Blockchain & IT Infrastructure
Advancements in blockchain technology have certainly had a major impact on the cryptocurrency market. As new tokens present alternatives to old financial systems, many people are perhaps overlooking the power of blockchain technology behind the projects themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest blockchain projects on the market today and how they can potentially influence the future of IT infrastructure.
When most people think of file storage from a traditional standpoint, it seems like a binary system. Either you have enough storage or you don’t. Just a few decades ago, people had to rely upon CDs and floppy disks, which were slow and added very minimal amounts of memory. Of course, external hard drives improved this. Finally, today there are cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud, and others that offer some degree of improvement. While these solutions are better, they are still far from optimal.
Blockchain projects like Filecoin (FIL) and Storj (STORJ) could be the solutions that change the future of file storage. First of all, these solutions are considered to be much better than today’s most popular cloud storage products because they promise to have higher bandwidth and fewer unexpected outages. In addition, decentralized file storage applications also address the issue of privacy. Because traditional cloud storage products hold data in centralized databases, every user’s files are at risk of being hacked. In fact, this happened to Dropbox back in 2012 when 68 million users were hacked. The most alarming thing is that the company didn’t even report this issue until 2016. With decentralized file storage solutions, hacks are extremely more difficult to execute, and any data breach wouldn’t affect nearly as many users.
Another vital component driving the adoption of decentralized file storage is the fact that prices will be much lower than current solutions. That’s because files will be stored across a P2P network instead of via expensive database centers. This will likely be done by using cryptocurrency payments as incentives for individual users to join the network.
Check out our complete guide to decentralized file storage solutions.
Mesh networking has grown from a commercially-used technology to a consumer-level technology in just a few short years. Today’s products like Eero, Luma, and Google Wi-Fi all help to decrease wireless internet connection dead spots and boost connectivity levels for devices. Mesh networks work by adding nodes to Wi-FI network so that devices have multiple possible connection points, not just the single connection point offered by traditional routers and existing IT infrastructure.
Projects like Althea and SmartMesh (SMT) can be applied to solve internet connectivity problems in previously unconnected, remote places as well as those with high network congestion (i.e. sport stadiums and concert venues). Because data with SmartMesh, for example, doesn’t have to go through centralized networks and can instead remain within the mesh network, connection speeds are faster and electricity consumption is lower. Althea goes beyond just offering wireless internet to coffee shops and airports. It offers the ability for communities to create their own decentralized ISPs, which also make browsing private and neutral by default. Decentralized mesh network projects won’t just make the internet itself faster and more widely available but will also advance the capabilities of newer technologies like IoT and IoE.
While the computing power of regular computers is increasing every year, the capabilities of one machine are still no match for that of a supercomputer. That’s why projects like Golem (GNT) and iExec RLC (RLC) have become popular.
Allowing people to buy and sell computing power necessary to complete more complex tasks essentially allows anyone to create a supercomputer from using the power of multiple computers across the network. For now, Golem is focusing on a single use case: CGI rendering. However, as the projects like these continue to develop their technologies, it’s easy to see how this concept could also be applied to solve current computation limitations. For example, scientific modeling, data science, machine learning, and many more potential applications could all benefit from decentralized computation.
Decentralized computation will allow businesses to scale their IT infrastructure by giving them more computing power at lower costs. Instead of having to buy a supercomputer which could run in the millions or even billions of dollars, businesses could one day have access to a similar level of computing power at a fraction of the cost. The best part about this model is the flexibility it can offer for those needing extra computing power. Instead of having to buy a large amount of dedicated equipment, users would simply pay the network only when extra amounts of computation are required.
File storage, mesh networks, and computation will all see the benefits of advancements in blockchain technology. Even though the above-mentioned projects have already produced some promising results, there could very well be even more projects that will change these and other important sectors of IT. In the coming years for IT infrastructure, we will likely see increased security and privacy as well as decreasing costs.
Charles Hoskinson partners with Polymath’s Trevor Koverko for building new security token blockchain
With Bitcoin [BTC] breaching its immediate resistance, the community is rooting for the largest cryptocurrency to breach the next resistance set at $8,000. This sudden pump in the prices of most major cryptocurrencies, especially BTC, was a hot topic at Consensus 2019, followed by the partnership between Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, and Trevor Koverko, the CEO of Polymath.
The duo has come together for an initiative which aims at launching a Layer 1 security token blockchain called ‘Polymesh’. According to Trevor, there exists a gap in the market for a purpose-built custom blockchain for security tokens. Hoskinson noted that a normal public blockchain system is a homogenous system where regulators, issuers, buyers and sellers are subjected to the same rules and responsibilities. He adds on the design of the Polymesh:
By assigning the responsibilities to a part of the system, they would have the power to ‘maybe freeze’ a transaction, reverse it, and even view an audit trail, while the other part cannot. Hoskinson and Koverko noted that it was necessary for a system like Polymesh to exist for the Security Token Offering [STO] revolution. Hoskinson added:
“Furthermore there’s good evidence of that from just traction of STOs. There’s a desire to create liquidity, there’s a desire to create these assets, but where are they at CoinMarketCap, where are they at in terms of trading, they’re not where they need to be.”
Koverko and Hoskinson believe that this new system will benefit the STO revolution and thus, have to be built from the ground.
Facebook registers ‘Libra Networks’ in Geneva for developing blockchain technology
Facebook, on May 2, registered Libra Networks, a firm specializing in developing blockchain technology, in Geneva. This is their first foray into developing in-house blockchain technology and could have adverse effects on the crypto-market, if speculations are to be believed.
Recently, the United States Senate sent out an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, asking details about their cryptocurrency project named “Libra”. This came out after they read about it in an article by the Wall Street Journal.
The project is likely to be released in the second quarter of 2019 and the development team was already set up last year. It is looking at introducing a coin which users can spend on its website or any other. According to the report by Wall Street, Facebook is also looking at backing its crypto-coin with the dollar reserve. This is done to make it less volatile from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Libra will be looking at investing, payments, financing, blockchain and other technologies to work on via their newly established firm. The social media giant is in talks with all major payment networks like Visa, Master Card and more and is looking to raise around $1 billion for the crypto-project. The crypto research team is expected to be headed by David Marcus, the ex-PayPal president.
However, the crypto-ecosystem is skeptical of Facebook entering the crypto-verse. One of the reasons for this is their past controversies surrounding the sale of user data to third parties. Following the issue, people now allegedly maintain a notion that Facebook could repeat history and sell their private data to any third party and this could spell disaster for crypto-users.
India is one of the biggest markets for Facebook as India has the highest number of WhatsApp users across all markets. While looking at the crypto-market in India, Facebook may have to make large changes in its policies owing to the possibility of a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies in India.
Ava Labs Exits Stealth, Launches Blockchain Testnet Based on ‘Avalanche’ Protocol
Blockchain startup Ava Labs is coming out of stealth and starting to open up its blockchain network — backed by a new consensus algorithm — to developers and users.
Ava Labs is launching a private testnet of their technology today at Token Summit, one of the many conferences taking place during Blockchain Week NYC.
Though the blockchain network isn’t ready for real money quite yet, this step is notable because, for the first time, developers outside the organization will be able to put the new code to the test based on their “Avalanche” protocol that was released last year by a pseudonymous group going by the name “Team Rocket,” referring to the villains of the Pokémon game series.
Ava is releasing the code to their launch partners, who will be able to comb through it, battle-test it, and play around with it for the first time. The code will not be completely open sourced quite yet, as Ava Labs founder and Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer told CoinDesk. Once the code has been “scrutinized” further, a public version of the testnet will be opened up for wider use.
Backing the effort is the $6 million that Ava Labs raised in February during a previously undisclosed funding round, when it won support from notable names in the venture capital and cryptocurrency spaces. These include Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain, former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, Metastable, Initialized and Ramtin Naimi of Abstract Ventures.
Ava’s project forms part of a much wider degree of interest within the academic world in exploring consensus protocols that serve the same purpose of proof-of-work — securing transactions — but are more energy-efficient and have the potential to provide a basis for democratic development and the inclusion of more users in the consensus process. (Though it’s worth noting that some experts are skeptical that protocols with similar goals work in practice — so far, at least.)
Still, Sirer argues that Ava Labs’ implementation of Avalanche represents a breakthrough and a step forward for the ecosystem as a whole.
He told CoinDesk:
“We already have something that works and want to show people who are interested in it.”
Proof-of-work itself is revolutionary, Sirer contends, as it revolutionized what researchers thought were possible of consensus protocols for 45 years. “This third approach combines the best of both worlds,” he said.
He added that Ava is faster and more scalable, “allowing us to open up a new level of decentralization.”
A ‘different’ universe
Ava Labs also claims to have made another “breakthrough” that Sirer says is just as revolutionary as Avalanche, but hasn’t been revealed until today.
It boils down to this: in all blockchains launched thus far, all the nodes have to agree on certain criteria. All nodes utilize the same “scripting language” for smart contracts, for example.
Ava, by contrast, offers a “heterogeneous network,” allowing nodes across the system to have different properties. Essentially allowing different groups in the network to “plug-and-play” different features.
“This is a different type of a universe,” Sirer said, comparing Ava to other popular public blockchains like EOS and ethereum. “Ava has an interoperable framework, but then you have smaller and smaller universes of your own that have minimum properties.”
One could decide to add zk-SNARKS, a bleeding-edge privacy technology, in their own universe, for example. Still, it’s worth noting that some researchers are skeptical of Avalanche, the new concept Ava is putting into practice.
For example, ethereum researcher Vlad Zamfir debated Sirer about its features on Twitter back when Avalanche was first revealed. Zamfir’s opinion on the topic is held in high regard because he’s also been trying for years to develop a greener algorithm for etheruem, the largest smart contract blockchain out there today.