What is the Golem Network?
Golem strives to become the go-to method by which developers, scientists, and animators acquire computational power to process their performance-dense activities. The way it accomplishes this is by connecting thousands of computers around the world, creating a decentralized network with one goal. Processing data.
Anybody can participate on the network, but note that the project is at an early stage, so there are some risks to factor in before you jump on the bandwagon. First of all, the application is in beta, at the moment called “Brass Golem” which is a functional and mainnet-activated product. People can use GNT and ETH to request processing power or get paid for having their computers process tasks.
Second, the project is relatively early-stage, much like other blockchain projects and this means that there is a risk of not being able to find work if you join in as a provider, or not being able to find processing power if you join as a requestor. However not finding processing power is unlikely, as you will learn more about the supercomputer details later.
As you might have already guessed, Golem is an Ethereum-based project. It uses the transactional layer of Ethereum, but then enhances it with their own technology. In short Golem is a decentralized supercomputer whose power can be accessed via the GNT tokens or Ether. It can help the above-mentioned professions to get their job done without having to invest in the hardware themselves.
Using the GNT token to process their data, whether it may be CGI rendering, machine learning, or scientific computation means saving a lot of time by exporting the necessary work. There is potential for more, but software engineers would have to reach out to the team directly to discuss the possibility of a unique problem being solved.
The Golem network identifies two types of actors called Requestor and Provider. The requestors are the people that use the supercomputer for their tasks in exchange for GNT, while the providers are the people that share their processing power with the decentralized network in exchange for GNT for work done.
How strong is this supercomputer?
Due to the nature of the project, which is open-sourced, there is a lot of public data available that gives us an insight into the scale of this Golem supercomputer. The data is rather interesting, and at the time of writing, the Golem supercomputer consists of:
- 362 Nodes
- 2300 CPU Cores
- 4.04 Tebibytes of RAM (about 4.4 Terabytes)
- 46.28 Tebibytes of Hard Disk (about 50.91 Terabytes)
For more up-to date information, you should check out their stats monitor.
On that same page you can also see a list of all active nodes and most of them are providers, meaning that they are completing tasks as they are requested by requestor nodes. Requestors can be found in extremely low in numbers but from the observable data, they are requesting a lot of tasks.
That means that most likely they are using Golem as the primary way to fulfill their computational needs.
Costs and Rewards
Participating on the Golem network can happen in two ways, as mentioned before. You can either contribute computing power or request computing power. This is where it becomes interesting. There are no fixed prices set in the Golem network by the team that compel providers and requestors to set specific prices. Everybody can decide what prices they want to request for their services, and what prices they are willing to pay.
The system will mix and match providers and requestors that have overlapping parameters and execute the work and transactions associated with the work automatically. There are some risks of offering to low of a price and requesting too much for your computing power. Because Golem Network is a decentralized marketplace for computing power, or as they say it the “Airbnb for processing power” the individuals participating have set some sort of parameters that dictate what jobs to accept and which jobs to ignore, based on the level of reward.
As for the Golem network itself, it does not seem to charge any fees beyond the usual Ethereum transaction fees. There is a non-obligatory Concent Service, which is put in place to provide a way for nodes to guarantee good work by making deposits that ensure other nodes that they are legitimate. It’s similar to the proof-of-stake methodology, except in the case of Golem Network it does not pay out any dividends. The reason it exists is to provide an additional layer of commitment to the network, to increase fairness, and to act as an objective third-party in the case of any disputes.
Getting Started with Golem
If reading this article got you interested in Golem and you want to know more about how to get started, the team behind the project has created an extensive documentation that compiles all of the information on how to run the software and deal with known issues along the way.
As you will see, the team has made sure to communicate all of the risks as well as instructions on how to support them with any bugs you may find along the way. Again, the software is in beta, so bugs are to be expected, and unfortunately the team does not claim any responsibility for assets lost as a result of a bug.
That makes sense, as the crypto world for now is in a perpetual development cycle. The technology and implementations beyond Bitcoin and the pure transactional use case are all being evaluated, and Golem stands the chance of successfully positioning on the market.
After all, they do provide a real utility. Before Golem, there was no way to source computing power without going to the major providers, such as IBM, Amazon, or Google. Now, anybody in the world can share and purchase computing power from this network. And so can you!
Minimum System Requirements
There is no optimal system requirements for running Golem, but some guidelines have been created to describe what you need at a bare minimum. Anything beyond these specifications can surely run and process the necessary tasks.
The minimum requirements for running the Golem Network are:
- 2GB RAM
- 2 core processor
- 20 GB HDD
- Public IP
For now the team explains that they are focused on building the network and making sure that everything is as good as it can get. In the future we can expect more specific requirements to surface, but for now this will be more than enough to run everything Golem related.
The software supports the three major operating systems i.e. Windows 10, OS X Sierra (and higher), and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
The people working on Golem come from a variety of different backgrounds, and there is a staggeringly high number of people that come from or live in Poland. In fact all of the four co-founders live in Warsaw, Poland.
Golem is legally recognized as “Golem Factory GmbH” and it is a private for profit company, which can be thought of as an unusual prospect for people deeply involved with the cryptocurrency scene. For me, it showcases that blockchain is a technology that goes beyond the complete decentralization of every aspect of organizations. It a tool that can be used to create new business models, and that’s exactly what the founders of this company have done.
Right now, at the time of writing, what has started with 4 people and a dream has grown more than ten-fold, with Golem Factory employing 42 people (most of them software engineers) to work on the project and provide the users with a high quality product.
In order to create the company they used the ever more popular ICO crowdfunding model, which helped them raise 820k ETH from 11th November 2016 to 2nd December 2016. In just three weeks, they managed to raise 100% of their intended amount, hitting the hard cap as hard as it can be hit.
As evidenced by this article, they’ve put the money to good use, and have created a system that will provide generations to come with a means to share and purchase computing power.
The Golem Factory is a company that is committed to creating the world’s fastest, most powerful supercomputer. Being born out of an ICO and having continued to generate results one strengthens the idea that great leadership is behind the project. Many others have taken the crowdfunding money and ran as far as they could with it. Not Golem Factory.
They sat down and did the work, and they continue to do good work to improve their foundation. The Golem Network is used by several thousand people today, and this number is expected to grow exponentially as time passes. The world and it’s never ending freefall into the information space will continue to demand more and more computing power for the various plans that companies and individuals are committed to in their own lives.
Whether you are an indie video game developer, 3D artist, machine learning expert, or an actual sentient AI, you can benefit from the Golem Network providers and their processing power to fuel your projects into completion. Hollywood executives will most likely hold out for now, but it would not surprise me to see AAA titles being rendered using Golem in the future.
What are the other exciting projects that you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments below and I will consider writing an article about them.