Those that have been involved with cryptocurrencies for some time have probably heard of the Golem (GNT) project before, because it was a very popular ICO a couple years ago.
At that time it was quite promising looking, but then missed deadlines and new projects sent it into the shadows, where it remained until just recently.
When the Golem team finally released its beta main net launch this past April the light shone on the project again. Investors recalled the early promise of Golem and had another look. They found that it still looks quite promising.
And with that in mind it seems appropriate to have another look at the Golem project and the prospects for it and its native coin, the Golem GNT.
The Golem project is focused on creating a global supercomputer that will offer purchasable computing power through a global decentralized, distributed network of computers. It also allows those with spare computing power to make some GNT tokens by offering their idle CPU to the network.
The first stage of the service is being called Brass Golem, and this is what was launched this past April. It has a specific focus on CGI rendering, specifically for the 3D modeling application Blender and the rendering engine LuxRenderer.
The team feels this is a good first offering as 3D rendering is extremely processing-intensive and can be quite costly.
As an example, let’s say you’re an animator and have created a scene in Blender that you’d like to render in full HD-resolution. You could do the rendering on your own computer, but depending on how powerful your processer is that could take days or even weeks. It’s not likely anyone wants to wait that long to render a scene. There are other options if you want it rendered more quickly.
One option would be to outsource the rendering to a rendering farm. These are dedicated services that offer to rapidly render 3D animation and other modeling. They are also very expensive. And they can be fully booked at times, meaning there’s still a delay in how long it takes to have your scene rendered.
The new alternative is the one offered by Golem. You can use their software and the GNT token to rent the processing power of the users on the Golem network. And you can specify how quickly you’d like the rendering done, or how many subtasks you’re willing to accept. You can then set the price you’re willing to pay in GNT tokens on an hourly basis. For slow renders you can set a lower rate, but if you need your render done quickly a higher rate will accomplish that.
This is great for animators who need fast, inexpensive rendering. It’s also great for anyone who has spare computing power – and that’s pretty much anyone who has an idle computer in their home. The Golem network allows you to sell your spare computing power and get paid in GNT tokens.
With the launch of the Brass Golem beta the Blender renders are the only real-life application available, but that will change in the future as the Golem team has plans for many other real-life applications. Pretty much any task that uses significant processing power can be improved through the use of the Golem distributed network.
One example is machine learning, where it’s often necessary to run a system through millions of iterations as it teaches itself a new task. Golem is already planning on adding this as a use-case. Other applications that could be targeted include other 3D rendering support, scientific computing, artificial intelligence applications, DNA sequencing and others.
Computing power is bought and sold on the Golem network using its native GNT token. The GNT is an ERC-20 token that is tied to the Ethereum blockchain. The team decided to use a blockchain token for its system to make it trustless.
With the GNT transactions occurring on the blockchain there’s no worries about failure to pay or a breach of contract. And the actual file transfers and rendering occurs off the blockchain, so there’s no need to worry about the throughput of the network.
GNT was pre-mined and there are a total of 1 billion GNT in existence, but just 959,242,000 in circulation. The token was sold in an ICO that took place on November 9, 2016. The ICO raised roughly $8 million and tokens were sold at $0.01 each.
As of September 11, 2018 the GNT token is trading at $0.1292, which is a good return over a 22 month span. The token hit an all-time high of $1.16 on January 2, 2018 but has fallen throughout 2018 as the overall crypto markets have experienced broad based weakness.
The GNT token is trading on many different exchanges, with the largest volume trading on Bithumb. There’s also a good amount of volume on OKEx, Bittrex, Binance and the Huobi Exchange. It is worth pointing out that the Golem team has no intention to boost the value of the token. Their intent is simply to use the GNT as a payment means on the Golem network, and they have no partnerships with exchanges or any plans to market the token as a speculative investment.
Golem’s development and management team is based in Poland. The founder and CEO of Golem is Julian Zawistowski, who was an economics and international politics student at the Warsaw School of Economics, graduating with a Master of Arts degree in the field of economics. In addition to Golem, he was also the founder of a company called Imapp which provided programming and analytics for businesses.
The rest of the team consists of roughly 2 dozen individuals who previously worked with Zawistowski at Imapp. Most of the developers and software engineers are computer science majors from Polish universities. Overall the team is solid, but there are no blockchain rockstars working on the Golem project. They have missed deadlines in the past, but as proven by the main net release of Brass Golem they eventually get the job done.
Remember that the Golem team has no desire to have the GNT used as a speculative investment token. There were claims that the token was overvalued in the past, but after the 2018 selloff in cryptocurrencies that’s really no longer the case.
The GNT should have room to grow from current levels, but with only one use case I wouldn’t expect a huge amount of growth. If the team can add more use cases, or even better create a platform that’s much easier to use than the current Golem network setup we could see huge upside for the token.
Currently it’s simply too technical and complex to get a node up and running and to purchase rendering time. The Golem team needs to make this far easier for non-technical people to gain mass adoption.
With that said, even the rendering market is big, and with additional use cases added the processor usage market is immense. Consider the billions in profits being made by the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft with their cloud businesses. We could see slow steady growth for GNT until a major use case is added or a simple platform is unveiled.
As you might have guessed by the description of the project it’s sweeping in scale, and can be expected to take quite some time to reach a level of fairly widespread adoption in the 3D rendering industry. It could take even longer for Golem to be able to tackle other use cases and industries, but the team has already been working on the project since 2014 and is optimistic for its future development and adoption.
The April release of the Brass Golem beta main net came almost a year later than initially planned, but it has proven to be a solid platform so far. It is specifically for CGI rendering, but the team expects to have a completed product released sometime in 2020, and has also indicated smaller more specific use cases could be added to the platform between now and then.
You can see the masterplan of the team here to get an idea of where the project is headed.
When you think about the potential of a global supercomputer you can see what a cool project Golem is. If you imagine out decades into the future it can begin to seem like science fiction, with all the world’s computers forming an interconnected network capable of processing power we can only dream of today.
Of course Golem is only in its infancy now, but in the coming 4 or 5 years they could conceivably already have millions of computers all contributing processing power to complete massive tasks quickly and seemingly effortlessly.
The downside to Golem right now is the lack of marketing from the development team, and the slow pace at which they seem to be working. Fortunately for them there is no other project that is close to what they’re doing, but the slow pace could end up being their downfall if a strong competitor arises.
In the coming months it would be great to see the team expand from its base in Poland and add some global team members, as well as creating some strong partnerships. It would also be great to see the pace of development increase, but I suppose that’s true for most blockchain projects.
Featured Image via Golem