An Introduction to the Sukhavati Protocol
October 26, 2021
Patrick Russell, Co-Founder and COO
Like many in crypto today, Bitcoin was my “gateway drug” to Web3. Many motives pushed me into Bitcoin — curiosity, FOMO, fears about hyper-inflation, Bitcoin’s rigid monetary policy. But it was Bitcoin’s solution to the Byzantine Generals Problem that opened my eyes to the possibilities of Web3, pushing me beyond just liking crypto for “sound money” reasons, and instead seeing crypto as a watershed moment in human history, with the seeds of the greatest [digital] network ever imagined launching quietly among ordinary people, but soon to engulf all of human civilization.
It feels like a century has passed between the date of publication for Satoshi’s whitepaper and today, given how fast-paced crypto is, but across the hundreds of crypto projects I have seen and studied, and I see Satoshi’s legacy — Nakamoto Consensus — alive and well, driving teams to not just bring awesome products to market, but to ensure first and foremost that the underlying protocol builds community, remains secure, and promotes trustlessness.
However, Nakamoto Consensus is primarily judged based on the basis of software, or code. To a large degree, the crypto community and most development teams — from DeFi protocols to recent NFT launches — have ignored the hardware aspects of being a trustless, P2P, and secure network.
To simplify this as much as possible, let’s turn back to the ole’ Byzantine Generals Problem. All blockchain protocols attempt to ensure trustless consensus among disparate actors (while simultaneously trying to solve Buterin’s famous Scalability Trilemma). But any solution to that riddle already makes an incredibly important, but almost always unacknowledged, assumption: the Generals live in a stable, predictable world. No dragons will fly in out of nowhere and bite their heads off. The ground will not disappear from beneath their feet. Oxygen is in the air so they can breathe.
Web3 is not just software. Web 3 is hardware. Some say that Web3 must also address political headwinds, but I am of the opinion that, with just software and hardware, politics will be no match for Web3. But the Web3, crypto, and blockchain communities have to a large extent not discussed the precarious world within which protocol software is being housed, and let’s admit the obvious: it is an incredibly centralized world largely controlled by a few behemoths — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Alibaba Cloud, and Google Cloud.
You might be surprised by just how wedded crypto has become to the “Big 3” cloud companies. AWS is so enmeshed in crypto that they have a webpage advertising their cloud services specifically tailored to hosting an Ethereum node. So does Google. Think NFTs are avant-garde and grunge and nowhere near Web2’s radar? AWS has a webpage on hosting NFT metadata as well. Google inked a deal with Dapper Labs to power Flow’s entire storage needs for NFTs, games, and apps. Up to 60% of Ethereum’s nodes have been said to live on centralized cloud servicer providers.
Is this the world Web3 wants? Big banks are bad, but big cloud companies are good?
The Sukhavati team does not think so. Just as a protocol network must be trustless and secure and decentralized, so too must the cloud network that powers that network be even more trustless and secure and decentralized. The cloud need not be controlled by three dominant Web2 giants; the cloud could literally be dispersed among millions of computers scattered not just around the globe, but ultimately and one day, throughout space as humans become an interplanetary species.
We believe that decentralized cloud storage and compute power are not only better from a Nakamoto Consensus perspective, but also from a cost and user-experience perspective. Web2.0 cloud storage is capital-intensive and –inefficient, with each data center costing $100M to $200M to construct and millions of dollars annually to operate. In theory, P2P distributed cloud storage can bootstrap existing, excess storage already idling in the world, theoretically even down to a humble NAS in someone’s living room. And regarding performance, Web2.0 cloud storage providers will always face latency headwinds, given how few and far between their data centers are. In theory, a decentralized cloud storage protocol, with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Nodes, will facilitate edge-computing and drive latency down to near zero.
In the coming months, our team intends to share with you more insights into why we think decentralized storage is so important to the web3 vision, the possible use cases, how we are intentionally growing our community and forming strategic partnerships, and how Sukhavati differentiates itself from the other active storage protocols, like Filecoin and Arweave. Soon you’ll hear directly from Sukhavati Labs’ CEO, Mindaugas Savickas, as well as our CTO, Rami Akeela. We’ve had our heads down over the last year, working hard to prepare Sukhavati for our next phase — the launch of our public beta testnet. Once that launches, we’ll also release mining wikis in multiple languages in order to help our network become as global and distributed as possible, just as our own team is.
In the meantime, stay in touch with us. Follow us on Twitter. Join our Telegram. Read our whitepaper, and keep your eyes peeled for the Econ whitepaper. We’re excited to help do our small part to bring about the Web3 vision; join us and lend a hand by simply being an active community member!
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