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Disruptive tech: Dfinity

The DFINITY Foundation is a not-for-profit research and development organisation that plays a significant role in advancing The Internet Computer Blockchain. It is headquartered in Zurich and was founded in 2016 by Dominic Williams. Today it boasts one of the largest R&D operations in blockchain.

Company mission

DFINITY Foundation is tackling the problem of centralisation with the current internet and the reliance on centralized cloud like AWS, Google Cloud etc through the development of the Internet Computer. The Internet Computer is going to be the world’s decentralised computer and the first choice platform for developers and enterprises to build their applications on. It relies on no centralized cloud services and is a sovereign network that anyone can build on top of.

Since the organisation’s inception in 2016, DFINITY’s mission has been to transform the public internet into a powerful decentralized cloud to host the next generation of software and services. The Internet Computer blockchain was launched in May of 2021.

How does the Internet Computer blockchain work?

The Internet Computer is a decentralised cloud network – cloud 3.0, built on blockchain technology that can deploy smart contracts directly to The Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) at speeds rivalling traditional services.

ICP is designed to scale to millions of transactions per second and uses a distributed network of nodes to run smart contracts, meaning no single entity can control or censor the content that is hosted on The Internet Computer. Future developments will introduce full AI “smart contracts” that offer mathematical guarantees about the training data and responses produced by specific AI models.

The Internet Computer is a general-purpose, Layer1 blockchain that acts as a cloud 3.0. The network has been operating for over two years and has experienced zero downtime. Currently, it also processes over 750 million transactions daily, a 425% increase from its first year of operation. The Internet Computer is the only blockchain network in the world capable of hosting social networks and enterprise systems, providing an alternative to the Legacy IT stack.

Disrupting current digital models

Williams explains: “Decentralised, permissionless network is a term used by all blockchains in our market/industry. However, it is a term that is used too loosely. How DFINITY and The Internet Computer disrupt the marketplace is being truly decentralised throughout the technology stack.”

He says that other blockchain networks depend on centralised cloud services, such as AWS (Amazon Web Services) or Google Cloud, for foundational processes that are necessary for basic blockchain operations. This means that while certain aspects are decentralised, there is still a single point of failure – if the cloud service goes down, then so does the blockchain.

This is not the case for The Internet Computer which lives fully in a decentralised environment. The Internet Computer is the only blockchain that is truly decentralised.

It’s important to note that The Internet Computer Blockchain is enabling the creation of the future of cloud computing, so anything that can be created on traditional web and cloud services can be recreated on the ICP.

Williams points out that ICP also has pure decentralised AI capabilities and says, “We’d like to see those looking to revolutionise existing Web2 applications with blockchain tech and create all-new programs only capable on blockchain.”

The ICP is competing against the Internet and traditional cloud service providers but, Williams says, “ICP offers all of the same services and capabilities, but enterprises defer to the long-established and trusted Web2 alternatives as they don’t fully understand all the benefits ICP has to offer.”

Target market

The target market is the world. Dominic Williams says: “In all seriousness, the goal of the DFINITY Foundation is to create the next generation of the Internet that leverages blockchain to deliver a transparent, secure, cost-effective, and decentralised alternative that allows people to push the boundaries of computing. The Internet Computer is a network for web3, web 2, traditional enterprise, and crypto projects to build on.”

Perhaps most importantly for readers of SG Voice, Williams argues that, thanks to the unique architecture and novel cryptography, “the Internet Computer hosts smart contract software, data, and computation, with energy consumption levels comparable with traditional software that runs on Big Tech’s cloud services and orders of magnitude lower than competing blockchains.

He says: “Web3 projects that incorporate Internet Computer smart contracts can dramatically lower their carbon footprint, and help reduce climate change.”

Williams points out that many actors in interested in the potential of ICP. He says: “One partner in particular to flag is Roland Berger, a global management consultancy. Together with Roland Berger, we are bringing recycling credits to the blockchain and creating a revolutionary method of solving the waste crisis. Now, companies seeking to reduce their environmental footprint have an easily accessible way to compensate for the waste they produce. By having this system exist on ICP, companies can trust the validity of the credits being purchased, sold, or traded and, once created, the credits will exist in perpetuity.”

The biggest challenges to growth

The biggest challenges are centered on awareness of The Internet Computer Blockchain. The status quo in the current iteration of the Internet is something that enterprises, developers and the like are accustomed to. However, what DFINITY and The Internet Computer are doing is going to revolutionize, through the blockchain, how the world uses the next iteration of the Internet.

Another major challenge for the blockchain industry was the sustainability of certain blockchains. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum were known for being energy-intensive technologies. The average person is unaware that there are alternatives to these two, such as The Internet Computer, that are eco-friendly and have sustainability at the forefront of the technology.

What will it take to scale up?

Williams says the DFINITY Foundation is constantly growing alongside The Internet Computer Blockchain in order to deliver the best quality of infrastructure to all developers. To keep scaling, DFINITY will continue to build out tooling that allows developers to easily create the next generation of dApps, reduce the cost of operating a validator on The Internet Computer, improve on the existing smart contracts to increase transaction speeds, and more.

In addition, he says DFINITY will continue to add to the world’s largest R&D team that the Foundation currently possesses.

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