Will Web 3.0 storage systems ever reach “Dropbox” status?
What are the limitations of such ecosystems?
How do they improve the overall adoption of the decentralized space?
What role will Gen Z play in the process?
These questions have overshadowed the innovations that will birth the next generation of the industry.
Luckily, a few young stars are up to the challenge and are taking the industry by storm.
Álvaro Pintado Santaularia, the 19-year-old founder of hello.app explains.
Álvaro Pintado Santaularia, Founder at hello.app
- How is hello.app the ‘dropbox of Web3’?
hello.app, dubbed as the ‘Dropbox of Web3,’ distinguishes itself by utilizing decentralized and blockchain technologies, aligning with the ethos of Web3 which promotes user control, data privacy, and decentralized governance. Unlike Dropbox’s centralized storage, hello.app offers a decentralized storage system allowing for enhanced security and user data ownership. It’s built on blockchain technology, which ensures data immutability and transparency, further enhancing user control and data privacy. As the first user-controlled, open-source, decentralized storage software of Web3, it enables users to act as node operators, contributing storage and earning rewards in return.
- What are the limitations and inefficiencies of legacy data storage infrastructure?
Legacy data storage systems, typical of Web2, suffer from centralization issues, presenting a single point of failure and necessitating trust in a central authority. They often struggle with scalability, incurring high operational costs as data volume grows. Performance issues like latency and bandwidth limitations can arise, especially in globally distributed settings. Data privacy is compromised as data is susceptible to unauthorized access, and users often relinquish control of their data to service providers, leading to vendor lock-in. These systems also face compliance challenges with global data protection laws, lack transparency, and can stifle innovation due to centralized control dominating the market.
- How does hello.app address these issues?
hello.app addresses legacy data storage issues through its decentralized, blockchain-based system, eliminating single points of failure and enhancing data security. It promotes user control and data ownership, potentially lowers operational costs through peer-to-peer storage, and improves scalability and performance. The transparency inherent in blockchain technology provides clearer data management visibility, while its open-source nature fosters innovation, offering a modernized, user-centric alternative to traditional Web2 storage solutions.
- What did it mean to hello.app to recently close a €300,000 pre-seed funding round at a €1.4 million valuation?
The €300,000 pre-seed funding at a €1.4 million valuation signifies investor confidence in hello.app’s potential. This funding provides essential capital for development, operations, and growth acceleration. The valuation reflects a strong belief in the startup’s ability to impact the data storage market, enhancing its credibility and attractiveness to future investors, partners, and customers.
- What inspired you and your co-founder to launch hello.app?
I firmly hold the belief that every individual on this planet has experienced, at least once, the aspiration to effect positive change on a global scale. What sets some apart, however, is their commitment to transform this desire into tangible actions. While engaging in discussions on various topics is a universal activity, taking meaningful and decisive steps towards implementing change is a far less common endeavor.
- Who are the people behind hello.app?
Myself and my co-founder Alexander Baikalov have a great working relationship, and share a bond of emerging as young tech prodigies in our teenage years. I’m a current member of Mensa, and previously founded Whispr, an AI SaaS venture. Having authored the book entitled “The Decentralised Financial System” at 17 years of age, I have long been fascinated by the potential of decentralized technology. My fellow Founder Alexander Baikalov, our CTO, has been freelancing at a high level within the software domain since the age of 15, bringing invaluable expertise to our growing team.
- Tell us about acquiring the hello.app web domain for $115,000.
The historic acquisition of the ‘hello.app’ web domain for €115,000 represents a strategic investment that aligns with our vision to deliver secure, efficient, and scalable solutions for decentralized data storage to mainstream users. It also represented one of Spain’s most expensive web domain acquisitions in the past decades, giving expression to our big ambitions.
- When it comes to attracting interest from VCs, how can Web3 projects set themselves apart?
To stand out to VCs, Web3 projects should emphasize their value proposition, assemble a skilled team, develop a working prototype, and craft a robust tokenomics model. Building an engaged community, forging strategic partnerships, addressing regulatory concerns, and demonstrating scalability are crucial. A clear roadmap, market research, security audits, data privacy, and token utility must be part of the pitch. Transparent communication, traction metrics, and tailoring the pitch to VC interests further enhance the chances of securing funding.
- As a teenage founder, what steps can be taken to entice younger generations to explore blockchain technology?
We are on a mission to broaden the accessibility of Web3 to mainstream users, which includes younger participants, who will ultimately shape the future of Web3. We have a well-defined and easy to understand use case that can seamlessly be integrated into a user’s everyday online routine. I think seeing young founders like myself and Alexander will hopefully encourage greater Web3 participation from our generation.
The Web3 movement has been powered by a spirit of decentralization, underpinned by the principles of transparency, user autonomy and security. I think these principles resonate with younger generations of digital savvy and privacy centric users. Web3 systematically addresses many of the prevalent challenges across the Web2 domain – the dominance of select industry heavyweights and the privacy of individual’s data being undercut at every turn. This has been the sad reality of Web2 data storage – until now. We want to re-wire the status quo data storage landscape and deliver a more user-centric and transparent framework that serves the best interests of the individual, and we think younger users will want to be part of this new era.
- What’s next for hello.app?
We aspire to usher in a transformative era in the internet landscape and aim to achieve unicorn status within three years. Our mission is to effect significant change on a global scale by empowering individuals to participate in and uphold the democratization of the internet. We firmly believe that affording people the ability to shape and contribute to this evolution is of paramount importance.