What is Golem? (GNT)
The Beginner’s Guide
Golem is a software that incentivizes users to operate a market where computational resources can be bought and sold in exchange for cryptocurrency.
One of the earliest projects built on Ethereum, Golem is envisioned as a kind of supercomputer that can connect buyers and sellers for all manner of computations, including CGI rendering, artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency mining, among other tasks.
Golem’s software is built to facilitate this exchange, linking users who don’t have the resources to carry out projects with those that have resources to spare. In return for their work, those who supply resources to the Golem network are awarded GNT, Golem’s native cryptocurrency.
In this way, Golem’s creators envision the network as a user-controlled alternative to traditional cloud computing services, which today connect users seeking computational work.
For more regular updates from the Golem team, you can bookmark the Golem blog, which includes tips and tutorials on the network and its evolving technology.
For a more detailed view of the Golem Project’s roadmap, you can bookmark this section of the project’s website.
Who Created Golem?
Golem Factory, the company behind the Golem platform, was co-founded by Aleksandra Skrzypczak, Andrzej Regulski, Julian Zawistowski and Piotr Janiuk in 2016.
That year, the Golem team sold 82% of the supply of GNT to the public, raising 820,000 ETH (roughly $8.6 million at the time).
How Does Golem Work?
The Golem software computes requests and connects the various parties accessing its network.
Transactions begin when someone in the market for computational resources (known in Golem parlance as a “requestor”) asks for resources using what’s called a “task template.”
Take CGI rendering, a sometimes slow and computer intensive process, as an application of the Golem network. Rather than paying for cloud-based services or waiting for their own machine to complete a task, CGI artists can turn to Golem to complete the process for them.
In this case, Golem will rent computing resources from various providers to render images before returning them to the requestor.
A task template contains the full computational logic the Golem network will need to execute the request. This includes instructions for:
- The source code that should be run
- How the task can be split into subtasks and sent to different nodes
- How the results can be verified into a final result.
Requestors can use a task template already created for the network or generate their own. Once a requestor submits a request, the Golem network will seek to programmatically fulfill it.
Once subtasks are completed, they go through a verification stage to ensure that they were completed correctly. The Golem client then pieces the subtasks together into one piece before sending it back to the requestor.
Once received, the requestors will send the right amount of GNT to the contract that then automatically pays the providers.
Once a task is completed, Golem uses a reputation system to grade the buyers and sellers that use its marketplace.
The system serves to:
- Detect malicious nodes
- Provide an evaluation metric for routing tasks correctly.
For requestors, the reputation system monitors the timeliness of payments and whether the task is revealed to contain errors when computed by providers.
Providers are ranked based on their ability to compute a task properly and whether the task passes a verification check upon return.
Application Registry and Transaction Framework
Golem is planning to add more offerings into its network to support application submissions from developers and to increase the amount of tasks requestors can choose from.
An application registry, acting similarly to the app store on your phone, is an Ethereum-based smart contract that allows developers to submit applications for specific tasks and helps requestors find the appropriate tools, such as task templates, to fit their needs.
The transaction framework, likewise, is being built to support developers when choosing what type of transaction will fit their application’s needs. Some components that can be included are the payout schemes, off-chain payment channels and per-unit use of software.
Golem on Ethereum
The Golem protocol plays the role of dividing and determining how this work will be delivered. This process works similarly to cloud-based storage system Sia, but, rather than building its own blockchain, the Golem team thought it better to build on top of Ethereum.
The Golem team chose to run its software on Ethereum so that payments between interested parties would be settled on its blockchain. Further, Golem uses the Ethereum consensus mechanism model for the deployment, task execution and validation of these transactions.
The idea behind this is that the team hopes that the Ethereum network will eventually become more scalable, and thus more efficient, while including the ability to process micropayments.
Those wishing to access Golem resources can download either of their two offerings, Golem Unlimited and Clay Golem.
Clay Golem is a software run by a single machine whereas Golem Unlimited is used for a multi-node setup. Golem Unlimited is thus a software that can be run by companies, or a household with many computers that have unused resources.
The GNT cryptocurrency derives its value from its utility to the Golem network, as it is the preferred form of payment within the software.
This means requestors need to buy and spend GNT to rent out computational resources. Providers, in turn, must accept GNT for the computations they compute.
Golem leverages the Ethereum blockchain for processing GNT transactions between requestors and providers due to its ability to provide a trustless payment platform.
Further, like many other cryptocurrencies, the supply of GNT tokens is limited. According to the software’s rules, there will only ever be 1 billion GNT.
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Proponents of Golem may be enticed by its potential to serve as a new kind of peer-to-peer computing platform.
Golem can be appealing to any developer, cryptocurrency miner, CGI professional or anyone who needs a lot of computing power to carry out a project.
Investors may want to add GNT to their portfolio should they believe in the potential for a decentralized marketplace for anyone wishing to buy and sell computing power.