Ethereum Computing Resource Market SONM Mainnet Launched
Cryptocurrency-powered computing resources marketplace SONM has just launched its mainnet. The service is designed to allow people to rent their unused computing power in exchange for SONM Ethereum tokens. The system can be used for general purpose computing, research, and even cryptocurrency mining. Read on and we go over some of the basics of how this platform works.
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What Is SONM?
SONM is a marketplace of sorts that runs on Ethereum. It is in some ways similar to other competitors like Golem and iExec, but uses a slightly different business model.
The basic idea of the platform is that individuals can set up computers (including regular personal computers and dedicated multi-GPU mining rigs) to accept different kinds of jobs from the network. The type of jobs received will depend on the hardware available in the system. For example, a typical desktop computer with a CPU and not much else would receive jobs that are better suited to CPU processing. Conversely, cryptocurrency mining or 3D rendering jobs would be targeted towards devices with more GPU power.
Instead of having a set price for a given job or job type, the system relies on an open marketplace where those looking to rent computing resources can offer a bid price, and then orders will be processed based on whomever is offering the highest bid. This means that in times where the network is not very busy, users could potentially purchase resources for a much lower price. On the flip side, prices could go up if demand is high.
The SONM target market
According to its official website, SONM is designed to work on any application under the umbrella of “general computing”. This means that almost any sort of task can be processed on the network. The site offers a few suggestions for what it could be used for. They include AI research, graphics rendering, and cryptocurrency mining, just to name a few.
One current limitation to the system is that it currently only supports Linux operating systems for both buyers and sellers. In other words, Windows and Mac computers are left out.
The company divides the two sides of the market into what they call consumers and suppliers. As the mainnet has now launched, both types of market participants can sign up on the site and download the software. As it is Linux-based, however, a fairly high degree of technical skill with the Linux command line interface is required at this time. This is especially true if you want to join as a consumer and create a highly customized job.
Sizing up the competition
SONM is not alone in the field of computer resource renting for cryptocurrency.
Another high-profile competitor, Golem, also launched its own mainnet quite recently. Golem supports Windows systems and has a basic GUI for participants to use. However, Golem is currently only supporting graphics rendering through the open source Blender 3D graphics program. The company intends to expand this to eventually support almost any form of computing, but they are taking a much more cautious approach to this.
Another major competitor is iExec which also runs on Ethereum. It also has it’s own token for processing payments, and recently launched its V2 mainnet in mid-June.
The SONM token
SONM tokens are currently trading for $0.16, which is a significant increase from when they were first listed on coinmarketcap.com for around $0.05. The tokens experienced two price bumps that were largely in line with overall market movements at the time. Since the launch of the mainnet, however, the tokens have so far not seen much movement in any direction.
Currently, the use case for SONM tokens is that it is the means of payment for both renting and providing computing power. According to the registration page, individuals who have GPU mining rigs available could find that using SONM will be preferable and more profitable than just mining alone. This is because the system is constantly shifting and receiving new tasks and payments will always be relatively stable. The company says that their model for renting mining hardware is in many ways similar to NiceHash.
This does prompt the question, though, if the SONM network could be used to weaponize computing resources to perform 51 percent attacks as was seen when the same was done with NiceHash.
It will be interesting to see whether or not SONM will make steps to prevent this, or if they will simply leave the system freely open. What is also yet to be seen is which of the major blockchain-based computing resource providers will end up the top player, or if they will all branch off into their own niche markets at some point in the future.
Do blockchain-based distributed computing networks make sense? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
Images via Pixabay, SONM
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