ICO’s–initial coin offering–and Crowdsales have become the main way of raising funds to develop projects and platforms. Yesterday, the decentralized computing network called Golem raised more than $8 million worth of ethers in 30 minutes.
Golem, a decentralized computing protocol built on top of Ethereum, managed to raise exactly 820,000 ethers in its ICO or Crowdsale. After a slight delay, (the token sale was supposed to begin in September) the team of developers released a comprehensive whitepaper covering the scope of the project, roadmap, budget allocation, market strategy, and a dossier of the team.
The developers define golem as:
the first truly decentralized supercomputer, creating a global market for computing power. Combined with flexible tools to aid developers in securely distributing and monetizing their software, Golem altogether changes the way computer tasks are organized and executed. By powering decentralized microservices and asynchronous task execution, Golem is set to become a key building block for future Internet service providers and software development.
The project seeks to leverage the power of the Ethereum protocol to deliver a solution that enables 1) requestors, users in need of computational resources to complete a task, 2) providers, users wanting to rent their GPUs, CPUs, and other computer resources, and 3)software developers, those offering software solutions inside the golem network, to meet in a decentralized and trustless fashion.
Use cases are plenty, but the team decided to focus on the CGI-rendering market for their first alpha release of the Golem client.
Rather than using costly cloud-based services or waiting ages for one’s own machine to complete the task, CGI artists can now rent computer resources from other users to render an image quickly. The payment from a requestor, in this case a CGI artist, is sent directly to providers who made their resources available. In addition, when the artist’s machine is idle, it can itself accept tasks from other users.
Many people have argued against ICOs or Crowdsales, as they may represent a very risky ‘investment’ mechanism. In its very opinionated piece, Preston J. Byrne, COO of Monax Industries (a blockchain solutions provider) said:
. . . in the back of my mind, there was a hope that the advent of an open-source blockchain that would be entirely free to use would put down, once and for all, the distasteful, dishonest, and more often than not illegal promotion of commercially nonsensical businesses by dubious actors with questionable motivations.
Byrne went on to explain how there’s no such thing as a ‘digital asset’ and that ‘Offering appcoins to retail investors as an investment, and then operating the scheme without registration, is probably against the law’.
Nonetheless, Golem represents another project under the Web3 umbrella, a set of applications, protocols, and technologies to decentralize the Internet’s infrastructure.