The Golem network is an Ethereum-based platform that uses cluster computing to settle payments between developers, requesters, and providers. Enterprises and governments process some pretty advanced computations, especially when we’re talking about things like virtual reality environments, satellite missile guidance systems, and CGI rendering.
These processes can max out all of a CPU’s cores, no matter how many chips you add. And we’re increasingly demanding more and more computing power to produce and power the latest technology. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency mining is becoming more of a backend enterprise process, while renting out CPU, GPU, and RAM is a more direct P2P marketplace that’s already the next level of blockchain.
On top of this, it’s a secure platform, thanks to Intel Software Guard Extensions, and concent features coming in the Clay Golem release. They’re also involved with Intel’s Graphene layer. It’s already been tested with Blender, an open-source video rendering program, and the Golem Factory is constantly seeking further developer and processor support.
Business Use Case
The first functional use case of Golem is video rendering. These processes can be extremely CPU intensive and lock up/overheat a machine pretty quickly. Video production studios from Hollywood to the military and beyond, however, require deep levels of video.
We’ve all heard the NSA can monitor our cameras live, but imagine how much processing power that actually takes. Much less what governments are running for drone cameras, missile guidance systems, and other technologies. VR and AR, 8K TVs, 3D IMAX and other technologies crank that up even more.
On top of this, academic research, AI/ML services, streaming services like Netflix/Spotify, and other services constantly need processing power. The team also launched several dapps including a web payment gateway.
And although Golem currently only works with CPUs, GPU support is solidifying and RAM may be coming soon, which will open plenty of other processes. The potential applications are endless.
Notable Partnerships and Investors
Blender – Blender is the first partnership with Golem and will remain the marquee draw until they bring in a bigger name. This proof of concept is all the company needed to get things started.
Hoard – Hoard is a blockchain gaming company with a lot of great SDKs compatible with Unity and Unreal. It’s focused on creating a blockchain-based ecosystem, and is creating somewhat of a GitHub like repository focused specifically on blockchain gaming development.
Team Communication – It seems like a small thing, but you can actually see the team communication of the Golem team online. That’s one of the strongest signals this will be a solid project moving forward. While most blockchain startups (though not all) posted a roadmap in the beginning of the ICO to get funding, we’re all having trouble jumping between those, Reddit, Discord, Telegram, Github, and everywhere else to figure out what’s happening at any given moment.
But Golem has an active Trello that gives a fantastic overview of exactly who’s completing what tasks while also providing a Windows directory-like overview of exactly how it’s progressing. It doesn’t matter whether this group has been updated in a few months, because it’s a great starting point for anyone wanting to research it. Everyone in the industry should follow this example.
P2P Marketplace – Although it currently only works for CPUs, the idea of an open marketplace to lend your computing power is a powerful concept. Consider Zach Braff’s 2013 Kickstarter campaign for Wish I Was Here. Although he successfully raised over $3 million for the project, it was met with a wave of backlash Braff still doesn’t understand.
Content creators use platforms like Kickstarter and Patreon to open an avenue of funding for passion projects. Seeing a Hollywood A-lister like Braff pull a stunt that should be reserved for indie creators like Phil DeFranco infuriates the general public. Why donate $100 to get a movie made that you still have to pay $20 to see in theaters, then another $10/month minimum to catch it on a streaming service?
Golem relieves this friction by letting the Braffs and DeFrancos of the world involve fans in their projects by letting them donate computing power instead of money. It’s a way for hardcore fans to really show their continued support by taking part in the creative process. But it’s really up to content creators to take the lead in making this more commonplace.
Slow Development – While communication is great and development is moving forward. The actual development of the Golem network is far behind initial roadmap estimates. By all accounts this would garner the project a lot more heat had it not been for the proactive organization of the core development team.
There’s a lot of chatter in online forums about whether Clay will even be released in 2019. Some are still seeking validation that the Blender processes are still running well. The team will need to get some better PR strategies in place as it grows.
Lack of Onboarding – As mentioned above, content creators are the key to this project’s success. Aside from the YouTuber and Hollywood star mentioned above, there’s esports, online game servers, game streaming, VR, AR, even social media. Each has major influencers, massive companies, distribution channels, etc. in place. There’s no excuse for Golem not to start reaching out to these channels to start becoming the next ProTools.
In fact, all of the music products apps (pro and consumer), photo editing, optical character recognition (OCR), and other processes can be loaded into this platform. As can crowdsourcing platforms like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. The possibilities of this platform are endless, and Golem is really losing out by not pushing to forge more high-profile partnerships.
Clay Golem – Although behind from the deadlines in the original roadmap, Clay Golem development is well under way. GPU support is already being solidified, and virtual machines, better programming architecture, stronger API and other development tools are on the way.
Golem Foundation – Golem just started the Golem Foundation in July 2019, which is laser-focused on growing the Golem Factory ecosystem. From the announcement, it very much sounds like the issues mentioned above are being addressed. Committees are being formed, R&D is moving forward, and this project looks to be laying the foundation for exponential growth.
This formation represents the split between the core development leads and the outreach team encouraging third-party development. It’s also meant to properly allocate initial crowdfunding resources to better direct investments while stabilizing GNT token values.
Golem is one of blockchain’s most underestimated disruptors. The project already leapfrogged into a P2P processing marketplace that very well may end up underlying the future of cloud computing. While critics focused on CPU video rendering trials with Blender, the team continued pushing development to include GPUs, more programs, and bring on more partners.
With these seeds laid, it looks like Golem is pushing on all cylinders to really showcase the potential of blockchain. It’ll be exciting to see what moves are next now that the Foundation has control of its own resources.