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Golem is a global, open sourced, decentralized supercomputer that anyone can access. It’s made up of the combined power of user’s machines, from personal laptops to entire datacenters. So rather than buy or rent services to provide the computing power you need to complete a computing task (or run a website), you’ll be able to access far greater power for a fraction of the cost. This makes the Golem Network a sharing economy in which people can make money through making their computing power available for use on the network for others to use.
“Golem connects computers in a peer-to-peer network, enabling both application owners and individual users (requestors) to rent resources of other users’ (providers) machines. These resources can be used to complete tasks requiring any amount of computation time and capacity. Today, such resources are supplied by centralized cloud providers which, are constrained by closed networks, proprietary payment systems, and hard-coded provisioning operations. Also core to Golem’s built-in feature set is a dedicated Ethereum-based transaction system, which enables direct payments between requestors, providers, and software developers.”
Golem feels closer to addressing current real-world problems than other platforms like IOTA. For example, CGI rendering, ‘teaching AI’ programs through machine learning, and large-scale science computations can all be performed quickly using the Golem Network for a fraction of the cost of owning your own hardware.
Golem receives a relatively high score from decrptd.com for real-world utility. Despite not having a working product yet (this is due in early 2018), the proposition is simple and attractive: commit your computer to the Golem network while you’re not using it and earn money. Their success may depend on how they break into the mass market; a key hurdle will be overcoming concerns around privacy; people are increasingly concerned about privacy and the risks of being connected to the internet – and that’s before one considers the prospect of connecting their computer to a network to be used by others!
It will also be interesting to see what effect this type of crowd-sourced computing power network has on services like Amazon Web Services. Or rather, how easily existing architectures like AWS are able to crush or replicate competing services. For example, anyone could fork the network and create their own system using ETH for payments, thus removing the requirement to use GNT tokens. Golem responded in a Reddit thread to say that “what cannot be cloned is the user base”. This feels like a weak response, given how fickle user bases can be, and how ready people are to flock to “the next best thing”.
Services which provide maximum utility with maximum flexibility and ease of use are the ones that survive. Restrictive or unnecessarily proprietary systems will likely suffer.
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