The world in which you own your data is vanishing.
It might not even exist NOW.
With every day, the level of ownership and control people have over their own data erodes, gradually wearing away under the constant tides of GREATER CONVENIENCE.
Equifax. Facebook. Cambridge Analytica.
These aren’t exceptions to the rule…
They are glitches in the Matrix.
An indication of corruption that becomes so intense, so extreme, that it occasionally bursts out into our everyday lives to spectacular effect.
Companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook – and pretty much every other company you can imagine are collecting your data, storing it, and using it for their own benefit.
To be the owner of your data means being the exclusive provider of your information.
This erosion of data ownership isn’t new. Rather, it’s part of a decades-long trend.
In 2004, We Were Astonished By A Revolutionary New Technology…
It could change everything. It WOULD change everything.
This was before Dropbox. Before Gmail became standard. Back when Netflix was only sending out DVDs.
No one was offering a good solution that made full use of the cloud.
We thought we were the ones to do it, and the solution we created was called ViaCube.
To quote from an old mission statement, the goal was “to make digital living a reality today through an always-on, accessible-everywhere, complete ‘Personal OS’ that is accessible for storing, streaming, managing and sharing rich media and content.”
We envisioned a single site you could go to that held your email, your contacts, your messaging app, your calendar, your books, your documents, your music, your videos…
Yeah, it’s the same thing that companies like Google are doing TODAY. It won the “Best of Show” Innovation award at CES in 2006.
But here’s the thing – the key word in our vision?
We never considered just keeping your data, like most do.
Sure, they might hand it back when you asked, like that guy taking your coat at a nice restaurant…
But when that data is not directly in your hands – they can do anything with it.
Copy it. Mine it. Sell it.
Which many of them did.
The benefits of the cloud were irresistible.
The ability to access and backup your files from any device? To no longer have to worry about that hard drive crashing, or whether you put something on your laptop or tablet? Not to mention the potential future uses – such as streaming and keeping a library of content available all the time.
But there was no way to take advantage of the newfound benefits of the cloud without giving third-party businesses control over your data.
So we made one.
In 2013, The IndieGoGo Campaign For The CloudLocker Raised $65,702.
Essentially, it was a personal cloud storage server that you had full control over.
You could put files in your CloudLocker and have them available from any device.
Pictures. Music. Videos. Anything.
People are still using them today.
But we wanted a way to go beyond the CloudLocker – to put the functionality of the CloudLocker in a package that ANYONE could use or access.
Today, Over 3 Million People Use StoAmigo To Skip Third-Party Control Of Their Data
Essentially, instead of an external hard drive – StoAmigo is a free app that lets you turn your computer or phone into a personal, private, server.
StoAmigo lets you do all the things you normally outsource to the cloud. Access your stuff from anywhere. Transfer and share files. Stream video.
It’s decentralized cloud storage and file management, in other words.
By nearly every measure it’s a success.
A 4.4 star rating on the Google Play Store. Millions of new users in the last year. And a stream of improvements that’s driving riotous growth.
A few years ago that would’ve been enough.
But it’s not. Not anymore.
The Power Of Convenience Has Advanced To An Unimaginable Degree
Companies today REALLY want your data.
They have more reason to.
In the past few years, with increasing frequency, you’ve probably had those moments where a suggestion pops up on Amazon that’s just PERFECT. Or when you glance at your Apple or Google newsfeed and it’s filled with interesting articles you’re curious about. Or when you say something to Alexa or Siri or Google Assistant and it just “gets you.”
When it happens you wonder…
How did they know that? How do they do that? Should you feel excited or creeped out?
All of it is made possible by the extensive data collecting they’re doing on people like you. The more they have, the more effective their algorithms. The more effective their algorithms, the more they will produce those “wow” moments.
Real-time translation. Self-driving cars. The universal automation of tedium.
The Future Is Amazing… And Requires A TON Of Your Data.
And the more of it they have, the more they can do for you…
…And without you.
We believe this trend of superior convenience through machine learning will naturally lead to a future in which nearly ALL personal information is collected and controlled by the companies that provide these capabilities. Opting out means skipping all the incredible things machine learning can do for you.
And when it comes to either being part of The Latest Cool Thing or staying private…
The former wins EVERY time.
We need an alternative. One that lets people do all the cool stuff WITHOUT compromising their data.
The key to that is blockchain.
Blockchain Isn’t About Money – It’s About Decentralization
You’ve heard about it. It’s the technology behind Bitcoin and Ethereum. People earning (and losing) fortunes in a day.
But regardless of how you feel about cryptocurrency – the technology behind it is here to stay.
IT HAS TO.
If we want a real chance of preventing that “Big Brother” future, we need a technology that lets us bypass the current paradigm.
The current landscape puts all the power in the hands of large corporations. By aggregating all the data, they can deliver tremendous applications. They own the method of data collection and the means of analyzing and utilizing that data.
We’re not going to get into the actual function of blockchain or how it works (that’s covered better elsewhere).
Blockchain Will Allow All The Benefits Of The IoT – Privately And Decentralized
Blockchain technology is still in its infancy. No technology CURRENTLY exists that replicates what Google, Amazon, or Apple are doing…
But it will.
Data will still be collected. Data will still be accumulated. We’ll still get all those awesome benefits of machine learning.
But it won’t be OWNED by any one company – it’ll be spread out amongst everyone who participates.
The data will be completely confidential.
And most importantly – you will completely control what is collected, where it goes, and what happens to it.
Our Mission Stays The Same.
Help people easily do whatever they want with their data. Privately.
It’s a journey we started in 2004 with ViaCube, then with CloudLocker, and then with StoAmigo.
It’s one we’re continuing with our new blockchain initiative – AXEL.
The world is heading down a dangerous path – and society is severely underestimating both the scale and danger inherent in current trends in data collection.
We need an alternative.
We’re Changing Our Name To AXEL To Reflect A Greater Mission
This name change will be fully rolled out over the next few weeks.
We’re also evolving our StoAmigo App (soon to be called the AXEL App) with blockchain functionality.
It’ll do all the things it does now, just better.
Enhanced privacy. Better functionality. Greater decentralization.
And we’re pursuing a few things that will let people do things that have NEVER been done before. As in “I didn’t know that was even possible.”
But our ultimate goal is to remove the stranglehold companies have on people’s data…
That’s why we’re building our own token.
We expect the AXEL Token to form the basis of a private future that gives all the benefits of the modern IoT age without the tradeoffs.
We’ll talk more about the specifics of what we’re doing in upcoming posts.