How A 26-Year-Old Entrepreneur Is Shaking Up The Tech World With His Open Source Cloud Storage Platform

Written by Ann Brown

cloud storage
(Photo: YouTube)

At the age of 26, Shawn Wilkinson has already shaken up the tech world more than a few times. His latest effort is Storj, an open source cloud storage platform that can’t be censored, monitored, or have downtime. According to the website, “Our mission is to rethink cloud storage, to provide the security, privacy, and transparency it’s missing. That’s why we are building an open-source cloud platform that aims to fundamentally change the way people and devices own data. We welcome your feedback, bug reports, and pull requests.”

As such, Storj is the first decentralized, end-to-end encrypted cloud storage that uses blockchain technology and cryptography to secure data.

“I started Storj to provide crowdsourced p2p data storage. Most data out there is centralized, and by decentralizing it, I wanted to provide a similar service that was faster, cheaper and more secure — without forcing the users to change their habits too much. Storj was started as an open source project in 2014, and we launched with a crowdsale.The Storj tokens we released allow people to use space on the network. We raised half a million dollars through the token crowdsale, and in 2015 we started Storj Labs Inc.,” he told We Trust.

Wilkinson raised an impressive $30 million in just 7 days at a Token Sale.

“I started getting involved with blockchain around 2012. A friend of mine was mining, and I thought hey, I’ll try it out. I mined about $50 worth of Bitcoin, and was around for the first large Bitcoin bubble. I thought “whoa, this is pretty cool,” started digging into it more and fell in love with the technology, started seeing uses for it outside of just being a currency,” he told We Trust.

The native Atlantan has always been an entrepreneur at heart. In fact, he started his first business when he was in elementary school, making and selling pillows just because he thought it was something he could do and make money at.  And when his father got him his first computer at ag six, Wilkinson was fasnicationed. He began a website development business when he was in the 6th grade. “By high school Shawn was teaching online tutorials on his own YouTube channel about how to build websites. His online persona of super3boy garnered around 3-4 million total views and Shawn used this popularity to build an active forum community for teaching,” Atlanta Tech Village reported.

Wilkinson went on to major in Computer Science on a full scholarship at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he first learned about bitcoin.

“I felt like it was the coolest thing ever, and could be so impactful. I read the whitepaper and loved the concept. There were so many things that could be built and so much to explore. It was all new and interesting,” he told Atlanta Tech Village.

It was while at Morehouse he came up with the concept for Storj, which has its first token sale was in 2014 rising half a million dollars. Next, they did  a traditional raise between 2015-2017 and racked in another $3 million. But, according to Wilkinson, raising funds wasn’t easy because he was young and African American.

He told Atlanta Tech Village, “We need more people of diverse backgrounds who are excited about building new things. If you see a gap, don’t wait for someone else to be that example–embrace the opportunity to be the innovator in that space. There is a unique perspective you have that someone else won’t.”

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About Ann Brown
Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. Her work has appeared in CocoaFab, Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire.com, New York Trend, Upscale, Moguldom, AFKInsider, The Network Journal, Playboy, Africa Strictly Business, For Harriet, Pathfinders, Black Meetings & Tourism, Frequent Flier, Girl, Honey, Source Sports, The Source, Black Radio Exclusive, and Launch. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cabo Verde,” a Facebook community.