Shift project purpose and description
What is Shift?
Shift is a blockchain project aimed at bringing a solution to the challenge of censorship by defining how the technologies that are used in combating censorship are being used.
For the longest time, censorship has always been one of the biggest threats to democracy. Through the development of blockchain technology and systems, the internet populace has experienced a revolution that is bound to change the way things are done, especially when it comes to accessing information online. On the blockchain, one of the most difficult things to do will be censorship. This is because of the concept of decentralization.
There are several procedures that have been put in place to make sure that end users are empowered and they can operate without having to worry about censorship whenever they are online. This is what the Shift project is all about. Shift brings forth a solution to the challenge of censorship by defining how the technologies that are used in combating censorship are put to use, and provide a solution to the problem that lies ahead.
What is the problem that Shift Solves?
The biggest threat to information freedom is not just censorship, but the very institutions that are tasked with making sure that people can interact and connect with one another.
The ISPs are at the heart of the censorship debacle. Other than the ISPs, we also have the government and server hosts.
These are three parties who make sure that information freedom will forever become a mirage, even if they pretend to insist on the contrary.
Through their overbearing actions, either of these parties can get rid of content from the internet, content that they feel is not according to their community guidelines.
While in some cases this is usually for the good of the internet community as a whole, there comes a time when the suppression of access to information becomes a challenge and interferes with certain freedoms that people are supposed to enjoy by virtue of their citizenry in a certain jurisdiction.
There have been cases where end users are targeted, prevented from accessing certain types of information, even if the information in question is actually free to access and available in the public domain.
There are hosts who have even gone ahead and done this to paying customers, barring them from accessing the very content that they pay to access. This is a pure violation of the concept of Net Neutrality.
In Net Neutrality, people should be free to access content and applications on the internet no matter the source of the content. This is an unwritten code of conduct that has been around since the beginning of the internet but has been flouted by entities for a very long time.
Freedom of information is supposed to be the key to advancing not just technology, but humanity.
One of the biggest risks to Net Neutrality is the action of ISPs who have the ability to block, slow down the connection speeds or impose certain limits to an individual’s ability to access content on whichever platform they are using.
There are also ISPs who chose the option of charging a premium rate for the services that they are offering. It is almost impossible to bypass some of the restrictions that are put in place by these vendors, and in cases where it is even possible, the process is tedious and tiresome, and most people simply chose not to bother.
How does Shift Solve the problem?
In order to make things better, it is important that a solution is made available, to deal with the concern of centralization and censorship. What we need is a software layer or a system in place that will be able to identify, mitigate and remove the failure points from a network. In a normal website, there are so many possible points of failure. These include the DNS, server hosts, and internet connectivity.
Shift has introduced a project, Phantom, which should address most, if not all of these concerns. Phantom is the solution to most of the web censorship concerns that we have at the moment.
Even by virtue of the name, any service that is hosted on Phantom is safe in the sense that even if they are removed from a given host, anything that is on the blockchain will always remain there.
Information that is written on the blockchain cannot be removed. What Phantom implements is an IPFS backbone that creates an additional layer of storage on the Shift blockchain.
As an end user, you are free to submit files to the storage service through a blockchain-based space leasing system. For webmasters and operators, you can now manage all functionalities of your website from the Shift blockchain in the storage cluster.
All web services can be rendered through Hydra. This helps in managing resources and making sure that all the content is left running live. To keep content live, Shift uses Jenga.
Jenga periodically monitors data and updates the resources automatically for discovery whenever they are censored. Therefore, Shift has been able to create an end-user experience that virtually, cannot be censored.
The Phantom sidechain is one of the key reasons why Shift is a success in the fight against internet censorship. A sidechain is a blockchain, but instead of existing in isolation, it has to run alongside a parent blockchain.
Phantom is, therefore, pegged on the Shift mainchain, which provides the backbone for all the services that Phantom has to run.
Since Phantom is basically a blockchain on its own, it has a unique ledger of its own that keeps a record of all the tasks and transactions that users conduct and their token balances.
Through the tokens, the users are able to either unpin or pin content in the IPFS cluster. They are also able to have files stored on the platform for a long time, in exchange for some tokens.
What makes Shift better than the competitors?
There are currently so many projects that are fighting censorship online. Shift is just but one of the ones that have managed to do this successfully.
With blockchain services, there is always the risk that some of the projects that are proposed as decentralized projects are not really decentralized. The following are some of the reasons why Shift has managed to stay ahead of the pack:
Security of the content shared on the Shift project is just as important as securing the blockchain. Each user has the option of encrypting their data before they submit it on the blockchain.
However, it is important to note that any content that is encrypted can only be accessed through the key that was used to lock it. When encrypting data, therefore, it is important that users take extra precaution to keep their private keys safe.
One thing that is obvious in any system is that for some reason, illegal content will always find a way of carving out a niche of its own.
The same applies to Shift. However, through Phantom, hosting illegal content is prohibited. Anyone who introduces illegal content into the blockchain does not just run the risk of having their content removed, but he or she can also lose his or her stake.
Since it is also important to protect the rights of operators, any content that is unpinned can be wiped out so fast. The only content that remains on the Shift project is content that is pinned.
How can Shift be categorized?
Shift is one of the first ever decentralized blockchain projects. By running Phantom, it offers a pioneer in decentralized storage applications, backed by blockchain technology.
Phantom is operated both as a decentralized application and as a sidechain. It is through Hydra, Jenga and IPFS clustering that this project manages to resist censorship for content delivery and web hosting.
What’s Shift’s vision on Security?
Content security is one of the biggest and most important concerns of any decentralized system.
Whenever data is shared on a platform, it should reach the intended users without any compromise whatsoever. At the same time, users need to access the data without worrying about the authenticity of the same.
By implementing Phantom, the Shift blockchain project is designed to ensure that it stays immutable, maintains an element of truth.
Since the ledger cannot be tampered with, trust concerns should not arise when using Shift.
The following are some of the security protocols that Shift has implemented, making it one of the best options in the fight against censorship on the internet:
Deployment for External Interactions
Phantom is run on Shift through the mainchain interface. For an operator to deploy Phantom and use it for their own reasons, they must have a copy of Shift.
Other than that, operators must also use the Phantom interface if they want to work with any suite of the APIs and create new content, or even if they need to upload some files online. Therefore, users do not need to worry about self-deployment of Phantom for any end user to interact with the Shift ecosystem.
Delegated Proof of Stake
Shift is a decentralized blockchain project that is secured by the Delegated Proof of Stake algorithm. In this protocol, there are delegates who act as custodians of the Shift project.
There are more than 100 delegates. It is the role of the delegates to ensure that everything is running accordingly.
Delegates generate blocks in their respective slots after every 27 seconds. This is the block time. It is also the role of the delegates to provide finality in all the transactions that go on in the web hosting platform on Shift. Other than tracking the account balances and the state of registration, they also provide a cryptographic link between public and private keys.
Any user on the Shift blockchain can have as many private keys as they need. It is these keys that are used as proof of ownership of tokens that are used in the Shift project.
This is particularly an important aspect as it allows the users to send tokens to the Phantom sidechain from the Shift blockchain.
Multiple Authentication Layers
In any system, security is one of the key factors that must be taken into consideration.
In a decentralized system, security is of utmost importance as it is needed not just for the sake of building trust in the operation, but also to establish and maintain an element of stability.
Shift has shift cluster security. This cluster is vital in the operation of Phantom. Inside this cluster, there are several methods of authentication for hosts. These methods are put in place to make sure that the cluster is always protected from attacks or any other threats that might arise.
The first level of authentication happens at the blockchain level. Users must register their details on the blockchain. To do this, they must send the Type 12 transaction that registers the storage amount that they are committing to the blockchain. As soon as this is done, they can then proceed to register as a cluster participant in Phantom.
The second layer of authentication requires users to launch the application through the private keys that they used to register on the blockchain and the encryption key that they have in their storage cluster.
After doing that, the application searches the blockchain for any committed storage based on the details provided, then confirms whether it is valid or not.
Once the validity has been ascertained, the application can then decrypt the keys that were issued and registered with Phantom, and from there, the user can then join the cluster.
Examples of Shift use cases/applications
Phantom was the first decentralized app that was introduced to Shift. It is a user interface that allows file management over an IPFS network. Shift users can then pin data on Phantom, which makes them available permanently on the cluster.
Shift also created sidechains which support Phantom. The sidechain is built with unique transaction types and rules, which allow users a whole world of opportunities.
Shift users will also be able to send files for free across clusters. They can share files with any peer that is connected to the cluster that they belong to but are not members of the said cluster.