Ever since blockchain technology made its big splash in 2017, platforms in every industry have appeared as potential disruptive solutions to age-old problems.
The first industry targeted by the innovation was the world of finance. With the rise of cryptocurrencies, it became blindingly apparent that the most obvious use case would be to replace centralized entities like banks with decentralized currencies—like Bitcoin, for example.
And while that statement in itself prompted harsh criticism from industry veterans and Wall Street loyalists, 2018 started with a slew of announcements that big banks were starting to get in on the action.
In short: banks see they are in the process of being disrupted, and would rather be part of the disruption than be forgotten in the aftermath.
Even though use cases in the financial world were the first to catch real mainstream attention, blockchain technology is poised to solve pain points in industries ranging from food sourcing and tracking, to freight and logistics, to big pharma and beyond. And one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, cloud computing, is ripe for blockchain innovation.
According to a 2018 report by Forrester on cloud computing, the global cloud market will reach $178 billion this year—and will continue to grow at an alarming 22 percent annually. More importantly, of that $178 billion, only three companies are responsible for capturing nearly 76% of all cloud platform revenue: AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
That, right there, is the definition of centralization.
For all blockchain enthusiasts, it’s scenarios like these that demand disruption. When an entire industry is owned by a small minority, prices remain fixed and competition stays far from the masses. And since cloud computing isn’t going anywhere soon, this is an industry full of opportunity—and one blockchain-based platform is looking to be that disruptive force.
Akash, a platform based out of California, is a network that connects providers with idle computing power and users looking to deploy workloads to the cloud. Essentially, every data center and large-scale provider sits on an astounding amount of unused computing power. As it stands, that power is the definition of an opportunity cost.
These companies can’t ditch their idle computing power because they need to ensure they can meet the needs of their customers, but they also don’t have a great way of turning these assets into revenue streams.
At the same time, smaller providers and companies with idle computing power can’t realistically compete with the Google Clouds of the world. And as these companies continue to grow, the competition gap will only continue to widen.
What Akash wants to solve for is the demand users have for cloud computing, while evening the playing field for all providers. On the Akash network, providers can “rent” their idle computing power to users in exchange for tokens, and users can deploy their workloads to the cloud—instead of having to pay premiums with “the big three.”
In essence, instead of operating in a centralized economy, providers and users will be able to work directly with one another. As a result, the cost for cloud computing will become dependent upon the ecosystem’s supply and demand.
But this isn’t only applicable to massive data centers. Smaller, independent providers can rent out their computing power too. And what this really speaks to is the rise of more and more “shared economies,” where any asset (in its entirety, or a portion of it) can be rented out. We saw this with Uber and cars, Airbnb and homes, and now blockchain technology wants to bring that same mode of thinking to the cloud.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.