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Golem, the "Airbnb for Computers," Launches on Ethereum Mainnet in Beta

Golem's plan is to create a global market for idle computing power that rewards contributors with cryptocurrency.
Startups - Golem

After two years in development, one of Ethereum’s earliest initial coin offering (ICO) projects has finally launched on the Ethereum mainnet. The Brass Beta version of Golem went live today, April 10, 2018, the project announced on its website.

On November 11, 2016, Golem raised 820,000 ether — worth $8 million at the time — in 29 minutes. “We’ve come a long way. From being one of the first crowdfunded projects, way past the challenges we had to face while navigating the uncharted territory that is building Golem, the time has come to take the big step: mainnet launch is here,” the project wrote.

Initially advertised as an “Airbnb” for computers, the idea behind Golem is to create a global market for your idle computing power. You can rent out your unused computing power and you will be paid for it in cryptocurrency — in this case, the Golem Network tokens (GNT).

Ultimately, the goal for Golem is to make just about anything that requires heavy computer lifting — think computer generated images (CGI) rendering, scientific calculation, machine learning and more — both affordable and accessible.

Supercomputer on a Blockchain

During its early concept phase, Golem saw itself as a “supercomputer on a blockchain.” Combined with other technologies, “it will replace the huge data centers that currently power the internet, and become the decentralized (and therefore non-monopolized and more secure) computing power behind the entire internet and just about everything on it,” Eddy Azar, a former Golem spokesperson wrote in describing Golem in October 2016.

That said, every project needs to start somewhere, and, for now, the single use case for the Golem Brass Beta version will be rendering 3D computer graphics, allowing a user to distribute the CGI processing of any Blender and LuxRender scene over the Golem network.

Risks are inherent in any beta version of a software, and Golem is clear in letting people know about those. The project states, “... even though this new stage will expose our project to diverse risks, it is not possible (or responsible) to say a product is finalized without real users.”

Will It Scale?

Of course, scalability will become a potential issue for Golem — and the big question is, will Ethereum, which slowed to a grind when the popularity of CryptoKitties exploded, be able to handle the increased use?

Brass Golem is the first stage in the project’s roadmap. The next big leap will be Clay Golem, then Stone Golem, and finally, Iron Golem. With each release, the platform will be upgraded and become more powerful as it approaches its full potential.

Alongside the release of Brass Beta, Golem has also announced a bug bounty competition, where users can earn money to spot and report bugs in the software.