For a while now the cryptoverse has been abuzz with news about the coming of a major disruption in the blockchain business space in the form of a project named DFINITY, otherwise referred to as ‘The Internet Computer’.
Forbes, Fortune, Crunchbase and a host of digital media heavyweights have all floated one report or the other about it. So much has been said about how it could alter the future of the cyberspace for both app developers and everyday users of cloud based computing resources, that it makes perfect sense to take a closer look at what’s on offer, both on the technology consumer level and on the investor side of things.
Why DFINITY ?
Even with the proliferation of blockchain-based crypto projects, the application and use of blockchain technology across different sectors of the digital economy have been slowed down by several fundamental snags. These problems include issues like:
- developing a more flexible consensus algorithm
- scalability of the blockchain to accommodate more projects
- centralization of some backbone assets
- security breaches and fraud
- high cost of setting up or renting network architecture
- heavy power consumption and ecological nuisance
- slow transactions speeds
Other related issues like the Bitfinex, Coinbase and other similar hacks where hundreds of millions were lost and the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving Facebook are just few examples of how bad the effect of centralized data can be. Worse still is the business dimension where the censorship and policies of these mega businesses have proven to stifle several startups.
DFINITY Cloud 3.0 Unbundled
Designed to host the next generation of software and services, DFINITY’s primary offering for now, Cloud 3.0, is similar in concept to Ethereum but comes with improved performance and, ultimately, unlimited capacity. Business applications running on this computer will be unstoppable and won’t need to involve complex components such as databases, backup and restore systems or Amazon Web Services.
The platform is designed to scale-out to handle unlimited computation on the backbone of the Threshold Relay chains, thereby helping miners spend certain periods of time validating transactions without suffering commercial disadvantage.
The key features of this gamechanger project which include, Algorithmic Governance, Blockchain Nervous System, and Decentralized Intelligence fuse well to help the system function optimally while making random changes and checks which act as a way of mitigating misuse, protect users, fix problems, optimize network configuration and seamlessly upgrade its protocols.
Relevance of DFINITY to the Blockchain Ecosystem and Everyday Users?
- DFINITY helps reduce operating costs for users of cloud-based services by over 90% of existing rates by reducing the supporting human capital required.
- DFINITY creates an open source decentralized businesses using self-updating autonomous software systems that may eventually be able to disintermediate and beat out monopolistic organizations such as Uber, eBay, Gmail and others.
- DFINITY hosted systems are far more secure since The Internet Computer is unhackable, always available, highly interoperable and better able to preserve the privacy of confidential data.
- As a fully decentralized network, DFINITY users get to enjoy a neutral and unbiased platform free from the kind of security, privacy and censorship obtainable in existing models.
- DFINITY is touted to have the capability of enabling to run as many services which are beyond the scope of their budget and expertise on its. For instance, a supply chain system designed to connect suppliers and help them raise trade financing against invoices might usefully incorporate stable currency, identity, arbitration and haulage market functionality. DFINITY allows open versions of such services to be created on its public chain, and then incorporated by private networks in the form of building blocks.
- DFINITY’s Blockchain Nervous System is useful in optimizing network economics, because it has a way of dynamically managing economic parameters. For instance, example by increasing the cost of connecting new mining resources to prevent overcapacity, or protect security, or by increasing the deposit of dfinities needed to create a “mining identity” because the value of dfinities has fallen on the markets.
- DFINITY provides network effects for its users. For example, one network could push a carbon credit to a public exchange, and another could consume it.
All of these facts are corroborated by Chris Dixon, partner at one of DFINITY major investors, Andreessen Horowitz, who pointed out that: “Decentralized computation networks like DFINITY stand to bring us closer to a world where digital platforms can be constructed from trustless, autonomous, and open source software that is owned and governed by communities of users and developers, rather than companies”
How Is DFINITY Different From Other Blockchain Projects?
DFINITY’s answer to this lies in its highly disruptive innovations to the way consensus is built, how on-chain actions are executed, and how the system updates. The key areas of difference include the following:
- In place of a smart contracts platform, DFINITY offers ‘The Internet Computer’ or what has been tagged “world computer” in some circles. The difference here is that DFINITY’s offering comes with enhanced capabilities for executing applications, exchange and other data processing instructions by drawing from a decentralized network of smaller computers instead of a centralized backbone network.
- DFINITY ups the game by bringing an on-chain governance mechanism to its own Blockchain Nervous System. With this innovation the network now has the capability to make key decisions like choosing parameters or coordinating individual transactions on-chain. In addition to this, the system also has the ability to update itself using internal resources instead of having to depend on off-network resources as is obtainable in Ethereum’s off-chain model and which lead to an waste of time and resources.
- DFINITY’s Actor-Model is another aspect of its mechanism that makes it more efficient by enabling parallel execution of contracts and synchronous message passing, all the same time. This is a leap from existing models, like Ethereum for instance, where actions are executed one after the other, invariably leading to waste of time.
- DFINITY uses the Web Assembly (WASM) browser model instead of the Domain-Specific Languages adopted by Ethereum. Web Assembly is the new standard for developers because it’s the product of synergy by major players such Google, Mozilla, Apple and Microsoft, whose browsers are built to execute bytecodes. This makes them perform faster and have better utility value unlike Domain-Specific Languages.
- DFINITY opts for Proof of Stake instead of Proof of Work because POS is faster, consumes less power, and requires less tech-savviness to understand.
- Instead of Variable-sized Deposits as is obtainable in Ethereum, DFINITY runs on the principle of Fixed-sized Deposits when buying mining power. The idea is to ensure the integrity of the ecosystem by discouraging bad players who can get into the system via Variable-sized deposits.
- DFINITY favours security over liveness. This is a direct contrast to Ethereum’s model for example, which favors liveness over security. Security over liveness simply means that DFINITY prioritises the need to keep the system away from the control of single individuals as well as fraudulent people, because it’s POS protocol only allows notarisation of blocks by single groups made up of 50 different miners. The reverse is the case for many existing models, including Ethereum’s, where the idea is to keep activity at a height which makes it difficult to sift bad eggs from the system.
- DFINITY is also refreshingly different when it comes to comparing its time finality with those of other projects. The fact that test cases and pre-public use instances attest to a consistent closing time of under 5 seconds speaks volume of DFINITY’s readiness to lead in a market where major crypto competitors like Ethereum and Bitcoin still close in over 300 and 3,600 seconds respectively.
Could DFINITY Be Wrong?
DFINITY has already attracted funding to a whooping tune of $195 million dollars without a conventional ICO. Plus, all the stats are impressive and compelling on every front, making DFINITY very attractive but too good to be true at the same time.
Although it’s team lead, Dominic Williams has said that the project’s penetration plan may have to do with getting all the smaller fish in its marketplace in first since most of the big fish won’t jump ship at the early stages, it will have to do more than scaling its own organization to get them in.
Secondly, as good as the project’s value proposition sounds, DFINITY is still largely untested by a large consumer base on the promise of speed, security and scalability. At best, we are only talking installed capacity.
Thirdly, DFINITY is clearly on a competitive war path on many fronts. While its services will greatly improve the blockchain ecosystem, many service providers will definitely put up a fight to retain their market share. In the same vein, its desire to unchain the blockchain and offer full dividends of decentralization to the global market pits it against heavyweights like AWS and Google Cloud and Apple.
Final Word: Is DFINITY the Real Deal?
Clearly, DFINITY is a bold attempt at offering a greater value of blockchain technology to the global population. The vision of a one world internet computer syncs well with globalization themes. The quality of the team behind it as well as the level of privately generated funding within a very short time is very impressive. But, as with all tech startups, however, there will always be room for improvement.
Still, I believe it makes to pitch tent with a setup that’s innovation driven with noble objectives, but only as long as they continue to innovate and blaze trails. Always makes sense to go with the guy offering the better, smarter way, right?