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French Startup Offers Idle Servers Part-Time Job to Power Ethereum DApps

While it is true that humankind put a man on the moon using the computing power equivalent to a modern programmable calculator, there are many great things that still don’t happen because the computational power is scarce and expensive. High-performance computing is still a closely guarded secret weapon of the rich and privileged. Large banks and traders use proprietary algorithms for automated trading, movie makers create impressive special effects, pharmaceutical companies research new drugs and enormous mining farms generate Bitcoin wealth from the thin air. The future seems already to be here, but not for everyone.

And, at the same time, there are millions of computers and servers throughout the world that waste energy and money, idle and underemployed. What if this resource, still untapped, could be pooled and sold to anyone who needs it, so that users won’t have to actually purchase expensive servers or rack up mind-boggling bills on Amazon Web Services or Azure?

This is the idea of iExec Computing Power Marketplace — a sort of Airbnb for computing power that allows anyone, business or individual, to rent out their unused computing resources like a spare room in their apartment. It’s there, anyway, so why not make some money on it?

Based in Lyon, France, iExec aims to make cheap and abundant computing power available to anyone by releasing a marketplace that enables one to trade cloud computing power as a commodity. On this marketplace, anyone can pledge computing power to whatever task that requires it and be rewarded in RLC tokens — their native cryptocurrency — for their contribution. iExec raised about $12 million in their ICO — 10,000 BTC, at the time — in May, 2017. The iExec founders were involved in cloud and distributed computing at various scientific research institutes since 2000.

Delivering on its promises, iExec brought its computing power marketplace online on May 29, during the Blockshow conference in Berlin, when Gilles Fedak — iExec’s founder and CEO — gave a keynote speech and performed a 3D rendering demo.

Nuts and bolts

Technologically, iExec is based on XtremWeb-HEP, a distributed and parallel computing technology that has been around for more than 10 years and have managed, according to iExec, to successfully connect together more than 200,000 computers. It is worth noting that the current iExec CTO, Oleg Lodygensky, was one of the principal developers of this technology.

iExec equipped this long-existing and proven technology with a PoCo (proof-of-contribution) protocol that allows off-chain consensus, makes sure computations are correctly carried out on the network of decentralized nodes, and regulates the flow of rewards between buyers and sellers of computing resources.

iExec builds on the success of volunteer-based grid computing. Grid computing projects like Asteroids@home racked in an impressive performance of some 220 TFLOPS (Trillion Floating Point operations per second) in January 2016, without any kind of incentive for its more than 20,000 participants. A lot involved into computer science remember SETI@Home initiative, they employed the unused computing resources of volunteers’ computers to search for extraterrestrial life.

Volunteer grid computing projects are numerous and quite successful for noncommercial, pro bono causes. To become sufficiently reliable for  commercial applications, a monetary reward should be brought into play.

This is exactly what iExec does — its marketplace makes computing power a tradeable asset, and offers a way to reward those who pledge their spare resources. Obviously, the desire to earn money — without investing anything, giving better usage to corporate and private computers, servers and mining rigs — would entice many more people and businesses to participate.  

Lowering the entry barrier to high-performance computing, iExec intends to make it available to small and medium-sized businesses. As explained in the iExec white paper:

“The computing power to run big data applications is most often provided by cloud and High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructures. However, cloud and HPC infrastructures are complex and expensive. That means that innovative small businesses often don’t have the means and the expertise to acquire and operate HPC platforms, while traditional cloud infrastructure vendors like Amazon AWS are still very expensive for demanding applications (e.g. GPU rendering).”

Corporate-grade security

Apart from rewarding the participants for the computing resources pledged in the marketplace, security questions are also critical for the large-scale business adoption of the technology. iExec have taken various steps to ensure the confidentiality of the code and the data it offers to process on the distributed, untrusted nodes.

While the top-end software encryption standards are something one can expect from this sort of application, iExec is taking one step further — company sources have confirmed to Cointelegraph that the company is actively working on new cloud standards of hardware encryption.

To achieve that, iExec partnered with Intel to support Intel’s SGX technology, that allows maintaining data privacy while performing computing on untrusted nodes that are controlled by third parties. This approach allows new cloud computing paradigms, like processing private data, without risking any leak. The company has already presented a live demo of its SGX implementation.

DApps as an adoption driver

iExec can support compute-intensive applications within a wide range of fields, from artificial intelligence and fintech to scientific research. Nevertheless, to become attractive for current cloud and HPC users, iExec has to actually create a formidable network that can deliver substantial computing power.

In order to achieve this, iExec has decided to focus on blockchain DApps (decentralized applications) as the first step of its adoption strategy.

Reflecting this decision, even the user interface of iExec closely resembles a cryptocurrency exchange in order to make things more familiar for the blockchain users.

iExec user interface

iExec user interface. Image source: iExec

As of now, DApp adoption lags behind traditional mobile and web apps because blockchain apps lack simple, secure and scalable access to powerful off-chain computing resources, as the iExec founders argue. The statement is true: according to State of DApps, the number of daily active users for all DApps combined is less than 10,000 worldwide, and the overall number of DApps hasn’t even reached 2000, as of July, 2018,. Most DApps have less than 100 daily users.

Image source: The State of dApps

Image source: The State of dApps

“At the moment, the gas mechanism provided by the Ethereum blockchain makes the execution of algorithms with computation and/or memory requirements rapidly costly and performance prohibitive. Thanks to […] iExec, DApps will have a simple, secure, and practical way to reach off-chain computing resources to execute their applications,” the company said in its white paper.

After multi-billion investments in blockchain projects over the last couple of years, the surviving post-ICO projects will require an off-chain computing infrastructure — and iExec’s marketplace is poised to fulfil the demand.

iExec doesn’t lay in wait for the tide of DApps to rise their ship, though. The company also undertakes a range of activities to bolster DApp adoption. One example is the DApp Challenge that iExec has organized, where they financed 15 innovative projects with a grant of $150K. Also, iExec created an app store for DApps — or a DApp Store — that proposes a way for the developers to efficiently monetize their DApps.

iExec’s adoption strategy differs from other contenders like Golem and SONM, which share a similar vision of the future internet infrastructure. “Golem aims at first assembling a network to attract regular 3D rendering users to their platform, SONM is approaching fog and edge computing from the beginning, while iExec first focuses on supporting DApps to build a decentralized cloud that eventually will be competitive enough to attract cloud and HPC users,” states the iExec white paper.

As iExec has reached their hard-cap of 10,000 BTC, the company is now committed to implementing its most extensive and ambitious development plan. In May, 2021, iExec plans to have a fully decentralized blockchain computing platform and build support for emerging fog and edge computing infrastructure.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Golem CEO Says Ethereum is the Most Promising Blockchain Network

Ethereum is now one of the most important blockchain networks in the market. About it, Zulian Zawistowski, CEO of Golem, said that Vitalik Buterin’s creation is the most promising platform. Ether is now the second most important virtual currency in the market after Bitcoin.

Ethereum is The Most Promising Blockchain Platform

It seems that Ethereum is being considered by several important figures as one of the most promising platforms in the world. Indeed, this is what Golem’s CEO believes.

During a TNW Answer Session, Mr. Zawistowski commented about it:

“Ethereum is by far the most promising platform and we cannot see another on that’s remotely close to it. Of course we would like to interact with blockchain more and once Ethereum scales we will be able to do it in a wider manner.”

Golem is now the 46th cryptocurrency in importance by market capitalization. Each Golem token can be bought for $0.46 dollars and it has a market value of $390 million dollars.

Golem is a worldwide and decentralized supercomputer that combines the computing power of every single machine connected to the network. Users are able to share and monetize their computer power and others are able to buy it in a fair marketplace.

According to Mr. Zawistowski, one of the main goals of Golem is to help in various different areas, including medical research, or urban planning.

“In an ideal setting we would like to see Golem solving and helping various areas, even though AI is very important for us, I think we would stay way from governmental issues,” answered Julian Zawistowski to a question related to political and financial involvement of the Golem network.

“We would like to see Golem help medical research and discoveries, run computations for AI that can help urban planning and make a more harmonious world,” he explained.

Ethereum is now working on different scaling solutions, such as Sharding and Plasma. These two proposals would be able to increase the capacity of the public blockchain network. In this way, many other projects and developers will be able to work on top of it without having bottlenecks as it happened in the past – when CryptoKitties appeared, for example.

Ethereum in the Market

At the moment, there are other blockchain networks that are trying to replace Ethereum, or at least be a real competitor to Ethereum’s dominance. EOS, Tron or NEO are starting to offer similar services like Ethereum, and in the future could be widely adopted.

But at the moment, the results have been not so clear. Ethereum’s cryptocurrency is the second most important in the market, developers are still work on that network, and other platforms are not able to replace or even challenge it.

At the moment, Ethereum is being traded around $586 dollars, and it has a market capitalization of $58 billion dollars. At the same time, EOS is now the 5th most important currency in the market and it has a total market value of $10 billion dollars.

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Ethereum Price Analysis: Chance to Catch an ETH/USD Pullback!

Ethereum broke past its descending trend line on the 4-hour time frame to signal that an uptrend is underway. However, technical indicators have yet to catch on, so a pullback to the broken resistance is still a possibility.

The 100 SMA is below the longer-term 200 SMA to signal that the path of least resistance is to the downside. In other words, the selloff could still resume from here. However, the gap between the moving averages is narrowing to signal weakening bearish pressure and a potential bullish crossover.

The 100 SMA is close to the broken trend line and might act as dynamic support from here. This also near the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level around $450. The 200 SMA is closer to the 38.2% Fib at $474.

Stochastic is turning down from overbought conditions to show that buyers might want to take a break and let sellers take over from here. Similarly, RSI is turning lower to signal a pickup in selling pressure as well.

Cryptocurrencies were generally higher throughout the weekend as the tax filing deadline is about to pass and traders are anticipating a strong rally as investors reopen their positions. Apart from that, the pickup in geopolitical risk stemming from military strikes on Syria both weighed on the US dollar and led to a rise in non-traditional assets like ethereum.

Besides, the recent Golem launch appears to have generated enough positive momentum for ethereum. Golem markets itself as the Airbnb of computers, allowing users to rent out unused CPU power to those who are looking to make use of more.

For now, though, Golem is in Brass Beta phase and is being used through Blender an open-source software for animated films, visual effects, interactive 3D applications and video games. If the concept proves feasible and scalable, ethereum could be poised for a stronger climb from here.

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Ethereum Price Analysis: Ready for a Break Higher on Golem Launch

Ethereum is trading inside a rising channel on its 1-hour time frame and barely dipped to support before making another test of resistance. This suggests that bulls are eager to get back in the game and might be strong enough to push for an upside break.

Price found enough support around the mid-channel area of interest, which was near the moving averages’ dynamic inflection points. Speaking of moving averages, the 100 SMA is above the longer-term 200 SMA so the path of least resistance is to the upside. This means that the uptrend is more likely to continue than to reverse.

However, RSI is already dipping into overbought territory to reflect weakening bullish momentum. Stochastic is pointing up but also in the overbought region, which suggests that bears could still take over. In that case, another dip to the middle of the channel around $400-410 could be possible as this lines up with the 100 SMA dynamic support.

Geopolitical risk appears to be providing some support for cryptocurrencies as traders are reluctant to buy the dollar. There is threat of military action on Syria after an alleged chemical attack in Damascus over the weekend and escalating tensions could have repercussions on the US.

Besides, trade war fears aren’t completely out of the picture just yet. US CPI has also been weaker than expected, preventing the dollar from rallying strongly on more hawkish FOMC minutes.

As for ethereum itself, the cryptocurrency is higher on the launch of Golem on mainnet. This allows people to put their computer’s excess CPU power to use for other people, a project three years in the making. The current release should allow developers to find out if it is feasible to run with real money.

Golem works through a software client, which connects the two parties in the network – those that sell computational resources or providers and those that want to rent CPU power or requestors.

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Blockchain Computing Platform Golem Launches Mainnet Beta 1.5 Years After ICO

Golem, the Ethereum-based CPU power renting network, finally released its beta mainnet implementation April 10, 18 months after its 820,000 ETH ICO, equal to about $345 mln today.

In a blog post, developers of the self-dubbed “Airbnb for computers,” which aims to pay internet users to occupy their unused processing power, said that while there was “still a lot of work to do,” the mainnet release represented “the big step.”

Golem’s GNT token rose 20% on the news to hit $0.25, having previously risen as high as $1.15 during a broad altcoin surge earlier this year.

Developers had come under fire in the intervening period since Golem’s ICO ended in November 2016. What users deemed to be a lack of progress led to fears the 820,000 ETH raised during the GNT token sale would not produce adequate value for investors.

The decision to launch rather than continue closed testing has thus buoyed markets, Golem avoiding associations with other long-finished ICOs, such as Tezos’ $232 mln sale, which have yet to bear fruit.

Golem enters a corner of the cryptocurrency industry currently occupied by competitors SONM and iEXEC, both of which utilized an ICO to fund their roadmaps in 2017.

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Ethereum’s Earliest ICO Project Finally Comes To Limelight

One of the first crowdfunded projects in the cryptocurrency space has announced it is live, after the team behind the idea used two years to cook an innovation beyond comprehension. Golem, by all indications, is the first Ethereum’s earliest initial coin offering (ICO) projects, and now it has officially launched on the Ethereum mainnet.

The project, a Tuesday, April 10, 2018 announcement revealed on its website that the Brass Beta version of Golem went live. This has raised eyebrows among well-wishers and skepticism for those who see the project as fake.

Golem, touted as the ‘Airbnb for Computers’, accrued 820,000 ether ($8 million worth, going by November 11, 2016) within 29 minutes, making analysts wonder on the future prospect of the project.

“We’ve come a long way. From being one of the first crowdfunded projects, way past the challenges we had to face while navigating the uncharted territory that is building Golem, the time has come to take the big step: mainnet launch is here,” the project indicated in the statement.

Golem is aimed at connecting computers in a peer-to-peer network, enabling both application owners and individual users, branded as requestors, to rent the resources of other users’ (providers) machines.

According to Golem project, the resources can be used to complete tasks that require diverse computation times and capacities.

“Golem is a p2p network where users are equally privileged. People who seek to compute tasks broadcast their offers in the network, while those parties that have computer power, scan the offers and try to connect with the requestors of choice. Golem’s transaction system matches providers and requestors, taking into account prices, reputations and their machines’ performance. Resources, i.e., files needed for computation are sent to the provider’s machine. After the computation is completed, the provider’s app sends back results to the requestor’s app.”

Golem is seen as an international, virtual market space for unused computing power. Providers can rent out their idle computing power, and get paid on the go.

Now that the idea is open to users, the project team says it understands that the project is now open to diverse risk, however, the reason behind launching the Beta version onto the mainnet, according to the team, is that real users can explore and confirm that the software is awesome.

“Golem is a dApp, and as any other, it required testing through a contained “laboratory”. But in order to progress, we need to get out of this comfort zone, and make sure the elements that we have worked hard, and continue to build, are responsive and working well on a decentralized setting.”

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Golem Arrives: One of Ethereum's Most Ambitious Apps Is Finally Live

Wouldn’t it be nice to make some extra cash while browsing social media?

That’s the promise of Golem, a peer-to-peer market for putting your computer’s excess CPU power to use for other people. And today, after three years and 14 software implementations later, it’s going live on the ethereum blockchain.

The project, which sold out of its GNT token in 20 minutes, raising 820,000 ETH – around $340 million, according to current metrics – in 2016 by selling its crypto utility tokens to investors will likely see a significant amount of fanfare since Golem was one of the earliest generations of ethereum applications.

But it has also received some amount of criticism for its failure to turn around a product relatively quickly.

“This is typical for software development in general, and blockchain in particular, is that we underestimate the complexity of what we want to do,” Julian Zawistowski, CEO and founder of Golem, told CoinDesk. “You always underestimate how difficult it is, and this was obviously the case with us.”

That said, even though the project is still far from its goal of building a worldwide supercomputer, the mainnet launch is an important step forward in proving out its underlying architecture and ethereum itself.

In its current format, the service enables computers to rent unused CPU power for creating computer-generated imagery (CGI) using Blender, an open-source software for animated films, visual effects, interactive 3D applications and video games. It works by swapping computational power for GNT through an interface that connects to Blender directly.

And this current release, Golem Beta or Brass Golem, is an effort to test whether the technology functions in real market conditions with real money. “We have to see how it behaves in the wild,” Zawistowski said.

CTO and co-founder of the company, Piotr “Viggith” Janiuk, told CoinDesk:

“The release is there to prove to us and everyone that we can actually deliver something that can run on mainnet and that’s really usable. And well, it is.”

Big ambitions

As such, Golem today works through a software client, which connects the two parties in Golem’s network – “requesters,” those that sell computational resources, and “providers,” those that want to rent CPU power.

The providers are given small tasks, or “subtasks,” which went pieced together, create a full computational picture.

“We send those subtasks over a peer-to-peer network where peers compute them, return the results for you and connect that into one piece and pay for the use of the other peoples’ computers,” Zawistowski said.

Zawistowski explained that all interactions happen directly between nodes on the network. While it’s not built on a blockchain itself, Golem uses ethereum not only for its token but also its consensus layer.

For now, the primary function of the mainnet release is to test the economic assumptions of the network, as well as appealing to early adopters for feedback on usability and issues.

“You start with a very simple Golem that should work up to a point where we have the Golem which is perfect and self-contained and modular, and you give it a computation and it’s done in a matter of seconds,” Janiuk said.

And that future goal is first to create a dedicated plugin for Blender so that there’s no extra step for using Golem’s service through the application, and then, even more ambitious, allowing the network to provide computational resources for the sought-after form of artificial intelligence called machine learning.

“We definitely need to move in the direction of machine learning. This is something that is suited to Golem pretty well,” Janiuk said.

Inventing the wheel

But that will take time.

Speaking to the project’s long road to production, Janiuk told CoinDesk, “Interfacing with ethereum seems pretty straightforward, but once you want to move into production it is difficult. You have to make sure that it is as bulletproof as possible; there can be no holes because you’re risking someone else’s money.”

And what the team behind Golem found was that their aim of splitting computational tasks up into smaller tasks and then reintegrated them was an uphill battle.

The project faced with complicated and previously unresearched technical barriers.

For example, while verification – or proving that a computation is correct – is easy to achieve for simple crypto transactions, it becomes extremely difficult to develop around different kinds of computations.

On top of that, there was the issue of building on ethereum, which has seen its fair share of hurdles recently, as platform apps cause transaction backlogs and rising fees. Even ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin lamented the state of affairs on the network recently, telling an audience in Seoul, South Korea that app makers are “screwed” by scaling challenges.

Yet, as witnessed during CryptoKitties’ peak hype, this isn’t limited to Golem, but something that extends across the industry.

“Any decentralized solution right now is I believe still at least a few steps before being even close to something that can be called a production-grade solution,” Janiuk said.

And Zawistowski compared the situation to web development and infrastructure building in the 90s. While web developers today have a host of tools to choose from when building web applications, in the early days, developers had to start from scratch.

This is true of the blockchain space as well, Zawistowski said, adding:

“Very often you have to invent the wheel to solve your problems. Not reinventing the wheel, but actually inventing the wheel.”

Technician installing CPU in computer image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Vitalik Buterin To Advise New ‘Ethereum Community Fund’ Sponsoring ETH Infrastructure

Several large Ethereum-based projects have come together to create the Ethereum Community Fund (EFC), a vehicle to connect and fund the growth of Ethereum (ETH) infrastructure, according to the EFC website.

The founding members of the EFC are OmiseGo, Cosmos, Golem, Maker, Global Brain Blockchain Labs, and Raiden.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Foundation executive director Ayako Miyaguchi, and OmiseGo managing director Vansa Chatikavanij will join the project as advisors, according to Jun Hasegawa’s, the founder of OmiseGO, announcement on Medium.

The beginning basis of the EFC is the Infrastructure Grant program, which the website describes as a

“Permanent financial endowment to support and aid projects in building crucial open-source infrastructure, tooling, and applications.”

Jun Hasegawa tweeted at the participating members of the fund yesterday in celebration:

The EFC is not the first Ethereum-based global initiative created to develop Ethereum infrastructure. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) launched in Feb. 2017 is the world’s largest open-source Blockchain initiative.

It is currently partnered with more than 200 organizations, including big financial institutions like  JPMorgan, Santander, and Mastercard, Intel. The non-profit’s aim is to bring privacy, scalability, and security to developing Ether and the Ethereum Blockchain.

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Is There Going To Be An Interest Increase in Golem(GNT)?

Many have forgotten the Golem coin which is a project for blockchain supercomputer. It used to perform extremely well since it was launched back in the beginning of 2017. However the Golem rush has ended June, and the coin lost over 70% of all what it has gained.

But now, it does start to look attractive once again as it has stopped at the support, which is at the $18 level. It has been tested at least 4 times, but failed to go lower each and every occasion, suggesting that investors are still interested and perhaps soon GNT/USD could end the consolidation period and finally start bring profits for investors.

Although it is possible that it will go slightly lower, nevertheless the chances that soon it will start moving up are pretty good. It seems this is the coin to watch in the coming weeks.

Golem Technical Analysis

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How Blockchain-Based Tokens Change Current Economic Models

A token is a digital asset. It is an object of value itself or representation of any other asset on a Blockchain. At the moment, the vast majority of all circulating tokens are built on the Ethereum Blockchain.

This is mainly due to the low barriers of entry and the advanced functionalities of ERC-20 tokens. At the time of writing, there are over 5300 Ethereum-based tokens in circulation.

This new way of digitizing assets can have some interesting applications in our current economy. These range from making real estate more liquid to expediting the trade of commodities.

Why tokens?

There are several aspects that make tokens an interesting tool to form the cornerstone of a new economy. The most important features are that tokens are fast and liquid. They can be used to digitize practically any type of asset, and transacting tokens is a lot faster than moving an asset in its physical form or getting the corresponding paperwork done.

Contrary to traditional transactions, tokens also offer more transparency, by recording transactions in the Blockchain. They do so while still keeping the identity of the entities involved as anonymous as possible.

This is a very important point for a population that is starting to become more concerned about privacy and confidentiality.

Finally, in most cases, it’s a lot easier to acquire a token than to acquire the physical asset or security it represents. This is mainly due to the fact that a lot of paperwork can be avoided, and that buyers have the option to purchase only a fraction of an asset.

Generally speaking, tokens can be categorized into two main segments: Utility tokens and tokenized assets.

Utility tokens

Utility tokens are used for a particular functionality in a DApp. Some of the ways in which utility tokens are applied nowadays are for governance, staking mechanisms and in-DApp currencies.

These tokens are not tied to any particular asset and their value derives from network effects. An example of a utility token would be the Golem Network Token (GNT), which is used as a currency to buy computing power on the Golem platform.

Tokenized assets

Applying a token model especially makes sense in industries where a lot of paperwork is involved, or where the assets are rather illiquid or have an elevated price tag. The real estate, collectibles and commodities markets could be fundamentally disrupted with the introduction of tokens.  

However, before we can make a transition towards a world with tokenized assets, there needs to be proper infrastructure in place.

Where are we now and what are the next steps?

We are still at the very beginning of the transition to a tokenized economy. The current situation can be compared to the Internet boom in the late 90s. At that time, nobody really knew what the Internet might become one day, so a lot of experimentation and speculation was taking place.

For now, Blockchain-based tokens are only used by a tiny fraction of the population and regulators are still trying to figure out their legal implications. As soon as tokens become easier to acquire and store, and there’s proper regulation in place, we might witness an unprecedented shift in our current economic model.