Filecoin Techstars AMA Series: Stefaan Vervaet of Protocol Labs

Nov 05, 2021

By Carson Nye, Investment Associate, Techstars Seattle + Filecoin Techstars Accelerator

On Tuesday, October 12, Filecoin Techstars Accelerator Managing Director Isaac Kato hosted Stefaan Vervaet, Ecosystem & Partnerships leader at Protocol Labs. Isaac and Stefaan discussed several topics including the exciting progress of Filecoin over the past year, where Filecoin and the IPFS ecosystem are headed in the future, and the upcoming Filecoin Techstars Accelerator.

Applications for the Filecoin Techstars Accelerator program are due on December 22, 2021. Here are some key highlights from their discussion, and you can click here to watch the video of the conversation

What does the world look like 10 years from now around Filecoin and IPFS? 

Data is the most valuable asset in the digital world and digital economy, and Filecoin’s mission is to store humanity’s most important data. Today humans generate ~60 ZB (33 trillion GB) of data and that number is expected to grow significantly but we can only store 2% of that data. By solving the data storage problem through IPFS and decentralization, we believe the Filecoin ecosystem will unlock a world where users can truly store, own, and monetize their data. 

What are some milestones Filecoin achieved since launching on Mainnet a year ago?

In the past year the network grew up to 12 exbibytes (EiB) of decentralized storage capacity (i.e. 54,000 Wikipedias) and we haven’t seen any storage network grow capacity that quickly. The IPFS network is comprised of over 3,300 storage providers worldwide and that number is growing daily, ultimately signaling the alignment and success of the Filecoin incentive system.

Also, we saw 230 enterprises launch on top of IPFS, we built a series of tools to onboard new projects onto the network, and finally, we onboarded 30 Petabytes of user data demonstrating the utility of the Filecoin and IPFS networks.

What are interesting spaces for founders building on IPFS both now and in the future?

Going beyond the immutable data archiving functionality the IPFS network provides I see a lot of potential in data unions and data monetization. One example is a startup that uses hardware devices to measure whether data where users can collectively form a weather dataset with these devices and monetize this dataset in a collective and trustless fashion. 

Talk about the Filecoin Foundation and give us some examples of the things they do?

The foundation supports the IPFS and Filecoin ecosystem through a series of grants as well as weekly working groups to support stakeholders in the network in achieving outcomes that lead to the collective good of the network. This could be Lobbying on behalf of decentralization, supporting storage providers through bounties, or providing grants to hackathon participants. 

Can you walk through the Techstars Filecoin Accelerator?

Techstars is a global accelerator network that turns the narrative of “most startups fail” on its head as nearly 80% of Techstars startups have successful exits or are still operating. We achieve this success by pairing our startups with a robust network of mentors providing a myriad of functional and industry expertise. The Filecoin Accelerator marries the best of Techstars with the network, experience, and ecosystems of Protocol Labs and Filecoin. This means that startups in the accelerator will have the knowledge base and a mentor network focused on typical startup skill sets (fundraising, product development, GTM, etc.) as well as crypto startup skillsets (tokenization, crypto legal matters, Web3 architectures, etc.).