Five years ago, when my cofounder Greg Osuri and I set out to build Akash Network, we had previously worked as open source developers and experienced first-hand the constraints of centralized cloud service providers.
With accelerating consumer demand for throughput and high DevOps server management costs, exacerbated by an ongoing pandemic that has moved more of our work and lives online, the cloud computing industry is rapidly expanding into a $370+ billion market by 2022.
Dominated by an oligarchy of four cloud service providers (Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Alibaba Cloud) who own over 71% of the market, this market concentration has given way to pricing inefficiency and anti-competitive practices that have resulted in higher cloud costs, and stifled innovation and flexibility.
The growth of DeFi and decentralized projects are limited by high transaction costs, scalability, high censorship and security risks on centralized cloud platforms.
Decentralized cloud platforms have appeared in the market, but have failed to gain traction due to limited use cases, complexity of technical integration and adoption, and a lack of price advantages.
Akash DeCloud, the First Decentralized Cloud Marketplace
With no viable alternative to the centralized cloud providers, Greg and I set out to realize the vision of a permissionless, sovereign, and open cloud where builders would have more freedom and flexibility to create, and to scale.
With advanced containerization technology and a unique staking model to accelerate adoption, Akash DeCloud will be a faster, more efficient, and lower cost cloud built for DeFi, decentralized projects, and high growth companies, providing unprecedented scale, flexibility, and price performance.
Currently 2x-3x lower in cost (up to 10x in the future) than the market, our serverless computing platform is compatible with all cloud providers and all applications that run on the cloud, easily integrating with a company’s existing technology stack.
Mainnet 2 is the materialization of Akash DeCloud, our vision for a decentralized cloud computing marketplace. Mainnet 2 is the culmination of all the invaluable learnings and user feedback from the three phases of The Akashian Challenge testnet we ran throughout 2020.
Mainnet 2 will enable developers and organizations to set up their own provider, deploy their applications on Akash DeCloud, and participate in the cloud computing marketplace - either as a provider or a user deploying their application.
Phase 3 of The Akashian Challenge showcased what is possible to deploy on Mainnet 2, including DeFi apps, blogs, games, databases, data visualizations, block explorers, blockchain nodes and other blockchain network components.
A few examples from the full Awesome Akash list:
DeFi - SushiSwap & UniSwap
Blog - Ghost & Wordpress
Games - DOOM & Super Mario
Databases - mongoDB & MySQL
Data Visualization - UFO Sightings
Block Explorers - Big Dipper & Aneka
Akash DeCloud: Mainnet 2 Developer Experience
Centralized cloud providers can be inflexible, expensive, and susceptible to outages, security concerns, and censorship.
Mainnet 2 provides a Uniswap-style experience to cloud deployments in a cost-efficient, permissionless, censorship-resistant, and non-custodial way.
Tenants (Developers) define workload requirements, as well as regional and pricing parameters, in a manifest file using a declarative language called SDL (inspired by Docker Compose) and request resources from the Network.
From there on, Akash handles the heavy lift of deployment and fault tolerance. Should a provider go down, for example, the hosted application is seamlessly transitioned to another provider, ensuring consistent uptime.
Developers who participated in our testnets found this experience significantly better than their experiences deploying on the centralized cloud. You can check out SDL files for a diverse set of apps launched during The Akashian Challenge Phase 3.
Following are the main features of Mainnet 2:
Decentralized Cloud Compute Marketplace: As the core function of Akash DeCloud, developers and Akash providers will participate in an on-chain auction system where supply and demand for cloud compute is exchanged.
Flexible Bid Pricing: Providers can configure their pricing based on parameters such as CPU count, storage capacity, and endpoints.
IBC Compatibility: Mainnet 2 will be fully compatible with Cosmos SDK v0.41.0, also known as Stargate. Stargate enables functionality for Cosmos SDK-based blockchains, like Akash, to connect with each other using the first ever standardized protocol for Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC).
Deployment Tool: The deployment tool streamlines the developer experience and helps seamlessly launch their applications on Akash.
Audited Attributes: Audited attributes allow users deploying applications to be more selective about which providers can run their apps. Anyone on the Akash blockchain can assign these attributes to Providers via an on-chain transaction.
Tendermint’s State Sync: State sync allows developers to quickly bring up nodes, which is ideal for use cases such as querying the blockchain or using a web wallet.
Stargate and Inter-Blockchain Communication Integration
To gain wider adoption and achieve consumer scale in high growth industries like decentralized finance (DeFi), blockchain-based systems need to solve the scalability problem. The ability to transact quickly across chains will be transformational for the industry.
For crypto and blockchain, where interoperability and composability are essential to continued growth for decentralized sectors like DeFi, Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) is the most promising and production-ready solution.
Mainnet 2 provides full compatibility with Cosmos SDK’s IBC-enabled Stargate upgrade out-of-the-box. The implementation and adoption of IBC within the Cosmos ecosystem will enable more projects to exchange value across the Cosmos Hub, and participate in Akash’s decentralized marketplace.
With IBC, Akash reduces the barrier to adoption by allowing other currencies to access and transact within the cloud compute marketplace.
Additionally, Akash Network’s partnership with ICF, and our integral contribution to the development of IBC Relayer will enable us to adopt and benefit from interchain technologies faster than any other company.
Mainnet 2, Progression of Akash DeCloud
Mainnet 2 progresses Akash’s vision for DeCloud in multiple ways. First, it empowers developers to break free from the limitations of traditional cloud infrastructure and launch their applications on a secure, cost-efficient, and censorship resistant decentralized cloud computing platform.
Additionally, Mainnet 2 enables individuals and organizations with underutilized computing capacity to monetize and lease their compute to those who need it, recouping costs such as maintenance, capital expenditure, and other expenses.
Akash DeCloud: Mainnet 2 Launch Timeline
The exact date of the Mainnet 2 launch is dependent on multiple factors.
The Cosmos Hub’s upgrade to Stargate needs to be complete–at the time of this article, the proposal is still in the voting period stage. Once the Cosmos Hub has successfully upgraded, this will signal finalization of the Stargate software, and Akash’s implementation will function as intended.
Akash’s validator community is currently testing to simulate the network upgrade and identify potential issues with the upgrade path and integrations.
There is an active governance proposal to signal overall approval and preparedness for the upgrade to Mainnet 2. Details of the proposal can be found here. The result of this proposal will be known February 17th, 2021.
Once the proposal passes, a subsequent proposal will be created and will include the exact date and software version of the upgrade. On the secondary proposal passing, the Mainnet 2 upgrade will occur on the specified date.
If testing is deemed successful and the initial signaling proposal passes, the earliest date the secondary upgrade proposal can pass will be March 3rd, 2021.
Stay tuned for more information on our launch of Mainnet 2.
For the latest Akash, AKT, and Mainnet 2 news and promotions, join our Telegram!