Game Theory Group

The Blockchain Brief

Dfinity: Enabling The Internet to Act As a Giant Computer [Interview]

In 2018, Gartner predicts that the public cloud computing market will be worth more than $287 billion dollars worldwide. Dfinity is currently building Cloud 3.0, a global blockchain computer with unlimited capacity, improved performance and algorithmic governance.

The company has two goals: first, to provide a platform for business systems, allowing decentralized apps of large scale to be hosted on their platform. This would be the equivalent of having large monopolies such as Uber, eBay, Facebook, and Google, reengineered as “open source businesses”, with an autonomous software and decentralized governance hosted on Dfinity. The second goal is  to reduce enterprise IT system costs by 90%. Although the computational costs on the blockchain will be higher, it would eliminate the majority of the costs spent on human capital to maintain current systems.

Dfinity Demo

Dfinity Demo

Interestingly, the company is positioned as a sister world computer to Ethereum and is using a coevolutionary strategy by providing an alternative hosting platform with different characteristics, which will broaden and strengthen the EVM ecosystem.

This post won’t go into details on the technical aspects of this, but here’s an article that explains the various components in details. Some interesting features are threshold relay technology (that quickly reaches consensus among a selected set of miners over a peer to peer network), a sharding system (storage layer sharded into multiple chains), a liquid democracy based governance system (“AI is law”) and an unique architecture designed for infinite scalability as more users share their computational resources. .

The team is composed of a group of computer science and math postdocs and PhDs, engineers from top companies (Google, Intel) and cryptocurrency experts. Dfinity is registered as a non-profit foundation in Zug, Switzerland (also known as Crypto Valley), but its team works out of Palo Alto and Germany. Here’s a video demo of Dominic running through the testnet and sharing behind the scenes insights about the project. With 500 nodes deployed, the computation was completed 600 times faster than the Ethereum blockchain.

Some of the big challenges that Dfinity is currently facing are the recruitment of a geographically distributed mining community to create the underlying decentralized network and developers to create Dfinity-native versions of the business software that will run on it. To tackle this challenge, Dfinity and Polychain Capital launched Dfinity Ecosystem Venture Fund to support third-party teams that want to build applications, tools, and protocols for the Dfinity platform.

Dfinity raised a public “seed stage” initial coin offering in February 2017 and was planning to follow that with a main ICO. But the rapidly rising value of the Ethereum cryptocurrency gave the company a longer runway and the additional $61 million investment from U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and hedge fund Polychain Capital, is now providing them over $100 million of funding. Some other reasons of cancelling the crowdsale was to avoid potential problems with regulations by being associated with an ICO.

Below, watch our team do an "Insider Video" to learn more about the product, the company and the team.

Julian Jung