Do you have a friend who is into graphic design? I do, and man! he always struggles with his pile of external HDD’s and Pen Drives. Last time we talked he asked me whether he left one of his drives at my office by any chance. I told him several times to store his data on the cloud, but he is a little bit paranoid about that. I don’t blame him, though.
I suppose we all use some sort of data storage services. Some of us upload our files to a paid cloud storage service, while others prefer to store it on a physical hard drive the same way it was done 15 years ago. Each of the methods has their pros and cons, which is why people struggle to pick a winner.
As the perfectionist I am, I always look for a better solution. Not long ago, I found out that in 2013 Vlado Patrushev, CEO of Austria-based Minebox IT Services GmbH along with Sia started to work on an alternative way to store data without any of the known downsides. As a result of their work, we got Minebox NAS (network attached storage).
Minebox is a compact device that includes either 8 or 16 TB hard drives (depending on the model). It comes fully functional and pre-configured – just need to plug it to the internet and start enjoying the safe storage. Now, while Minebox has its own internal hard drives, the real magic is that it allows us to have p2p storage.
Say you’re about to give Dropbox a try. When you upload your files to a cloud storage system, the file remains on a third-party server, free to be used by the server owners. For instance, this is why Chinese government was able to track and close down more than 1.2 million personal cloud storage accounts in 2016 alone. Perhaps you don’t live in China, but your data still loses its privacy as soon as it’s uploaded to the cloud.
What also makes cloud storage a less than optimal option is that your data depends on one single company. If the company goes bankrupt or for any other reason decides to close the service, your data will be lost. I’ve made some research and found out that in 2016 alone more than 3 million people were forced to find a new cloud company, since the ones they were using ceased activity.
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In contrast to that, Minebox offers a peer-to-peer storage service. It means that your files will be stored in other users’ Mineboxes; it will never be in the hands of one single person or organization. In fact, your files will be encrypted and you will be the only one who has access to them through a personal key.
Minebox P2P storage network uses the same blockchain method as Bitcoin or Siacoin currencies. It proved to be a safe, 100% automated method that allowed people to store data without the need to trust a person or company.
What Makes Minebox the Most Functional NAS Device?
Minebox has its predecessors. The idea of P2P storage services is not new. Now, before Minebox came out, there was no system that would guarantee 100% data safety. The reason why Minebox got my attention is because it was developed by professionals.
Minebox software was developed by a team or Austrian programmers, while the hardware is proudly provided by HP. The device automatically back ups your data and distributes it all the way across the P2P network. You don’t have to worry about doing things manually. Now, when the time comes to access your data, you can do that from anywhere, using any device. All you have to know is your unique personal key. Your data is encrypted before it is uploaded, so it is safe no matter where you access it from.
Minebox as a Bitcoin & Siacoin Generator?
There’s yet another feature that makes Minebox such an interesting cloud storage option. We all have free space on our HDD’s, and there’s no way one can make profit from it… unless it’s a Minebox drive. Minebox allows you to rent your storage and profit from it. If the option is enabled, it automatically rents your unused HDD space and deposits the earned funds to your walled. It supports both Bitcoin and Siacoin.
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Minebox is a safe and decentralized way to store your data. You might ask: “but don’t we have enough way to store our data?” – of course we do, but are they really safe? Let’s quickly review them.
The most common way to back up data is to have in on a physical hard drive at home. This grants you easy access to your files, but not without downsides. First, your data is stored in a physical drive, which can be stolen or damaged by accident. Secondly, you don’t have access to your data unless you’ve got the physical drive with you. Carrying around your external HDD or Pen Drive is not safe.
The other alternative is to use a cloud storage service. There are dozens of companies that offer cloud storage. Some are paid, others are free to use. This seems like a reasonable way to keep your data safe and easy to access from any point of the planet, yet again there are a couple of details that ruin the show.
Secondly and most importantly, cloud storage services shut down as easy as they are created. Do any of those services sound familiar to you? : LogMeIn’s Cubby, CudaDrive, Pogoplug, Qihoo 360, KuaiPan, Vdisk, LaCie’s Wuala, Barracuda’s Copy?
All of them were Cloud Storage services, some of which were rather big and used by millions of paid members daily. All of the listed services closed down in 2016 alone (or late 2015). Mega is expected to be closed down soon too, just like Megaupload back in the day. 
All of this means that cloud storage might not be the safest way to back up your data, especially if it includes sensitive personal documents.
Features & Specs
Minebox comes assembled and ready to be used. There are two models available: one comes with 8TB storage space, and the other one with 16TB.
Processor: Dual Core Intel RAM: 4GB (1x4GB) PC3L-128000E DDR3 UDIMM // 8GB Power supply: 150W HDD: 2x Seagate IronWolf 4TB // 2x Seagate IronWolf 8TB OS: xOS 1.0 Dimensions: 229.7 x 232.4 x 245.1 mm
Minebox supports a myriad of apps that can be run directly on the device. Those include a chat app, a bit torrent downloader and even a publishing platform for professional bloggers, among others.
The NAS device will be available in July 2017; until then, you can pre-order your unit at a discounted price; both the 8TB and 16TB models are available and they cost 750 and 1470 Euros, respectively. Minebox accepts credit card and Bitcoin payments.
Looks like cloud storage is getting obsolete; data storage centralization was necessary at some point, but now it goes against personal data privacy and safety. Until not long ago, the only alternative we had is to store our data on physical drives.
Minebox is a great step forward in data storage. It gives you the best of both universes, allowing you to keep your data safe, private and easy to access for you from anywhere on the globe. Plus, it allows you to monetize your free HDD space, which is always a good thing!
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Thank you for reading. As always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.