A Blockchain & Cryptocurrency For Distributed Computing
Today, we’re going to take a good look at Golem coin – a new project in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. Golem seeks to create a decentralized supercomputer through pooled computing power from individual user machines. Essentially it allows people to rent spare computing power to others that need it. Think of it as the Uber or Airbnb of computer power. The goal is to allow anyone access to computing power for rendering CGI, machine learning projects, scientific computing, and other high intensive tasks. The Golem network runs on the Ethereum platform as a dApp.
According to their whitepaper, the Golem ecosystem consists of three groups:
Requestors: Requestors are people who are looking for computing power from the Golem Network. They are incentivized to participate because they may find cheaper, more scalable, and more cost-effective solutions. Requestors can be CGI artists, scientists, or anyone who’s looking to purchase computing resources.
Providers: Providers are the ones who lend their computing power. Their computing power is pooled together to increase effectiveness. Providers are incentivized because they actually get paid to rent out their hardware.
Software Developers: Software developers make apps on the Golem ecosystem that they can then deploy and monetize. The goal is for Golem to become another distribution channel with its own app store.
All these entities combine to form the Golem marketplace.
A Closer Look At Golem Coin: The Token
Another core component of the ecosystem is the Golem Network Token (GNT), the official currency of the network. All transactions done on the network will use GNT. The GNT token utilizes the Ethereum platform which makes it compatible with wallets that support ERC20, the standard for all Ethereum tokens.
The Golem initial coin offering started on November 11th, 2016 GMT and ended on December 2, 2016 GMT. Golem Network Tokens were initially pegged at 1000 GNT per 1 ETH. The amount of GNT created was capped at 1,000,000,000 of which 820,000,000 went to crowdfunding participants and the remaining 180,000,000 going to the Golem team. The Golem ICO was immensely successful, raising over $8.6 million in just 29 minutes.
The team intends to progressively make the network more advanced and add on more features. The project is divided into four stages, inspired by D&D’s golems: Brass Golem (most basic), Clay Golem, Stone Golem, and Iron Golem (most advanced). Currently, the team has enough funding to take the project all the way to the Iron Golem stage.
CGI Rendering: The first use case the team eyes is CGI rendering. Typically with designers, game developers, and artists, CGI rendering represents a very computationally expensive task. In the first version of Golem (Brass Golem), CGI rendering represents the focus of the network. A Requestor in the marketplace can distribute the process of rendering a Blender of LuxRenderer scene across the Golem Network. Another advantage in addition to speed is transparency. On the Golem Network, the price is defined by the Requestor and accepted by the Providers. The Requestor always knows how much they are going to be paying before a task gets submitted.
Machine Learning: Another focus area of the Golem coin team is machine learning. A lot of machine learning models, especially deep learning models that involve a large dataset, are very computationally expensive.
In fact it’s not uncommon for data scientists to use GPUs or cloud services like AWS to get enough computing power to train these models.
In the era of big data, Golem may very well emerge as a competitor of traditional cloud service providers and even data centers.
The Future of Distributed Computing
Should the Golem coin project be taken to its most advanced stage, it will have the power to revolutionize computing. Entire ecosystems of apps would use Golem as the backend instead of services like AWS. This will allow for a new wave of developers to easily build and test their applications even without the necessary hardware. Golem is a very novel use of cryptocurrencies combined with the Ethereum blockchain. Today it is one of the flagship projects that represent the potential of blockchain and Ethereum.