On August 24th, the Golem (GNT) team released a new iteration of their testnet alpha, drawing closer to Brass, the official first release of the Golem Network.
The Brass Golem Alpha2 0.8 makes a series of updates to the network, including a switch from an older release of the Python scripting language to the most recent version. This adheres to the team’s desire for longevity by releasing what is best for the network overall, even if implementing those features may not be strictly necessary for Brass. This latest release also patches some bugs, and more importantly, makes improvements to their GUI – the graphic user interface that the user interacts with to use the program – in another nod to providing easy adoption and ease of use for their users.
What is Golem?
Billed as “the AirBNB of computing,” Golem is a decentralized network based on the Ethereum blockchain that allows users to utilize a pool of unused computer cycles in order to achieve a high computing-power task. Golem’s first proving ground is among users of the widely used 3D modeling software Blender, due to the high computing-power cost of rendering 3D graphics. (You can see some examples of renderings from the Golem network here.)
Golem’s usefulness goes much farther than just rendering graphics. In essence, Golem cheaply and easily provides users with a decentralized network of outsourced computing power that could rival the most expensive supercomputer clusters. This means the network could very easily see adoption from companies that have a lot of data to process or require a lot of computing power – such as modeling of scientific and medical data, machine learning, and data analysis, to name just a few. The Golem network is also useful for microservices geared towards less resource-intensive uses, which paves the way for DApps on the Golem network.
Currently, the network software is being tested on a simulated network, known as a testnet, as the Golem team works to finalize a robust consumer-ready product. While this latest update adds another delay to the official rollout of Brass – originally intended for earlier this year – the Golem team has always aimed at releasing the most solid, easily-adopted product for their users. To this end, they are no longer providing specific release dates, and are instead updating users as they add and perfect features – exactly as the Ethereum development team did with their Frontier release.
What is Brass?
Brass is the first major release of the Golem Network, wherein they switch over from their simulated testnet to the actual Ethereum network, opening up their platform to consumers. As stated, their first release is targeted towards Blender users, though users will be able to use the Golem network for any of the uses outlined above (potentially with limited functionality.)
Brass was originally slated for release in May 2017, but was pushed back as the development team made a series of wise choices aimed at fine-tuning their network as well as the initial release. This approach allows the team to release the most functional, broad version of their network and its software to users, providing their userbase with as many features as possible. It also makes it easier for them to establish a stronghold as well as improve the network and software going forward.
Brass is the first consumer-facing iteration of their product, but the Golem team has many planned updates, with the intention to be the most robust and widely adopted network token.
As stated, the initial majority usecase for Brass is for rendering, but Golem aims to move beyond that as the network grows. After Brass comes Clay, which includes a number of updates to the network protocol – most invisible to the user – that improve functionality, as well as adoption. To the latter end, they intend to make it easier for developers to build on the network via the release of tutorials, as well as support for more development friendly usecases. In so doing, they lay the foundation for the implementation of DApps on the Golem Network.
This protocol upgrade includes the release of their Task API, which allows network users to define simple tasks they want the network to perform, a necessary step for further DApp applications. The addition of sandbox functionality allows developers to test applications on the network before releasing them to the public.
Primarily, the objective of Clay is to broaden their userbase by both extending applicable rendering uses – growing from their Blender users to other software – and to implement new uses, such as computation chemistry and machine learning. They also intend to build their network, by attracting and retaining a solid base of computer power. Clay also intends to set the stage for development of DApps on the Golem Network, which will see further refinement in future releases.
The next protocol upgrade, Stone Golem, includes a fully fleshed out version of their Task API, which will open the floodgates for DApps on the Golem Network. This is complimented by an application registry that lists applications ready to run on the Golem netwmmork, then use the network’s Certification Mechanism to become certified via user whitelisting or blacklisting. This provides a realtime listing of which applications are trusted by the network.
Stone Golem also includes a number of security and stability updates, including a further refinement of the Transaction Framework, providing more options for task creation. It also allows for the use of proprietary software on the network. This further adds to both provider and user trust in the network, which strengthens the network. Among the world of blockchain assets (otherwise known as cryptocurrency), a useful, trusted network is what tokens live and die on.
These upgrades should further make the network desirable to users, developers, and network maintainers, and as such will be met with a heavier emphasis on marketing and outreach by the Golem team.
The final planned iteration of the Golem network protocol is that is geared to provide full functionality to developers on the network, and in so doing, provide as many usecases as possible to users. Iron includes many subtle improvements to the mechanisms of the network, as well as refinements of extant functions and features. Iron is intended to be “robust, highly resistant to attack, stable and scalable.” It will include the Golem Standard Library, essentially a list of network tasks and functions that can be easily used by developers using any language – in other words, allowing the integration of Golem network’s distributed computing model into almost any software. This alone should cement Golem as one of the promising technologies going forward.
Is Golem worth investing in?
We at EthereumInvesting wholeheartedly believe in the Golem project, and all of our team – as well as most members of our Facebook Communities – have some, if not significant, Golem Network Token holdings.
The Brass release will almost assuredly come before years end, and at that time it is easy to see a significant rise in Golem’s price – potentially beating its all time high of $.61 USD. Given the current low-value of the coin, we are personally stocking up on Golem, as both a good way to make some short term gain for traders, and some potentially hefty long term ROI for holders.
To be fair, there are some competitors of Golem, as well as some criticisms of the Golem network. One of the most prominent criticisms is the lack of encryption of data on the network. However, the intended usecases for the Golem network are generally not geared towards sensitive data.
Some competitors, namely IEX, SOMN, and XEL, could potentially beat Golem to market, raising some concerns among investors. However, given Golem’s head start and widespread excitement among its first targeted communities, neither us at EthereumInvesting nor the Golem team are particularly worried about this possibility. With the Ethereum network upgrading to Metropolis most likely happening before the release of Brass, we are confident that Brass stands to achieve their visionary ambitions and bring decentralized supercomputing to the masses.
Let us know your thoughts on Golem in the comments!
To install the newest release, you can follow the instructions at the bottom of the page here.
Read the Golem whitepaper.
The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.