Dfinity claims to be the future of cloud computing. Find out how the company plans to do that today in our review.
What Is Dfinity?
Dfinity, found online at Dfinity.org, is an unbounded, performant, self-governing computer based on blockchain technology. The company describes its technology as “an infinite blockchain computer” that will work as the future of cloud computing.
Using an infinite blockchain computer, companies can reduce enterprise IT system costs by 90% by reducing human capital needs. A blockchain-powered computer can also power autonomous self-updating software systems that beat monopolistic intermediaries used today.
Overall, Dfinity claims its computer is high-performance, interoperable, self-governing, and future-proof. It’s a virtual machine powered by blockchain technology.
How Does Dfinity Work?
Dfinity claims you should imagine their technology as a third generation network. Bitcoin was the first generation, Ethereum was the second generation, and now Dfinity is powering the third generation.
With Dfinity, businesses can boost computation and storage indefinitely. They can avoid speed and capacity limitations.
Lying at the center of the Dfinity platform is a code where “AI is law” replaces “the code is law”. Under this paradigm, everything on the platform is subject to an intermediary-free algorithmic governance system that combines crowd wisdom and traditional AI technologies to “freeze miscreant smart contracts that harm the interests of those using the platform”, mitigate the effects of hacks on hosted systems, dynamically optimize the networks’ security and economic parameters, and transparently upgrade its underlying protocols and software without disrupting users.
Overall, this system can be described as “the intelligent decentralized cloud.” Some describe it as “Ethereum’s crazy sister”.
What Problems Does Dfinity Seek To Solve?
The Dfinity website outlines the following key objectives for the platform:
- Reimagine enterprise IT and slash costs 90% by reducing human capital needs
- Power real decentralized finance that uses “Cryptofiat” technology (like PHI)
- Power open source businesses that compete with monopolistic intermediaries like eBay
- Distribute data and computation outside of mega data centers (like AWS)
Dfinity emphasizes the following features:
Dfinity is designed to research ways of enabling public decentralized networks to host a virtual computer of unlimited capacity. The concept is similar to Ethereum, but with vastly improved performance. The initial goal of Dfinity was to create a system capable of joining 1 million or more mining clients.
Many private networks are run by corporations. However, these networks and blockchains aren’t interoperable. Furthermore, companies find that adding some services is beyond their practical budgets and expertise. As an example, a supply chain company might have a supply chain-oriented blockchain, and they might recognize the benefits of introducing their own digital currency, but the costs of implementing that currency are outside their expertise and ability. Dfinity allows open versions of such services to be created on the public blockchain, then incorporated into private networks in the form of building blocks.
Dfinity introduces algorithmic governance in the form of a “Blockchain Nervous System”. This is designed to protect users from attacks, help restart broken systems, dynamically optimize efficiency, upgrade the protocol, and mitigate misuse of the platform. This will block someone from running illegal or immoral systems on the platform (as an example, Dfinity argues that an “ISIS slave marketplace” cannot run alongside an enterprise network).
Dfinity claims to be a technology for internet 3.0, “in which the fabric of the internet starts to act as a giant computer with radical new properties that could be extraordinarily disruptive.” Enterprise IT systems that run on this computer will be unstoppable, and they won’t need to involve complex components like databases, backup, and restore systems.
Who’s Behind Dfinity?
DFINITY Stiftung is a not-for-profit foundation based in Zug, Switzerland (also known as Crypto Valley). The goal of DFINITY Stiftung is to support the Dfinity project. That foundation currently holds about $10 million in assets (as of April 2017), although they’re seeking additional funding throughout 2017.
The company’s team consists of a group of computer science and math professors, postdocs and PhDs, self-taught crypto experts, technical innovators, and professional senior management.
Key members of the team include Dominic Williams (Chief Scientist) and Timo Hanke (Head of Engineering).
The team got together in January 2014 to create the Pebble Project, a credit card for micropayments built on custom BFT consensus systems. In January 2015, they launched the idea for an infinite blockchain computer and began work on the Dfinity project.
Dfinity will launch in 2018. The company claims to be the third generation of blockchain technology, with more advanced smart contracts and the ability to access unlimited computational processing and storage through an intelligent decentralized cloud. Bitcoin (2009) was the first generation or blockchain technology; Ethereum (2015) was the second generation; and Dfinity (2018) seeks to be the third generation.
Obviously, Dfinity is an ambitious project. Stay tuned for more information as the project continues moving forward throughout the remainder of 2017 and launches to the public in 2018.