Golem wants to take on the $411 billion cloud computing industry by providing a decentralized alternative powered by blockchain. But is Golem biting off more than it can chew? 

What is Golem?

Golem is a distributed computing platform, providing shared computing power that users can access for a fee. The platform lets you rent out your computer’s spare resources to others who need the additional power to perform complex computations and tasks, and for those in need of computing power to rent from others instead of cloud-based services like Amazon or Google. 

Did you know?

Golem is named after the mythical Jewish creature Golem

What can you do with Golem?

At the time of writing, Golem is the CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) rendering industry. Games designers and others often outsource CGI processing because of the intensive computer processing required. Golem believes it can offer a better alternative. In future, according to Golem, machine learning and other heavy computing tasks could also be rented out on Golem’s network. 

How does it work?

Golem allows users to rent out the processing power of their computer’s CPU or GPU (graphics processing unit) to other users on the network.

The Golem supercomputer is made up of the combined processing power of all users signed up to the network. It can be harnessed by users who need to perform complex tasks their hardware might not be able to do on its own. The network incentivizes users to keep their CPU or GPU Power-providers are then rewarded with Golem Network Tokens.

Did you know?

Golem raised $8.6 million in just 29 minutes during its November 2016 ICO.

What’s so special about it?

Anyone who periodically needs large amounts of computing power—video game developers, low-budget movie makers, scientists, schools and artists–has access to power whenver they need. Golem could make supercomputing as commonplace as logging on to social media.

And disadvantages?

Like any new technology, it has a number of challenges. The first is creating enough suppliers of computing power to allow the network to cope with increased demand. The second is competition, while there are few, if any blockchain powered competitors trying to emulate Golem’s platform, it’s competing with cloud computing giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM who have scale, brand and economies of scale on their side. There is little to stop the big cloud computing players from undercutting Golem, and offering their computing power for even less.

The project has also been criticized for the cautious pace the development team has adopted.

What are Golem’s aims?

The Golem Network aims to become the first ‘world supercomputer’ and—one day—to challenge the cloud computing giants Google, Microsoft and Amazon and IBM.

What other projects are in this space?

There are a handful of others working on decentralized cloud computing solutions. Although not pure competitors, projects like iExec, Gridcoin, and SONM have some overlap.

Did you know?

Golem’s founder, Julian Zawistowski is a graduate of the Warsaw School of Economics, and worked at the national bank of Poland before entrepreneurship beckoned.

The future

In October 2018, Golem launched a GPU version of its decentralized computing power marketplace. As cryptocurrencies and blockchains move to less energy intensive consensus protocols, such as Proof of Stake, their GPUs will be unemployed and Golem hopes to capitalize on this.

Golem may be some way away from offering the world a viable alternative to the cloud computing services of Microsoft and Amazon; the project is still in its initial phases, so its impact on the market is yet to emerge.