What are the noteworthy projects in the Web3 cloud service track?

Web3 is used to describe the potential next stage of the internet, a “decentralized” internet built on top of “blockchain” technology. Web3 applications rely on smart contracts, with data as the input and output of these smart contracts, to achieve automation and execution of predetermined operations. Accurate and reliable data is essential for the normal operation and integrity of smart contracts and DApps.

Although the underlying blockchain technology provides a secure and trustless framework, Web3 still needs to borrow some basic services to achieve functional expansion, especially cloud services and oracles related to data.

Cloud services solve the problem of expensive and inefficient blockchain data storage and computation costs, while providing infrastructure and tools to facilitate communication and data exchange between different blockchain networks, enhancing interoperability and collaborative capabilities.

As a bridge between blockchain networks and external data sources or systems, oracles provide real-time data streams and enable smart contracts on the blockchain to interact with real-world events and information, which is crucial for Web3 applications that need access to off-chain data (such as price information, weather conditions, or other external API data).

Cloud services and oracles address the challenges of blockchain in scalability, storage, computation, connectivity, and interoperability. They help bridge the gap between the decentralized nature of blockchain and the actual needs of real-world applications, and promote the development of more powerful and multifunctional decentralized systems.

However, due to development limitations, most dAPPs still rely mainly on traditional centralized infrastructure services, such as cloud service giants like Google Cloud and Alibaba Cloud. But with the development of the Internet, centralized cloud services and oracles have gradually revealed some drawbacks, such as single points of failure, trust and data reliability, data privacy and security, scalability, and cost.

Decentralized cloud platforms and oracle solutions have emerged, which reduce the risks brought by centralization through distributed resources and provide better data privacy, reliability, and security.

This article aims to provide a detailed introduction to these Web3 decentralized projects, focusing on the two directions of decentralized cloud and oracles, with the first part focusing on decentralized cloud computing projects, exploring their unique characteristics and technological innovations as the underlying infrastructure of Web3 decentralization.

1 Web3 Cloud Computing Market: iExec

Web3 Cloud Service

iExec is a decentralized cloud computing platform that allows users to discover, purchase, sell, and trade computing resources, including computing power, datasets, and algorithms, and to securely and efficiently exchange computing resources through smart contracts, automating transaction processing and providing decentralized and verifiable transaction records.

The market-based model benefits both resource providers and consumers. Providers can realize revenue by selling or leasing idle computing resources on the platform, while consumers can access on-demand high-quality and reliable computing resources without significant infrastructure investment.

In addition to trading cloud computing resources, iExec also offers other products to help protect ownership and privacy, primarily including the Oracle Factory, iExec SDK, and Confidential Computing.

The Oracle Factory simplifies the process of creating oracles by providing a user-friendly interface and a set of tool templates that allow users to easily create and deploy decentralized oracles on the iExec network.

Users can customize and configure their oracles according to their specific data needs. They can define data sources, APIs, and endpoints to retrieve data from external systems or services. The iExec Oracle Factory is responsible for the deployment and management of the oracle infrastructure, ensuring scalability, security, and reliability.

The iExec SDK is a software development toolkit provided by iExec to help developers build decentralized applications (DApps) on the iExec platform. The SDK provides developers with the resources they need to interact with the iExec network and leverage its functionality, including a command-line interface (CLI), software libraries and APIs, as well as comprehensive documentation, tutorials, and examples. By leveraging the iExec SDK, developers can harness the powerful capabilities of the iExec network to build secure and scalable cloud computing resources while building decentralized applications.

iExec Confidential Computing utilizes a variety of technologies, such as secure isolation environments and trusted execution environments (TEEs), to protect sensitive data and computations from unauthorized access, tampering, and exposure. It ensures data confidentiality, prevents unauthorized access, and supports trustless collaboration, making it of significant value to privacy-sensitive applications and industries.

2 Web3 Computing Network: Phala

Web3 Cloud Service

Phala’s vision is to become the world’s largest P2P computing network, a standard Web3-based decentralized computing cloud. Compared to centralized solutions such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, Phala is a decentralized privacy-protecting computing platform that aims to provide high-performance, high-security, affordable cloud computing services for Web3 programs.

The core product of the Phala Network is Phat Contract, which is a “smart contract” based on TEE technology that greatly expands the functionality of traditional smart contracts, ensuring the security and privacy of smart contracts by executing them internally within TEE, allowing users to perform calculations without exposing sensitive data, protecting personal privacy and business secrets.

In addition, Phat Contract eliminates the need for centralized cloud solutions by implementing network access, database support, and fast and powerful computing capabilities.

Specifically, Phat Contract supports HTTP, so smart contracts can seamlessly integrate with any Web2 API using Phat Contract. This innovation will make compliant, secure data connections, exchanges, and processing possible, while supporting multi-chains, allowing developers to easily connect Phat Contract to EVM or Substrate blockchains without the need for bridging, expanding the capabilities of smart contracts.

Since Phat Contract is executed off-chain, response speed depends on the performance of the computing node device itself, similar to traditional Web2 services. In Phat Contract, millisecond-level read and write responses are possible, allowing for real-time execution of intensive off-chain calculations. Off-chain calculations do not consume gas fees, greatly reducing the cost of executing the entire contract.

Enterprises can perform serverless computing by programming and deploying Phat Contract on Phala. “Serverless” means that enterprises no longer need to worry about the setup of underlying hardware, and a decentralized network of more than 20,000 secure enclave workers distributed by Phala worldwide provides secure, robust, and trustless infrastructure.

In summary, Phala provides an innovative privacy-protecting computing platform that guarantees data privacy with TEE-blockchain integration architecture, and provides secure and trustworthy smart contract execution through Phat Contract. This will promote the development of privacy protection and security of Web3 applications and provide users with a more secure and reliable computing environment.

3 Global First Decentralized Cloud Computing: Akash

Web3 Cloud Service

Akash is the first decentralized cloud computing platform. Its advantage lies in its decentralized nature, which allows computing resources to be stored in nodes around the world, providing higher reliability and stability. By using smart contracts and a decentralized auction market mechanism to connect computing resource providers and users, it focuses more on solving the accessibility and cost efficiency problems of cloud computing.

In the Akash Deployment Marketplace, developers can publish their applications and specify the required computing resources, configurations, and budgets. Then, computing resource providers can bid and provide corresponding computing resources based on demand and provided quotes. Finally, developers can choose the most suitable bidder, rent computing resources, and deploy their applications.

Akash’s market mechanism makes computing resource prices more transparent and competitive, providing developers with more cost-effective solutions. Developers can deploy their applications at lower costs, with greater flexibility and better performance. The cost of deploying containers on Akash is about 10 times lower than any of the traditional three cloud service giants.

Akash provides a decentralized cloud computing platform in an open and transparent manner. As an open-source project, Akash’s source code and related tools are publicly available, and anyone can view, use, and contribute to the project. The open-source nature of Akash brings advantages such as higher transparency, auditability, community participation, customization, reliability, and stability, making Akash a powerful and flexible solution.

At the same time, Akash Network adopts the Tendermint consensus protocol, which is a Byzantine fault-tolerant (BFT) consensus algorithm. This consensus mechanism ensures that validators reach consensus on the network state, even in the presence of malicious actors or network interruptions, greatly enhancing network security and reliability. Tendermint consensus has fast finality, making the network suitable for real-time applications.

The Akash mainnet gives developers the ability to free themselves from the limitations of traditional cloud infrastructure, allowing them to deploy applications faster, more efficiently, and at lower costs, accelerating the growth and scale of the blockchain ecosystem.

4 Customizable Privacy: Secret

Web3 Cloud Service

Secret Network is a decentralized privacy computing platform based on blockchain technology. It aims to provide users with a secure and verifiable computing environment that protects data privacy.

As its name suggests, its key feature is the protection of data privacy. It adopts programmable privacy-preserving smart contracts and encryption technology to ensure that computations and transactions conducted on the network are privacy-protected. Technologies and mechanisms such as secure enclaves, encryption and zero-knowledge proofs, trusted execution environments (TEE), and decentralized governance are more common, but more importantly, it adopts programmable privacy-preserving smart contracts.

Developers can define privacy rules in the contract and specify which data should be kept encrypted during the computation process. This programmability allows developers to build privacy-focused applications and services on the network. Through Secret Network, users can execute smart contracts, perform data calculations, and share privacy data while protecting data privacy.

By combining these elements, Secret Network creates an environment that securely stores, processes, and shares sensitive data while protecting privacy and confidentiality. Its functionality and advantages make it a powerful privacy computing solution that is suitable for various application scenarios with sensitive data and privacy needs.

5 Internet Computer: Dfinity

Web3 Cloud Service

Dfinity is a decentralized computing platform that aims to provide secure and scalable infrastructure for building and deploying applications, and to provide developers with a seamless development experience that supports a wide range of applications, including decentralized finance, social media, and games.

By leveraging advanced technology, Dfinity aims to provide a decentralized alternative that offers higher security, censorship resistance, and data privacy compared to traditional centralized platforms. Dfinity’s goal is to create an internet computer open to and governed by a decentralized network, envisioning a future where power and control over the internet are distributed among its participants.

Dfinity adopts some key technologies to achieve its goals. The most important of these is the Threshold Relay consensus mechanism, which ensures fast block generation and greatly improves transaction throughput, while ensuring decision makers are random.

This mechanism uses distributed key generation and signing schemes, allowing nodes in the network to reach consensus in a decentralized manner. Threshold Relay divides the network into multiple randomly selected node groups, each of which collectively generates blocks through a key sharing protocol and verifies and executes transactions through threshold signature algorithms.

In addition, Dfinity also introduces the concept of on-chain smart contracts, allowing developers to write and deploy code with automatic execution capabilities. It introduces a new programming language Motoko aimed at simplifying the development process of smart contracts, and providing powerful tools and libraries to support developers in building complex distributed applications.

Dfinity also provides a runtime environment called Internet Computer, which allows developers to build and run applications on the platform . Internet Computer provides computing resources and storage services, enabling developers to deploy applications directly to the network without relying on traditional server infrastructure.

By combining these technologies, Dfinity has created a highly secure, scalable, and decentralized computing platform that provides developers with the ability to build and deploy various types of applications.

6 Decentralized Cloud Computing: Cudos

Web3 Cloud Service

Cudos is a Layer1 blockchain with delegated proof of stake. Its vision is to achieve on-chain accessible decentralized computing. The design of its network separates consensus from execution to ensure secure, decentralized, and permissionless access to high-performance computing on a large scale.

The main goal of the Cudos platform is to address the problems currently faced in the cloud computing space, such as scalability, performance, and cost. By distributing computing tasks to multiple nodes in the network, and managing them through smart contracts and decentralized protocols, Cudos can achieve highly scalable computing capabilities.

It adopts the Tendermint Core engine to manage consensus and adopts the Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) consensus model . The BFT model can tolerate less than one-third of Byzantine verification nodes to reach consensus. As the gold standard of Proof-of-Stake consensus, BFT consensus is the most widely used consensus engine in the industry. Compared with Proof-of-Work blockchains such as Bitcoin, the PoS algorithm reduces Cosmos’s carbon footprint by more than 99%.

Additionally, Cudos offers advantages in security and privacy protection. By using the decentralized nature of blockchain and encryption algorithms, Cudos ensures that users’ data and computing tasks are protected, preventing unauthorized access and tampering.

The Cudos platform has a wide range of applications, including artificial intelligence, scientific research, distributed applications, game development, and more. It provides developers and users with a flexible, efficient, and secure cloud computing infrastructure, promoting innovation and collaboration.

7 Conclusion

Web3 Cloud Service

In the world of Web3, decentralization has become a key concept and practice. The projects we mentioned above, such as Phala Network, iExec, Akash, Secret Network, etc., have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields, promoting the process of decentralization and solving real-world problems.

These projects are committed to breaking the limitations of traditional centralized systems, providing users with greater data privacy and security , realizing tamper-proof smart contracts and applications, and providing scalable and decentralized infrastructure.

The decentralization concept of Web3 brings us more choice and control, giving individuals greater autonomy and privacy protection. It creates a more fair, transparent, trustworthy, and sustainable digital economic ecosystem for users and developers worldwide.

With the continuous development and innovation of technology, we can expect more decentralized projects and solutions to emerge, further promoting the development and popularization of Web3. Through joint efforts, we can establish a more inclusive and open Internet, enabling people to participate, create, and share value freely.

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