Meet Golem, the crowdsourced supercomputer that just raised $8.6 million


What if distributed cloud resources running the Ethereum blockchain to deliver supercomputer-scale power could be a way to make scientific discoveries and run artificial intelligence?

That’s the goal of the highly ambitious Golem Network (Golem Factory GmhB), a startup that has raised 820,000 ether, roughly $8.6 million, in a crowdfunding sale earlier this month, making it the second-largest crowdfunding raise in cryptocurrency history.

The project would enable users to buy and sell unused computing resources, with the compute time being available to use to process almost any computationally demanding task. Using the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts as the backbone for all transactions, the Golem network imposes a fee of 5 percent on each transaction as a way of maintaining the network and funding further development, along with the payment to the person or company providing the computational power.

The power delivered by the network can theoretically power anything, but it’s being pitched specifically for scientific research, graphics rendering, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis.

If that’s not already interesting enough, the Golem Project ran their crowdfunding by selling Ethereum-based network tokens call a GNT, or Golem Network Token, tokens that give each purchaser a share in the network itself. They can’t be used for payments in the network itself but are able to be traded.

“Golem is an accessible-to-everyone network of computers from all around the globe (and potentially other planets) that brings computing power into the sharing economy so that anyone can connect their personal computer to the network and make an automated side income,” Golem spokesman Eddy Azar told SiliconANGLE via email. “Could you imagine the advances to science, and humankind as a whole, that universal and affordable access to a computer this powerful would catalyze? Really, can you? Because I cannot.”

Distributed computing is not a new idea, but Golem is the first example of using the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts to provide a distributed network that is claimed to deliver the computational power of a supercomputer.

The crowdfunding sale is said to have sold out in 20 minutes. For more information, including the white paper on how the network works, visit the Golem Network site here.

Image credit: Golem