Blockchain-based Fully Distributed Cloud Computing
Blockchain-based distributed cloud computing
A blockchain-based distributed cloud computing platform built on Ethereum
A blockchain-based distributed cloud computing platform built on Ethereum.
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With the platform, iEx.ec aims to provide blockchain based distributed applications a scalable, secure and easy access to the computing resources required for their execution. It uses the blockchain to organize a market network where everyone can monetize their servers, applications, and data-sets. This technology extends the Ethereum smart contracts allowing the creation of virtual Cloud infrastructure that provides High-Performance Computing (HPC) services on-demand.
Update 4/20/17: The iEx.ec token sale is over. The sale reached its contribution cap of 10,000 BTC in less than three hours. Proceeds were worth about $12,120,000 at the time of the sale’s close.
Update: iEx.ec has rescheduled their token sale for April 19th (7 day delay) to allow for additional bug testing. Zeppelin did publish a security audit and didn’t find any severe problems, though they did have several recommendations. iEx.ec responded to their recommendations here. They have launched a bug bounty for a week.
Note: This report contains multiple lengthy sections. Here is a guide.
What is the project?
iEx.ec is a blockchain-based distributed cloud computing platform built on Ethereum. The technology stack is designed to support live distributed applications. While they are building the infrastructure for desktop grid computing, they initially focus on leveraging an existing distributed cloud network in Stimergy, which installs server racks and energy recycling systems in buildings. iEx.ec will also build functionality for contributing and accessing off-chain resources, including data and services. The go-to-market strategy will focus on a product called E-Fast, a platform for complex financial calculations to support traders. The team includes researchers at institutions focused on large-scale distributed computing.
Image source: iEx.ec
iEx.ec has a similar vision of a distributed cloud as Golem, but they have a different roadmap and go-to-market strategy, as discussed below.
The RLC token is the sole means of paying for services on the iEx.ec platform, making it a token with Payment and Access rights.
A version of iEx.ec is available on the Ropsten testnet. Any developers interested in experimenting or starting to integrate iEx.ec resources should reach out on slack to get hands-on support from the development team. According to iEx.ec, the testnet runs one worker per core and has access to at least 80,000 cores. Stigmergy will accept the RLC tokens, and while pricing isn’t yet finalized, it will likely be in line with market rates for cloud computing. iEx.ec will subsidize while it’s on the testnet. Those subsidies may continue after the transition to the mainnet.
iEx.ec has a number of initial applications at various stages of integration. These include the following, and the team expects iEx.ec to launch with up to twenty apps in November:
The mainnet is scheduled for launch by Devcon 3 in November. iEx.ec believes it will have 20 dapps before then. After this, they hope to open the market for resource providers.
The team includes a number of international researchers steeped in the field of distributed computing and who would be familiar with the technologies that underpin it.
The closest clear competitor for iEx.ec is Golem. At first glance, these projects are nearly identical: creating a market for distributed computing enabled by a blockchain payment and routing layer. The value of their token will come as the primary means of payment on the system.
However, there are two primary areas where they diverge.
First, they have different go-to-market strategies. Golem is first focusing on the market for resource providers: they aim to migrate an existing market for image rendering onto a new distributed cloud of computation providers. iEx.ec’s approach is to use an existing market for computing resources for a new market of distributed applications. Golem aims to let anyone use spare computation cycles for discrete computing tasks. iEx.ec will launch with a restricted set of computation providers and aim to start serving dapps. In some ways, this distinction is ironic. The iEx team is the one behind many core technologies of desktop grid computing–farming out small discrete tasks to millions of untrusted computers–but iEx is actually launching with trusted computation in the form of Stigmergy, some Amazon servers, and possibly some mining hardware.
This has a couple implications.
Teams: Research v. Entrepreneurship
Second, the two projects have very different teams. iEx.ec’s command of desktop computing is difficult to rival. Their research has contributed to some of the core technologies used in scientific computing around the world. Golem’s team doesn’t have the academic and research background, but they do have a track record of entrepreneurship. Julian Zawistowski has been a founder and CEO before at imapp and coinstorm. They also have experience in the image rendering industry and should have connections they can leverage in recruiting application users.
The state of their respective technologies are similar, bearing in mind that their go-to-market strategies differ. Golem launched its alpha version on MacOS at the end of March. iEx.ec claims to have a working testnet now on Ropsten, and will transition to a live mainnet by November 2017.
In practice, it is likely that these two projects will learn from each other and be able to benefit from developments. Both project founders are contributing members of the community, communicative and open about their projects, and a pleasure to speak with. There has been room in the cloud computing market for multiple ecosystems of providers; Golem and iEx.ec could be carving out two competing communities in the emerging distributed web.
In some ways, iEx.ec will face similar competitors to Golem inside and outside the cryptocurrency industry: mainstream cloud providers, existing computation farms, potential open-source distributed computing projects, and SuchFLEX. However, the focus on dapps makes their short-term competitive landscape a bit different, because these do not yet have support for dapps.
One project that is supporting dapps is Oraclize, which provides off-chain data for dapps. Currently, however, they focus on supplying discrete pieces of off-chain information, such as whether flights have been delayed for purposes of insurance payouts (Etherisc), whether a user who claims they tweeted about something actually did (Iudex), and truly random numbers (vDice). This is different than providing large-scale searchable and dynamic datasets or computation.
Existing storage distributed providers, such as MAID, IPFS, or Storj, should be complementary rather than competitive. iEx.ec is not necessarily trying to introduce new sources of distributed storage but rather the integrate live applications with whatever is stored there. There will be some complexity with handling two separate token payment systems, but both sets of solutions can mature together.
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About iEx.ec iEx.ec stands for “I Execute”. Headquartered in Lyon, France, the project was created in October 2016. It is a spin-off company from INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science. iEx.ec aims at starting off as a fully distributed Blockchain-based cloud platform. It is designed for distributed Blockchain-based applications (DApps) with plans to evolving into a market network for decentralized computing products and services. In total, their five editions of the project planned within four years from the launch date. The last outlined edition will represent a fully distributed platform for Blockchain computing. Potential market The iEx.ec market network will be designed for various participants of the distributed computing ecosystem. It will enable them to do business with each other to better monetize their products and services. Each new version of the network will be updated to host new types of participants: DApps providers (version 1) application and server providers (version 2) data providers (version 3) mining farms, miners, GPU apps providers (version 4) emerging classes of applications (version 5) at this stage, iEx.ec also plans to partner with telecom companies, attracting the latter, among other, with the possibility to halve their infrastructure costs, distributing small data centers along their network point-of-presence The market network is to provide its users with full traceability and trust a wide range of customers and, consequently, new markets an innovative Blockchain-based environment, tailored for its users’ features and needs
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