It may seem cliche to talk about a green internet. However, in truth, the use of decentralized technologies may be the best method to get a green internet with all the ease of use and security possible.
ThreeFold a new green internet systems company aims to do this with web 3 technologies. We reached out to Kristof de Spiegeleer Co-Founder at ThreeFold for more details. Here is what he had to say.
Kristof de Spiegeleer Co-Founder at ThreeFold
Please, can you tell us more about the concept behind ThreeFold?
The concept behind ThreeFold is straightforward. In its nascency, the Internet was a neutral infrastructure where anybody could connect and create. Anyone could just connect some hardware and start developing on their infrastructure and share it with the whole world in one go. With time, robust platforms and applications began to emerge, connecting millions to the Internet. The advertising business model emerged very quickly and took over the web to offer a “free” experience to users.
While this was incredible for everyone, most of us didn’t realize that we were being turned into products of a more extensive system. All free platforms and applications collect our data and use it for targeted advertising. And it doesn’t stop there. Suppose you watched the Social Dilemma, which explains the elephant in the room very well. While most of us are already aware of it, things are getting worse every year. At ThreeFold, we decided to act upon it. So we create a new Internet infrastructure from scratch, and our technology provides an alternative path for humanity – a peer-to-peer internet owned by all of us and where we hold our data. With ThreeFold, we switch the current system on its head and put people back in control.
How will decentralization bring about a greener planet?
The real problem with the current infrastructure is that it is super centralized. Eighty percent of the infrastructure today is based in the U.S, Europe, and China. By building hyper-scale data centers, we’re forcing data to travel long distances and back. This is inefficient. So if you’re in Greece, for example, and you’re sending a message to your neighbor on Whatsapp, data is traveling to Facebook’s data centers in the U.S and back. And data gets stamped and stored around four times.
In ThreeFold’s peer-to-peer model, the message would go directly to your friend, and if you would like to store it, you would agree on the location of your choice -probably closer to you for better download speeds. Instead of traveling across the world, data remains local – that’s a game-changer! Also, on ThreeFold, data is stored only once, and by doing so, we also save 4x energy on storage. And these are just two examples of how we can save energy, and there are many more technological tricks we apply for us to offer the most sustainable Internet infrastructure in the world.
Please, can you tell us more about ThreeFold farming?
Farming is a decentralized revenue model for people and organizations that provide Internet capacity to the ThreeFold Grid. It is our sustainable alternative to blockchain mining. By booting any AMD or Intel chip hardware with Zero-OS – our open-source operating system, anyone can connect Internet capacity to the ThreeFold Grid.
The validation of the capacity is calculated by ThreeFold’s unique algorithm called Proof-of-Capacity (PoC), which is 10,000 times more sustainable than PoW(Proof of work) & 10 times more than PoS (Proof of stake). Once detect and stored in ThreeFold’s blockchain database, the capacity is made available on the ThreeFold Grid for developers, enterprises, and users to use it. Every month, Farmers earn TFT (ThreeFold tokens)- the official medium of exchange for Internet capacity on the ThreeFold Grid.
What is a “Stateless operating system”?
A stateless OS cannot access the state of the hardware which stores the data. We designed Zero-OS without shell, local or remote, making it impossible for anyone to access data on a hardware level. This is a significant breakthrough in IT as we can now provide an optimal level of security and minimal hacking surface on a hardware level.
Also, Files are deduped and fingerprinted, meaning that data duplication is eliminated. Files and data are split into shards and stored on different databases run on Zero-OS, making it impossible to reconstruct the data without a private key. Any software can run on Zero-OS, from your favorite video memories to large-scale enterprise-grade solutions.
The beauty of Zero-OS is that it doesn’t need to be ‘installed’; it simply needs to be ‘booted.’ So even if a node goes down, it will just reboot itself. Human intervention is not required. The system does all the heavy lifting. This is a real game-changer for the decentralization movements.
How do intelligent contracts enable a Greener internet?
I’m not sure that intelligent contracts by themselves enable a greener Internet, but by being part of an actual decentralized model, I guess you’re pointing towards the elimination of intermediaries. So to come back to the previous example, today, our data travels through service providers and third parties that are intermediaries between us and our digital experiences.
They do the hardware provisioning and store our data on our behalf. With ThreeFold’s Smart Contract for IT, all these intermediaries are eliminated from the model and permit anyone to provide Internet capacity and use that capacity directly in a full end-to-end process. By removing these intermediaries, we remove the need for much software and bandwidth from the system and enable everyone to go now to the source of what they need.
Please, can you tell us more about the Threefold Token?
The ThreeFold Token (TFT) is the official currency of ThreeFold and creates an entirely new Internet and Cloud economy owned by all of us, making the traditional cloud model of building data centers obsolete.
TFT is used to reserve Internet capacity on ThreeFold to store our favorite pictures and videos, develop applications or even run consensus blockchains. In a way,a complete ThreeFold is a foundation for a peer-to-peer Internet, and TFT is the currency for humanity to exchange Internet resources without any intermediaries. With TFT, we can all directly reserve storage and compute via intelligent contract, and we call all connected hardware to the ThreeFold Grid and earn TFT monthly as an income.
Can you give us the Tokenomics behind the Threefold token?
TFT is created only when a new capacity is added to the ThreeFold Grid. A maximum supply of 4 Billion TFT has been set to ensure scarcity in the peer-to-peer Internet economy. Farmers, people, and organizations that connect Internet capacity earn TFT monthly for the ability they provide. We call this Proof-of-Capacity.
To use that same capacity, users need to pay Farmers with TFT. We call that process Proof-of-Utilization. When power is utilized, the fee gets split between the Farmers, the sales channels (the ones selling the power), and the ThreeFold Foundation. A portion of the TFT is burnt to ensure the continuum of Farming and maintain a scarce token economy to incentivize all actors positively across time.
Please, can you tell us more about the ThreeFold Kube cloud?
ThreeFold’s Kubernetes Cloud is a bit like a Dfinity that works. It is tough to code applications on today’s decentralized compute offerings. For example, with a project like Dfinity, you need to code either in Rust or learn their Motoko protocol. Our philosophy at ThreeFold is to keep things as simple as we can. So we decided to integrate the already most used tools and protocols such as Kubernetes, Docker to provide developers with the best industry standards and a truly decentralized infrastructure. We also added Helm Charts to facilitate the automation of container deployments and operations.
ThreeFold’s Kubernetes Cloud allows any developer to deploy containers anywhere across the ThreeFold Grid in a few clicks. It is packed with automation possibilities and provides developers and enterprises with self-healing and self-driving capabilities.
So in a way, it provides all industry-standard favorites and expectations while offering true data sovereignty and ownership. This means that you decide where you want to run your containers. And it can scale limitlessly. So if you’re going to run your containers locally or on the other side of the world, the choice is now yours!
How will peer-to-peer technology enable the energy efficiency of cloud computing operations?
As I said earlier, by applying peer-to-peer technology, we remove all forms of intermediaries from the system. This permitted us to remove a lot of complexity from today’s infrastructure model. To make it simple for all users, we automated most of the ThreeFold technology for a self-healing and self-driving architecture. By removing all intermediaries, eliminating the complexity from the model, and automating the infrastructure for anyone to store and run data and applications from anywhere across the globe, we can save up to 90% energy as compared to the cloud model and up to 1000% as compared to most blockchain solutions.
This is possible because on our system if you store data, it is held only once. Instead of duplicating it on different servers, we split the data into pieces and store them onto other nodes. Only 80% of the data pieces are needed to reconstruct the whole object file. By doing so, we achieve 4x energy savings as compared to the current system. Also, by pushing fewer data at one go on the hard disks, we can run them at a lower speed, allowing for another 2x energy savings. Also, the system defines the shortest path for data to travel end-to-end by using peer-to-peer networking solutions. We can save much energy and reduce bandwidth dependency significantly.
With our end-user solution coming soon, we will host 20 digital lives with the energy of a lightbulb. Stay tuned!
Does ThreeFold have its own distributed ledger? Do you have any plans for building your distributed ledger in the future? Please, can you tell us the reasons for your answer?
Yes, we have our own distributed ledger, and it’s called Rivine, and it was one of the first proof-of-blockstake blockchains in the world. We are now working on two new versions, which run on Parity Substrate and Cosmos Tendermint. We are doing both to see how it evolves and will choose the best version of both. On this ledger, we will store the TFT transactions, a bill for the Smart Contracts, and register the capacity provided by the nodes.
We are also using a new coding language called V-Lang to code this new ledger, which can be defined as a mix of Go and Rust, but much easier to use and more efficient. This language will be the native language for the blockchain constructs we are creating. So there, we will use Cosmos Tendermint as an engine, our storage layer integrated with Tendermi, ensuring that data is stored never to be. They lost, and our Smart Contract for IT using V-Lano deploy the nodes. The whole solution is well set to be the most efficient and sustainable distributed ledger in the world.
Please, can you tell us more about the ThreeFold marketplace?
The ThreeFold Marketplace is a plug-in on top of our Kubernetes Cloud and offers a wide range of peer-to-peer applications and tools ready to be deployed. It provides an easy way for developers and communities to deploy secure and private solutions without any technical knowledge. From web publishing to chat and a peer-to-peer YouTube alternative, you will find all you need to start your peer-to-peer journey there.
How exactly will a peer-to-peer marketplace for apps and D’Apps generate profit for all the participants in the ecosystem?
Most of the Peer-to-Peer applications available today were created from open-source code, making it accessible, ensuring for the user to deploy, and they only have to pay for the capacity used to run the applications. Dapps will earn from the usage of their application but can also add a cost to download. However, ThreeFold incentivizes all applications and experiences to be free and make TFT according to the utilization of the Dapp. There are no more intermediaries by being fully peer-to-peer, so what you pay for is literally the cost to run the system and remuneration for the ecosystem participants such as Dapp developers, farmers, and sales channels.
How do global decentralized virtual private networks (VPN) work?
We have a peer-to-peer VPN that automatically reroutes traffic and finds the shortest path within the systems. It allows anyone to connect in the world, both from mobile and desktop. The way it works is simple. With ThreeFold’s Peer-to-Peer network, which operates as a mesh network, the shortest path means a direct trustline between the participants, using Zetako’s encryption technology (the most advanced encryption we found), which enables us to block incoming connections from the outside.
The peer-to-peer network is a bit like an overlay network that can communicate with the current internet, but only when needed. A network wall blocks all incoming traffic from the current internet to provide the most private experience ever built.
How will third-party data center operators react and respond to the existence of green autonomous data centers?
Well, we like to say that we are all for collaboration, not competition. While our technology holds the promise to eliminate the need for data centers, it would not be sustainable to shut them down as we should use these data centers until the end of their lifetime. Instead, we could boot these data centers with Zero-OS and have them join the ThreeFold movement to add more security and efficiency to their actual business model. In the end, the ThreeFold Grid is owned by all of us!
Please, can you tell us more about Digital Twin?
Of course. Digital Twin is kind of the solution to the social dilemma. It represents a digital avatar that will give you the key to your entire digital life. With only one profile (as to why would you need so many usernames on the internet today? To us, it doesn’t make any sense), you’ll be able to access a chat, video conferencing tool, a file manager, office tools, web publishing tools, social media and networking, a multi-currency wallet and all you can expect from the application realm.
Digital Twin is a bit like a portal to a new digital world where you own your data and no one else. Everything will be fully peer-to-peer. There won’t be any marketing, intermediaries, or censorship. It will represent a digital world where everyone is free from tracking and where we can all finally be free to exchange information and value in complete privacy.
What are your thoughts on the explosion of the decentralized finance (Defi) space?
We believe that DeFi must happen as the world needs a more decentralized and resilient approach to the current financial system. It is so much better than centralized order books. We see an enormous potential there, but it remains relatively limited today. ThreeFold can host DeFi platforms and offer them more security, resilience, and most importantly, a truly decentralized infrastructure. We find it weird that specific DeFi projects are still hosted on AWS.
At ThreeFold, we are doing everything to have TFT also present on the world’s favorite DeFi platforms to enable a truly decentralized approach to the peer-to-peer Internet economy we are creating.
What are the kinds of opportunities that a decentralized internet can create for everyone?
There are so many benefits to talk about, but here are a few.
First, imagine if we all together owned the current Internet economy, which is worth + 300 Billion dollars. Also, each one of us is worth between $1000-20,000 a year to the current cloud market. What if we owned our information and the value attributed to it? I’ll let you think about that one.
Secondly, the security and privacy of the ThreeFold Grid will be way beyond current market standards and will offer all users true data sovereignty and ownership. This means people won’t be turned into products anymore; instead, they are empowered to be autonomous and value their data.
Thirdly, it is way more sustainable than other alternatives, and in times of climate change, I think we don’t even have the choice, to be honest. Today the Internet consumes between 10-20% of global energy resources. With ThreeFold, we can cut that by 10x.
A decentralized internet is also way more affordable! We will provide a whole-blown digital life for just a few dollars per person per month with our end-user solutions. This more affordable infrastructure and solutions will enable us to connect the unconnected and empower emerging economics to join the global digital economy. Note that today 40% of the worldwide population remains connected.
Do you have any secrets you’d like to tell us? Care to spill the beans?
We don’t have any secrets. We are just many dreamers who believe that a world where people are empowered to be the best version of themselves is possible over a world where people are exploited and turned into products.
We design everything we do around simplicity, sustainability, and equality to provide the best performance while making sure it empowers people positively and has a minimal footprint over our planet. What differentiates us from the crowd is that we build on so much experience; we understand where the current systems went wrong as we participated in building them. And before it’s too late, we want to provide the foundation for a better world for everyone.
If you had three wishes and a genie that could make them come true, what would they be for ThreeFold?
To gift the whole world with free education, everyone deserves equal chances to learn, partake, and succeed.
I’d wish that everyone wakes up to climate change and take action in every possible way to provide our children with the life they deserve – playing around in nature, not in malls.
For people to realise how they were turned into products of a system, with projects like ThreeFold, they could take back the control of their own lives.