Blockchain technology is gaining widespread attention for its distributed ledger capabilities, but Greg Osuri believes we’ve just scratched the surface. Osuri is the founder and CEO of the Akash Network, a “supercloud” that applies blockchain principles to distributed computing. With this network, Osuri hopes to bring about a more accessible and efficient internet where developers are freed from server limitations.
In this episode of OK Let’s Chat, Alex sat down with Osuri to discuss his work on this innovative token project.
You can listen to our entire conversation above, but here are a few highlights:
What happens when the next Gangam Style arrives?
For all the benefits of the internet, consumers and businesses are often at the mercy of bandwidth. All major websites from Facebook to YouTube structure their platforms based on projected demand. If everyone is watching videos at a peak time, that’s when providers must pay for bandwidth to support them. The problem is that viral content disrupts this entire dynamic — and it’s something decentralized computing can solve.
“YouTube is a great example,” Osuri said. “[Let’s say] I have a service like YouTube that serves videos … What happens when you have a Gangnam Style? Gangnam Style alone costs you over $200 million in bandwidth costs. So one viral video. In a world where you have virality — it drives adoption or any sort of like, sense of distribution — you suddenly want elasticity. You want to be able to scale on demand.”
The ability to scale on demand is crucial for online businesses and drives today’s interest in cloud technology. It allows web-based platforms to enhance their bandwidth efficiency and accessibility — the first of which reduces cost, the latter of which maximizes revenue. “That is very attractive to a lot of companies,” Osuri continued. “[It] created a humongous market, about $209 billion in two years.”
The challenge is that cloud platforms tend to centralize the internet on data centers controlled by a small number of companies. Akash aims to change that dynamic with a decentralized network that is powered by the cloud itself. “By decentralizing … the competitive mode for anyone to become a pipe provider, we create an economic model that addresses pain points to a level that is extremely desirable.”
The three primary considerations for any distributed ledger
Akash certainly isn’t the only token project on the market, but it is one of the few with a specific use case. That detail helps it thrive in an environment where many ICOs fall to the wayside. During our discussion, Osuri shared his thoughts on what makes for a unique and successful blockchain.
“When you look at a distributed ledger, we really look at three areas,” Osuri explained. “Technical: Is it a technically feasible solution to have a distributed shared state? Essentially, can we create decent first control planes on a shared state blockchain?
“Number two is political, in a sense: If we are creating marketplaces, are we at the same mercy that our predecessors were at, [where] you have essentially organizations in commodities market places?
“And economical: Is it going to be a sustainable model, a self-sustaining model for these ecosystems that we create? Essentially marketplaces to operate independently without requiring the managerial efforts of the [keyholder] … So for me, it’s either economical, technological, or political, right? So you have to have those sort of like, three reasons why you want to do a blockchain for industry.”
Strategic partnerships with most enterprises lack authenticity
Akash is unique for its approach to distributed computing, but what’s more surprising is the way it handles strategic alliances. During our discussion, Osuri shared his concern that traditional enterprise connections aren’t authentic, prompting him to emphasize informal but genuine relationships.
“If you do a strategic partnership, it has to be more real and more authentic,” Osuri said. “So we don’t really have paper contracts, we just have amazing people contributing code to our software, and using it, and talking about it on Twitter. When people ask me [to name] my favorite strategic partnerships, I take them to the wall of love we have on Twitter and see what people are saying. And that puts us in a very beautiful, unique position. All capitalization is user-supported. Our users are our investors.”
Akash’s take on strategic partnerships wasn’t defined on a whim but as a part of Osuri’s open-source philosophy. In his mind, blockchain and cryptocurrency projects don’t need to be determined by corporate agreements.
“I mean if you have to seek someone’s permission to do business … that is not a business I want to be in,” he continued. “I do not want someone’s permission, a partnership or signature, in a permissionless world. You don’t need someone’s permission to get bitcoin, to transact in bitcoin. Why would you need someone’s permission to do, you know, business? In decentralized [markets] it’s the whole point. So I think the whole enterprise partnership route is just not honest … So, yeah, let our users speak, and our actions speak for itself.”
We’d like to thank Greg for taking the time to speak with us! Be sure to subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
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