Golem is a global, open-source, decentralized supercomputer, It is made up of the combined power of users machines from PCs to entire data centres.
Our team at CoinSwitch reached out to Ms Maria Paula Fernandez - Advisor and External Relationship Manager at Golem, to get some insights into the story of Golem and its architecture along with the future plans of the company. Let's see what she has to share.
Golem is a project that originated in 2014, and was presented for the first time at DEVCON0, the first Ethereum Developers Conference, in Berlin, Germany. In 2016, as the team’s plans to fundraise for the construction of it were truncated after The DAO hack, the Golem Crowdfunding took place in November 2016. The participants of the crowdfunding received GNT (Golem Network Token) in exchange for the ETH destined to fund the Golem project construction.
Golem Factory GmbH is a Swiss Entity founded by four Polish entrepreneurs. We have been very successful in bringing very talented people into the team. Some of our team members were as well first-hour contributors to the Ethereum project, and before Golem the founding team led iMapp, a Polish software consulting company (operational to date) that has built or helped build some of the most successful projects in the Blockchain ecosystem, as the aforementioned Ethereum or OmiseGO.
Nowadays the team has around 40 people working full time on Golem.
Golem is an extremely ambitious project. From its inception, people were attracted to the novel and monumental idea of having a worldwide decentralized “supercomputer” formed by machines all across the world, able to connect and supply from computing power to anyone that needs it. We were the first ones to have this idea and link it with blockchain technology. After our crowdfunding, we immersed in the project and have been building non-stop ever since. We launched mainnet in 2018, and nowadays we are building a completely new protocol and architecture, thanks to the lessons learned from all the years of research and development.
So, a big project with big ambitions and a bigger goal - that aims to gather idle computing resources in the world. This mighty concept might be seen as gigantic!
As for sleeping - I believe that alludes to the fact we have been pretty low profile (except for our mainnet launch) as we focus on building.
The new platform coming to fruition is even greater than the original goal, so we still live up to the nickname.
When we first conceived the project, the team made several assumptions. Those assumptions were challenged along the way.
For instance, we assumed certain things with regards to verification, the prosumer computing power marketplace formed by three actors (requestors, providers, software developers), and more. Those assumptions shaped the project, and the two milestones launched to mainnet, Brass and Clay.
For the third major milestone, the team sat down and decided to gather all the lessons learned and challenge the assumptions they made back then. What came out of there was a new concept - and the need to build a new protocol, allowing for a more overarching platform. This platform will allow the sharing of any kind of computing resource. Most importantly, it will be focused on the developer experience, whereas before, we focused on requestors and providers and built out use-cases for those.
Nowadays, our current platform (Clay Beta) allows developers to build atop of Golem, but it has limitations. New Golem (the new platform, whose MVP we are building right now and you named in your question) will allow developers to build without tedious onboarding, guided by patterns built based on their feedback, and more. We are building the best and most solid foundations possible so that developers choose what will be the big use-case on top of Golem, and not the other way around. As a matter of fact, we are hoping for a multitude of use-cases instead of one, magnanimous one.
This simply the explanation of our brand new architecture. We took the time to flesh out what’s underneath New Golem and its first MVP, dubbed The Next Milestone.
It has several interesting components, one of which is the demand-offer specification language which allows requestors and providers to express their intents with regards to their needs, in a standardized manner.
The text explains it quite well: “Rather than trying to come up with specifications for all conceivable computing resources, our team at Golem decided to define a generic specification model. This model can be extended by any integrator willing to add new classes of computing resources to the Golem ecosystem.”
There are other components that you can read about in the article as well.
With this article, we expect to prepare the grounds for developers to learn more about New Golem. As mentioned earlier, it is our aim to build for this target group, and for this purpose, we are conducting surveys and testing in order to adjust our solutions from the get-go. This approach to building will facilitate the onboarding of more people without unnecessary overhead from any side of the spectrum, and a better platform, build collectively and with a shared, global vision.
The surveying and research is underway, so we are releasing educational resources for developers, and last but not least, for our community, that has supported us a very long time and need to get the best information about our project we can produce.
The launch of the MVP of New Golem, dubbed The Next Milestone is the most important piece of 2020, and probably of the past two years in the history of Golem.
We have released today, the first Alpha Reveal of The Next Milestone - as a developer preview. You can check it out here
On the Clay front (our current implementation) we have just released a very compelling usecase, called CHEM@Golem. It is meant to run simulations of chemical reactions for research and development of medicines and other chemistry components. We are currently searching for providers to help us power the project, of course, all providers within Clay Golem are rewarded in GNT.
Very soon, we are migrating the GNT to the ERC-20 standard. Back then when we released the token, the standard was not popular, and we designed our token according to the needs of the protocol. The ERC-20 standard since then, has grown dramatically in adoption and the community has built out incredible features allowing for better UX for projects that have ERC-20 tokens.
A very important development is the invention of Decentralized Exchanges and Finance (DeFi). That entire ecosystem is built around the ERC-20 standard. Decentralized Exchanges are growing in adoption and DeFi tools have become the biggest use-case in Ethereum to date, as they allow everyone to join the ecosystem with very little friction. Acquiring GNT right now, is only possible on centralized platforms, and we would like to expand the offer to decentralized exchanges, but first we need to migrate. We expect this to happen soon, hopefully before the MVP is launched.
Most importantly, as we have announced, we’re moving the New Golem transaction infrastructure to Layer 2. The scalability solution we have decided for is zkSync by Matter Labs. The MVP will already implement Layer 2, so Golem users won’t have to deal with the current challenges Ethereum users are facing (high gas prices, congestion).
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