option for the storage primitive underlying Akord vaults for a number of reasons.

A gateway to Arweave

We’ve found over the course of the last few years that even in some of the strongest use cases for permanent storage, organizations still often require the possibility to delete data.

For example, many organizations working in cultural preservation may be held to agreements or laws that will mandate them to delete data if requested even though under normal circumstances the ultimate objective would be to hold that data for many generations. They may also need to manage and organize that data in a fluid way before deciding on the data set to be permanently committed on-chain.

In these scenarios, cloud vaults enable those organizations to hold their data in a staging environment where deletion is possible, waiting until all the hurdles are cleared and they are 100% ready to store that data on-chain.

We’ll be implementing features in these cloud vaults to offer a simple transfer to permanent storage vaults. Much like moving files between folders, we’ll make it just as easy to move files from cloud vaults to permanent storage vaults.

Beyond this, cloud vaults also address another significant demand from individuals and businesses.

Simplifying complete data ownership

We've consistently received requests from both individuals and organizations for a unified solution to manage all types of data—both permanent and temporary—in one place.

With Akord, users now have the opportunity to consolidate the majority, if not all, of their data under one roof. This not only simplifies data management but also increases the likelihood of users transitioning more of their data to the blockchain. By offering both cloud storage and permanent storage options, Akord eliminates the need to juggle multiple systems, making the data management process far more streamlined and user-friendly.

New opportunities

We’ve also found that by offering our vaults on cloud storage we can open up new opportunities for permanent data storage as part of a broader workflow. A perfect example is our work with Superscript, an insurance broker bridging the gap between traditional insurance and web3.

Superscript have already been using our end-to-end encrypted vaults on cloud storage to manage sensitive customer data in a white-labelled vault. The data here cannot be on-chain as it’s subject to GDPR and contains personally identifiable information. Once the process for the customer’s application is finished, the resulting certificate of insurance is published in a public vault on-chain. In this scenario, the certificate on-chain provides tamper-proof, verifiable proof of a business’ insurance and can be updated with Akord’s file versioning providing live documentation and a means to tackle insurance fraud.

The Superscript use case also highlights how Akord’s ultimate focus is on data ownership. For many situations where you may value end-to-end encryption with the ability to own the keys, you may also be held to account by regulations such as GDPR that require you to delete that data on request. We feel our vaults on the cloud give more people ownership and control of their data in this context.

Subscription payments

Redefining our value proposition

While Akord provides storage, and we may refer to ourselves as a storage solution for ease of communication, our true value lies in the unique vault system we've built that can work atop powerful storage primitives like Arweave and traditional cloud services like S3.

So when you pay a subscription fee to Akord that payment gets you certain storage allowances for permanent and cloud storage, making access easy, but it’s also a fee for access to our software with all the features and benefits it delivers: access control, file versioning, media galleries, file sharing, notes, messaging, and in the future exciting features such as token-gated access and NFT mint on upload.

Now, let’s get into how exactly these subscription plans will work.

Our subscription plans explained

Our Free plan gives you a little permanent storage (100 MB) and cloud storage (1 GB) – enough to try the product out and see if it’s right for you. If it is, then we have plans that will hopefully cover the needs of individuals as well as teams within organizations and businesses.

Let’s take the Boulder plan, at $7 per month, as an example.

  • 200 GB of cloud storage. It’ll be just like Dropbox or Google Drive – upload files and your available space goes down, delete files and you’ll free up more space. But the cloud is temporary, so cancel your subscription or downgrade and you’ll need to remove that cloud data or risk it being deleted.

  • Access to special features. Token-gated access will allow users to use NFTs to gate access to their vaults. This can be a powerful way to monetise exclusive content in private Akord vaults, by requiring the purchase of an NFT in order to gain access. Airdrop access will allow you to create a magic link for your vault, copy and paste it to whoever you want to invite and they won't need to create an Akord account to gain access.

  • Priority support. Users subscribed to Boulder and Mountain will be prioritized over users on Pebble when making support requests.

  • Never lose access to your blockchain data and vaults. Storing data on Arweave is permanent, so even if you stop paying a subscription then your blockchain vaults and the data inside them will never disappear. You’ll always have access to those blockchain vaults and your files inside.

Final thoughts

I hope our offering is sufficiently unique, versatile and useful to justify a subscription. Akord vaults are feature rich, yet simple and user friendly. I believe we’re the only service that is offering both cloud and permanent storage, both public and private, through an end-user application.

We're excited about this new chapter for Akord and are deeply thankful for your support. For anyone that decides to sign up for a subscription, we are truly grateful. As a team, we commit to doing our best to make Akord a worthy home for your most valuable data.

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