‘Largest Distributed Peer-To-Peer Grid’ On Earth Laying Foundation For A Decentralized Internet

Forbes reports on ThreeFold, an ambitious new “long-term project to rewire the internet in the image of its first incarnation: decentralized, unowned, accessible, free.”

“We have 18,000 CPU cores and 90 million gigabytes, which is a lot of capacity,” founder Kristof de Spiegeleer told me recently on the TechFirst podcast. “It’s probably between five and ten times more than all of the capacity of all the blockchain projects together…”

“It’s a movement,” de Spiegeleer says about ThreeFold. “It’s where we invite a lot of people to…basically help us to build a new internet. Now it sounds a little bit weird building a new internet. We’re not trying to replace the cables… what we need help with is that we get more compute and storage capacity close to us.” That would be a fundamentally different kind of internet: one we all collectively own rather than just one we all just use.

It requires a lot of different technology for backups and storage, for which ThreeFold is building a variety of related technologies: peer-to-peer technology to create the grid in the first place; storage, compute, and network technologies to enable distributed applications; and a self-healing layer bridging people and applications. Oh, and yes. There is a blockchain component: smart contracts for utilizing the grid and keeping a record of activities. “Farmers” (read: all of us) provide capacity and get micropayments for usage.

So instead of a Bitcoin scenario where some of the fastest computers in the world waste country-scale amounts of electricity doing arcane math to create an imaginary currency with dubious value (apologies, are my biases showing?) you have people providing actual tangible services for others in exchange for some degree of cryptocurrency reward. Which, in my (very) humble opinion, offers a lot more social utility…

ThreeFold and partners have invested more than $40 million in make it happen, de Spiegeleer says, and there are more than 30 partners working on the project or onboarding shortly. “So it’s happening,” he says.
In the interview, de Spiegeleer points out 80% of current internet capacity is owned by less than 20 companies, arguing on the podcast that “It really needs to be something like electricity.

“It needs to be everywhere and everyone needs to have access to it. It needs to be cost effective, it needs to be reliable, it needs to be independent…”

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