Decentralization is one of the most important benefits promised by blockchain, as the technology aims to distribute and disperse power away from central authorities. Bitcoin, for example, was designed as a decentralized alternative to government-backed money.
However, many blockchain systems currently run on centralized cloud platforms. It’s been noted that over 60% of all Ethereum nodes rely on cloud-based services, with 25% running on Amazon Web Services, or AWS. As a result, these blockchain networks are vulnerable to policy changes and adjustments made from Amazon. This also leads to the question of whether these systems and their associated cryptocurrencies are truly decentralized.
Kristof De Spiegeleer, the co-founder and CEO of ThreeFold, told Cointelegraph that since 2016, he has been building a peer-to-peer internet to create a truly decentralized global web architecture:
“Currently, less than 20 companies in the world own more than 80% of the internet’s capacity. Data also resides in huge data centers, where 5 to 10% of the world’s electricity goes, a number which will grow in the coming years. Today, we don’t own our data or the applications on our phones.”
Spiegeleer, who previously worked on developing the internet ecosystem, explained that the internet was originally created to provide a platform for free communication and the exchange of values and goods. He plans to restore this through a new peer-to-peer internet where centralized data centers are replaced by a grid of nodes distributed across the world.
Known as the “ThreeFold Grid,” Spiegeleer explained that this model has 80 million gigabytes of storage capacity. Nodes on the grid are owned by “ThreeFold Farmers,” who are individuals based in over twenty-one countries. HP has partnered with ThreeFold to provide Farmers with high-quality hardware. Spiegeleer elaborated:
“Our Farmers own the physical hardware, like storage or a PC, needed to create the capacity that can be used to store data. Yet the data inside of the nodes always belongs to the people or organizations who put the information there.”
Like other decentralized models, ThreeFold Farmers are incentivized to join the network. Once Farmers connect active hardware to the ThreeFold Grid, ThreeFold Tokens (TFT) are created, which can then be sold to those that want to use storage capacity, such as a developer building or hosting a website.
While this is a low-level operating system, Spiegeleer believes that a model such as this will eventually create true decentralization, functioning more efficiently than other storage alternatives such as AWS.
Solving the blockchain dilemma?
It’s also important to point out that workloads deployed on the ThreeFold Grid are managed by ThreeFold’s blockchain database. Known as BCDB, it is built on the Stellar network and is used to create a “smart contract for IT” layer.
According to Spiegeleer, the ThreeFold Grid system contains a self-executing information…