GREATERHEAT—Turning Up the Heat on Decentralized Data Storage
GREATERHEAT is a Filecoin storage provider that is making the transition to Web3 happen—and fostering community at the same time.
The TL;DR on GREATERHEAT
GREATERHEAT is an OG Filecoin storage provider that you should definitely know about. Headquartered in Singapore with roots in China, GREATERHEAT’s expertise with decentralized data storage dates back to 2018 when Filecoin was still in its testnet phase. GREATERHEAT currently operates about 3% of the storage capacity on the Filecoin network, and since 2019 has expanded its decentralized storage capacity by ~500% every year. GREATERHEAT earned about $60 million in 2021—an impressive figure for a young organization in a nascent industry.
GREATERHEAT is a Filecoin storage provider, but also takes a much broader approach to adding value to the Filecoin ecosystem. The company provides data storage services (like sealing) to other storage providers, plus customizes and sells data storage hardware. GREATERHEAT sells software, too, and provides consulting services to storage providers who are new to the Filecoin network.
But what makes GREATERHEAT really stand out is its active involvement with the Filecoin community. If it happened at Filecoin, GREATERHEAT was probably involved—and the Filecoin community became better for it. Keep reading to get your head around GREATERHEAT and what’s in store—pun intended!—for this rapidly growing Web3 company.
What is GREATERHEAT?
GREATERHEAT describes itself as an “infrastructure builder for Web3.” GREATERHEAT is a Filecoin storage provider and Web3 technology company that’s dedicated to using innovative tools to meet the needs of enterprise clients. GREATERHEAT is headquartered in Singapore with an international footprint that extends to Hong Kong and Texas.
The Filecoin storage provider is actively storing data in Singapore and Hong Kong, with the majority of the stored data located in Hong Kong. GREATERHEAT operates 320 racks in Hong Kong and is currently adding 200 racks to a data center in Dallas, Texas.
GREATERHEAT as a decentralized storage provider focuses on industries with large data storage needs. Some key targets include the film industry, media production, healthcare, and public libraries. GREATERHEAT currently has a data storage capacity of 500 pebibytes (PiB), with a planned capacity of 1,000 PiB by year-end 2023.
The Singapore company, which was initially bootstrapped but is now profitable, earns its primary income from storing data for clients. GREATERHEAT has diversified its revenue streams to include hardware sales, software sales, consulting services, and data onboarding services for other storage providers.
GREATERHEAT is extensively involved with the Filecoin community and actively participates in many Filecoin programs, including:
- Filecoin Plus—an incentive program designed to attract high-quality data to the network
- Moon Landing—an accelerator program designed to assist storage providers with becoming operational
- Slingshot—a community program with the goal of preserving open datasets on the decentralized web
- Evergreen—an initiative established to guarantee the permanence of data onboarded through the Slingshot program
- Orbit—another community program that empowers participants to organize events and create content with the goal of amplifying the voice of the Filecoin
- Saturn—a program that recruits Filecoin node operators to support Web3-based content delivery for Web2 clients
GREATERHEAT stands out for its efforts to nurture and grow the Filecoin community. According to GREATERHEAT, the company is “choosing to actively participate—not just with the tech but with the people behind it.” GREATERHEAT actively works to “promote Filecoin use cases for practical use and [to] bring more people into the network,” says David Li, GREATERHEAT’s Founder and CEO.
Why does GREATERHEAT exist?
GREATERHEAT is on a mission to drive technological innovation and create resources that enhance overall human welfare. The Filecoin storage provider views technological progress as the most effective way to address resource scarcity and conflicts of all kinds. “If [technological] progress is large enough, it can improve overall human well-being and life satisfaction,” according to David Li and GREATERHEAT.
GREATERHEAT views the transition to Web3 as being necessary to better protect internet users, and considers decentralized data storage as a core component of a more secure internet. The decentralized storage provider chooses to use the Filecoin network because it views the protocol as essential to the next generation of internet. GREATERHEAT points out that “Filecoin can greatly reduce the cost of storage, and protects data security and privacy” better than traditional Web2 storage providers.
GREATERHEAT’s products & services
GREATERHEAT has a diversified scope of products and services that reflects its ambitions to hold a leadership role in the decentralized storage industry. Let’s take a look at each of the products and services that GREATERHEAT provides:
- Decentralized data storage: GREATERHEAT uses cloud technology to provide decentralized data storage on the Filecoin network. Enterprises with large datasets pay GREATERHEAT to securely store their files in accordance with Filecoin network protocols. GREATERHEAT through a channel partner also supports a platform called CryptoMint, which facilitates decentralized data storage for Web3 startup companies.
- Data onboarding services: The Filecoin storage provider offers sealing-as-a-service to other storage providers in the network. Sealing—the one-time process of onboarding new data to the Filecoin network—is a resource-intensive procedure that is out of reach (logistically and financially) for many new storage providers.
- Hardware: GREATERHEAT customizes and sells hardware for decentralized data storage. The hardware is retrofitted to meet the specifications of GREATERHEAT clients—in this case other storage providers.
- Software: GREATERHEAT builds and sells software IP solutions to assist other storage providers with managing their operations. The Singaporean storage provider uses zero-knowledge proofs as the basis for its software applications.
- Consulting: GREATERHEAT provides consulting services to new Filecoin storage providers to assist with their hardware and software configurations.
How GREATERHEAT stores data
You may be wondering exactly how GREATERHEAT stores data for its clients. Here are the steps in a nutshell:
- Client prepares and ships data: The client first prepares the data and sends it to the appropriate gateway—a web server controlled by GREATERHEAT.
- GREATERHEAT receives data: GREATERHEAT uses Boost, a Filecoin program that enables data onboarding and retrieval, to download the data.
- Data is packaged for storage: GREATERHEAT completes a process known as sealing, which readies the data for Filecoin storage.
- Data is stored: The sealed data is stored by GREATERHEAT in accordance with Filecoin network protocols. The data can also be replicated and held with multiple storage providers at the client’s request.
- Data is retrieved upon request: GREATERHEAT can retrieve data for clients at any time upon request.
Check out this nifty diagram that summarizes the data onboarding process:
GREATERHEAT uses industrial web servers manufactured by Dell and Lenovo. The Filecoin storage provider uses standard computing hardware and Lotus software optimized to meet GREATERHEAT’s needs.
A brief history of GREATERHEAT
GREATERHEAT was formally founded in June 2021 by David Li, Neo Young, Andy Hao, and Yin HaoYu. But the GREATERHEAT story really begins in 2018, when David—GREATERHEAT’s CEO—founded the predecessor to GREATERHEAT known as the Hangzhou Diancun Technology Company.
Diancun Technology was established in June 2018 in Hangzhou, China, to provide distributed storage capacity to the Filecoin network. The company in February 2019 became the first storage provider node in Asia to join the Filecoin network. Diancun Technology participated in multiple Filecoin test networks, before the protocol’s main network launched in 2020.
Here are some other important milestones that occurred in GREATERHEAT’s prehistory:
- Launch of first storage server: Diancun Technology in November 2019 began operating its first server for decentralized data storage.
- Storage capacity exceeds 200 PiB: Only 17 months after becoming operational, in April 2021, Diancun Technology’s data storage capacity exceeded 200 PiB.
China’s government crackdown on cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based companies necessitated a geographic move for the company that began in 2020. Diancun Technology successfully relocated all of its data storage servers to Hong Kong and Singapore—an impressive accomplishment—and re-established itself as the Singaporean entity GREATERHEAT in June of 2021.
Operating as GREATERHEAT, the company continued to flourish, with the next milestone occurring in April 2022. The Filecoin storage provider crossed an important threshold, with its decentralized data storage capacity exceeding 500 PiB.
Who is the GREATERHEAT team?
Let’s get to know the GREATERHEAT team, which is composed of four key members and around 120 employees in total.
David Li, Founder & Chief Executive Officer
David Li, GREATERHEAT’s founder & CEO, has been leading GREATERHEAT and its predecessor company full time since 2018. Prior to founding Diancun Technology, David was the founder and CEO of a company specializing in mobile and virtual reality application development. David began his career with a fabless semiconductor company as an information technology (IT) engineer, focusing on various smartphone projects.
Andy Hao, Co-Founder & President
Andy Hao is a GREATERHEAT co-founder and the organization’s President. Andy was among the first investors in Diancun Technology in 2018, and is also a serial entrepreneur. Andy has founded several international businesses in diverse industries ranging from furniture, clothing, and foreign trade. Andy’s involvement in the blockchain sector, as both an evangelist and participant, extends back to 2014.
Neo Young, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer
Neo Young is a GREATERHEAT co-founder and the organization’s CTO. Prior to co-founding GREATERHEAT, Neo was the CEO of an edge computing business known as the Hangzhou Byte Ark Technology Company. Neo previously served as Technical Director of Pixelbeam, a video game development studio, and began his career as a software engineer.
Yin HaoYu, Co-Founder & General Manager
Yin HaoYu co-founded GREATERHEAT and serves as the organization’s General Manager. Prior to the inception of GREATERHEAT, Yin held several managerial positions focused in accounting and international business expansion. Yin began his career as a financial auditor and is a Certified Public Accountant.
GREATERHEAT describes its culture as value-driven and collaborative, with an emphasis on creating products and services that the marketplace actually needs. GREATERHEAT strives to cultivate a strong team-based culture that builds on employees’ strengths and encourages innovative approaches to problem solving.
Who uses GREATERHEAT?
Let’s dig in to better understand who are the primary clients of GREATERHEAT:
- Enterprises: Organizations with large datasets are the key clients of GREATERHEAT. The Filecoin storage provider works with enterprises to onboard, replicate, and store their data using the Filecoin network.
- Other storage providers: GREATERHEAT provides both services and products to Filecoin storage providers. GREATERHEAT provides general consulting services to new Filecoin storage providers, plus customizes and sells data storage hardware systems. Storage providers also purchase software IP solutions from GREATERHEAT and leverage its sealing-as-a-service offering.
GREATERHEAT additionally works with investors and channel partners. Investors enable GREATERHEAT to meet its Filecoin collateral requirement for new storage deals, while channel partners help GREATERHEAT to market and sell in additional geographic regions.
How GREATERHEAT approaches marketing & sales
Speaking of marketing and selling—what is GREATERHEAT’s approach to these crucial business functions?
GREATERHEAT approaches marketing by being thoughtful about its positioning. GREATERHEAT views itself as an educator and service provider, with a core marketing objective of raising awareness. With the decentralized data storage industry still in its nascency, GREATERHEAT strives to raise awareness not just about GREATERHEAT itself but also about Filecoin data storage and decentralized internet.
GREATERHEAT is actively involved with both Web2 and Web3 data storage communities—another major component of its marketing strategy. GREATERHEAT views its engagement with the Filecoin community as being its most important marketing effort, and participates in Web2 data storage gatherings to educate about the benefits of Web3. GREATERHEAT also tailors its marketing efforts by geography to meet the varying needs of local audiences.
The specific marketing tactics that GREATERHEAT prioritizes include organizing and participating in events and actively engaging with users on social media. GREATERHEAT has also used search engine marketing strategies, but finds that one-directional tactics like these are generally less effective.
GREATERHEAT approaches sales by treating the sales process as a natural extension of its marketing efforts. The GREATERHEAT sales process is high touch and heavily focused on education and trust building. GREATERHEAT both engages in sales activities directly and leverages the efforts of channel partners.
GREATERHEAT seeks to convert leads generated through event participation, social media, search engines, and other channels. The sales cycle is generally long and involves a combination of in-person and virtual meetings, phone calls, emails, and document sharing. GREATERHEAT is diligent about identifying upsell opportunities to maximize the revenue generated by each prospective or current client.
Operations at GREATERHEAT
How are GREATERHEAT operations organized? Let’s take a closer look at operations at this decentralized storage provider.
The 120-person GREATERHEAT team is structured into several key departments, including:
- Research and development
- Data center operations & maintenance
- Customer service
About half of all GREATERHEAT team members are focused on research and development, reflecting the storage provider’s emphasis on innovation. Among the executive team, key responsibilities are divided as follows:
- David as the CEO is primarily responsible for GREATERHEAT’s overall direction and strategy
- Neo, as CTO, is responsible for GREATERHEAT’s research and development efforts
- Yin is responsible for regulatory compliance and managing GREATERHEAT’s finances, including fundraising
- Andy is GREATERHEAT’s expert on sales and marketing, including channel partnerships
Challenges for GREATERHEAT
GREATERHEAT is flourishing as a decentralized storage provider, but like any growing company, faces a pressing set of challenges. Let’s dig in to understand the primary obstacles for GREATERHEAT, and what the company is doing to overcome these hurdles.
Challenge #1—Client acquisition
GREATERHEAT faces a long sales cycle that requires high touch and plenty of education on decentralized data storage. Enterprise clients, understandably, have many questions about security and privacy, and may not be knowledgeable about Web3. GREATERHEAT is challenged to streamline the client acquisition process, without reducing its effectiveness, to make acquiring new clients faster and less costly.
GREATERHEAT benefits from Filecoin-sponsored incentive programs like Filecoin Plus, which supports the client acquisition process by directly incentivizing clients. But growing pains and shortcomings associated with these incentive programs can limit their utility for GREATERHEAT, requiring the storage provider to devote substantial in-house resources to client acquisition.
GREATERHEAT is overcoming this challenge by focusing more on the marketing and sales tactics that are most effective. The storage provider is increasingly active in the Filecoin community, taking every opportunity to add value and give back to many Filecoin stakeholders. GREATERHEAT is also proactively supporting clients to access and benefit from the existing Filecoin incentive programs.
Challenge #2—Income diversification
The nascency of the decentralized data storage sector creates a risk of unpredictable cash flows for any company operating in the space. GREATERHEAT is challenged to build a Filecoin storage business while also diversifying its income streams to include stable cash flows.
GREATERHEAT is addressing this challenge by actively pursuing business lines that complement its core data storage business. GREATERHEAT is diversifying between product and service offerings, and hiring personnel dedicated to exploring ancillary business opportunities. GREATERHEAT, like every startup company, has limited resources—but the company is ensuring that those resources are strategically deployed to promote the long-term financial health of GREATERHEAT.
Challenge #3—Hiring top talent
With its headquarters in Singapore and a global footprint, GREATERHEAT is challenged to build a competitive international team that’s capable of operating across geographic markets. GREATERHEAT as a technology company needs to hire highly qualified, often highly technical personnel—ideally with deep Filecoin expertise. Finding and successfully recruiting qualified people is a persistent challenge for GREATERHEAT.
The Filecoin storage provider is overcoming this challenge by taking a diversified approach to recruiting and hiring. GREATERHEAT directly approaches candidates in Singapore and China, plus actively works with professional recruiters in other geographies. GREATERHEAT frequently receives word-of-mouth referrals, and leverages its involvement with the Filecoin community to identify candidates with significant data storage expertise.
GREATERHEAT is a pioneering storage provider on the Filecoin network that has experienced plenty of success. Keep reading to learn more about GREATERHEAT’s biggest wins to date.
Success #1—Ranked six times as Filecoin’s top-performing node
After Filecoin’s launch of the Lotus reference implementation in 2019, GREATERHEAT adapted its hardware and software within one month and began participating in the Filecoin test network. Between November 2019 and August 2020, GREATERHEAT ranked six times as the #1 node by computing capacity. GREATERHEAT ranked #3 or higher three more times in the same time period.
GREATERHEAT attributes this success to the strength of its R&D team. The GREATERHEAT team was able to quickly adapt its hardware to be compatible with the new Filecoin ecosystem, and naturally assumed a leadership role in the ecosystem as a result. GREATERHEAT continues to build on this competitive strength by investing heavily in research and development.
Success #2—Developed Dragonfly app to win Slingshot competition
GREATERHEAT in 2020 participated in the first phase of Slingshot, a Filecoin incentive program that GREATERHEAT won by developing its own software app called Dragonfly. Slingshot is a program sponsored by Filecoin that in its first iteration rewarded storage providers for recruiting clients to the Filecoin Plus program. GREATERHEAT’s Dragonfly application enabled the storage provider to onboard clients in a smooth and efficient manner.
GREATERHEAT attributes this win to the team’s top-notch skills as software developers. GREATERHEAT continues to build on this success by selling software as a standalone product, plus the team persists in developing new and innovative tools to support the Filecoin network.
Success #3—Transferred Filecoin storage out of China with zero losses
When China’s government began cracking down on cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses, GREATERHEAT knew that it needed to relocate. The Filecoin storage provider in December 2021 transferred 100% of its storage capacity—more than 300 PiB and 3,000 servers—out of the country. The move was a resounding success, with 0% sector loss.
GREATERHEAT attributes the success of this challenging move to the company’s ability to develop and execute a clear and robust strategy. The storage provider’s well-staffed R&D team was expertly suited for this arduous task—one that many storage providers in China were not able or willing to undertake.
What’s ahead for GREATERHEAT?
GREATERHEAT has plenty of goals for the future. Let’s dig in to understand what’s ahead for GREATERHEAT.
By early 2023, GREATERHEAT expects to increase its data storage capacity for the Filecoin Plus program to 50 PiB. Over the next 2-5 years, GREATERHEAT has exciting plans to use rockets to launch Filecoin nodes into space. Wow! GREATERHEAT plans to eventually send all of its nodes into orbit—to reduce operational costs and increase the nodes’ effectiveness—provided that the cost of rocket launches drops significantly.
Looking ahead five years, GREATERHEAT expects its data storage capacity to exceed 1 EiB. With most or all of its Filecoin nodes in space, GREATERHEAT also aspires to list itself as a public company. GREATERHEAT is already turning up the heat on Filecoin data storage, and over the coming years is well poised for a metaphoric rocket launch to new heights. Stay tuned as GREATERHEAT realizes its full potential as a leading Web3 infrastructure and services provider.