Cloud computing is a highly centralized industry. Amazon web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are the few players controlling the industry.
Fluence is revolutionizing computing by empowering blockchain applications to move away the power from centralized cloud computing towards peer-to-peer computing which is both flexible and fast.
It is an open application platform and provides a decentralized computing network.
“Fluence provides an open-source, permissionless, decentralized platform and a development toolkit for building, hosting, and running peer-to-peer applications and protocols”Fluence
Why is there a need for Fluence?
Free and Open-Source is not getting its due
Free and Open-Source Software has been making projects stable and secure for years. It provides the building blocks for most modern commercial products. Makes it easier to build new products. Thanks to the developer community across the world contributing.
Companies use open source to better their proprietary applications and integrate newer features. But the open-source was meant to be beneficial for all. This enhancement is restricted within the closed boundaries. The open-source community doesn’t get back in return what they deserve.
The users are locked in the proprietary tools. This also allows the large providers to become powerful and ensures this does not allow anyone to build competing products.
This also leads to a higher disparity in the type of offerings available. And it becomes harder to create competing products.
There is a problem with the power being restricted with few players. They stifle innovation. They are also prone to failure and risks of attacks like data leaks. The consequences are significant for any such failures. The Internet which was supposed to be free is not free in the true sense.
Unlike the existing business models of corporate giants, Fluence helps the author become the owner as well.
Authors get the incentives whenever their product or anything built on top of their product is used. This remuneration helps in creating even better and more innovative products. Now the part-time open source contributors can work for full-time development.
They can earn money whenever their software is used. Developers who are looking to monetize their open-source work can deploy their tools: databases, and micro-services required for modern applications.
This is a new business model in the software industry worthy of disruption.
And this new model is due to the economics of crypto and blockchain innovation. Crypto is disrupting money by making it sovereign, open, interoperable, and transparent.
The network-wide licensing system maintains a global tangle of application dependencies, access rights, and pricing. Nodes enforce licensing rules while serving applications and revenue flows directly to authors and nodes.
An open system inspires innovation and also creates value for the creators. It drives creativity and innovation.
Developers of all the applications can reuse the components without worrying about any form of censorship or the component getting discontinued in the future. Collaborate freely and build the future.
Currently, the cloud platforms are restricted to a few corporate giants who used open source to build their product but did not let the users enjoy the benefits which come with open source. Instead, they trapped users in proprietary ecosystems.
There are tons of issues with web2.
Issues such as frequent technical outages, centralized infrastructure create bottlenecks. Centralized infrastructure is also prone to failure.
There is a big concern about de-platforming as well. This is not just for the users who have been banned from platforms like Twitter, but this is also important for software developers. Suppose you’re a software developer and you are building on top of some platform’s API. If the platform decides to cut off the API, then your business is threatened. So it’s not reliable to build a business on top of such platforms because they may restrict access for you at any moment. You are at the mercy of someone else.
There are issues with web3 as well
In web3, there are a few big companies that are trying to build a closed ecosystem around them. Even though they’re powered by smart contracts that sit on-chain, the tools still include a lot of code that sits off-chain. For example, when an NFT marketplace creates APIs that have their backends in the AWS or other cloud providers, it puts them into the same basket of web2 businesses.
Now if anyone wants to build on top of their API, there is a risk of being cut off in the future.
What can be done?
The only way to be safe is to build on top of blockchain data directly. But that’s very hard. And that’s why all these businesses exist.
So most web3 businesses are web2 businesses which have web3 data sitting on the blockchain.
This is where Fluence helps.
The main advantage is that the applications built are not dependent on any particular server and can switch between multiple servers without any hassle.
They can also avoid servers completely or be hosted locally.
This makes the integration and sharing of data easy. Makes it faster to ship newer features of the products.
It also means it starts being feasible for collective bug fixing and building working products on top of other working products. Because access can not be disabled, such products can leverage data and users to produce new features faster and build greater user experiences.
Fluence is an alternative to proprietary platforms. As an open alternative, it makes the applications free from platforms.
It provides a wide range of components to the applications. This enables them to be not dependent on proprietary platforms like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
Importance of off-chain compute in the web3 ecosystem
The way how a blockchain works is that they have a network of nodes that have the same database, the same ledger of transactions. Each of the nodes replicates this ledger and has a consensus among them on the validity of the data.
This works for DeFi, but when it comes to decentralized computing the consensus mechanism is limited and expensive.
So when most of the developers who are building smart contracts deploy their applications, they still need to add the off-chain part. This is to make their applications easier, faster and inexpensive to use.
This is where P2P computing can help. Computing is something that can be complementary to on-chain data. It doesn’t require any intermediaries for data or computations, but it is still verifiable.
You can think of it as a centralized API’s being converted into peer-to-peer protocols that live off-chain. And where nodes can replace each other so that you have a marketplace of nodes competing to serve the protocol instead of centralized companies running API.
Advantages of Fluence
Blockchain is robust storing and transacting digital assets.
However, the Blockchain in the current state needs you to choose between speed or decentralization keeping the security intact. This is known as the blockchain trilemma.
The web 3 apps use blockchain only as a financial backend. They depend on centralized cloud servers for user-related data and APIs.
Fluence helps such applications achieve their full potential
Fluence network serves as an off-chain decentralized cloud, providing the foundation for backends, API, or p2p protocols.
It is a non-blockchain-based decentralized computing model, so the apps don’t have to rely on centralized clouds.
Anything can be built be it DeFi, DAO, NFT, bridges, oracles, or exchanges without the need for a middleman.
If these above move their off-chain components onto Fluence, they get many benefits.
- Permissionless Protocol – Anyone can build without anyone’s permission and can leverage existing services to build faster and provide a better user experience.
- Composability – Any external data source, API, or another decentralized protocol can be used into the applications on Fluence. This enables fluence as a decentralized computing layer on top of other web 3 protocols
- No single point of failure – Unlike the web2 counterparts Fluence is decentralized. Hence doesn’t have a single point of failure.
- No censorship – Another advantage of decentralization is there is no censorship
- No vendor lock-in – The composability makes Fluence powerful. They want to give back to the contributors and not lock the customers into their offerings.
How does Fluence work?
Fluence protocol uses a computation trust model which doesn’t sacrifice speed or decentralization.
As opposed to blockchains where all nodes replicate all data, Fluence nodes do it only for related data of any application. The developer has the flexibility to decide on the choice of nodes and replication or verification models.
Aqua and Marine are the saviors
Aqua, The programming language to develop apps, takes care of the complexities so that developers can focus on the main task at hand.
Marine is a fast and lightweight runtime. It is a universal runtime. Across the network for the lego pieces of apps
The advantages of Fluence make it easy for the developers to build multiple things.
- Peer to Peer Applications – Developers can deliver a wide variety of use cases such as From simple functions executable in the Fluence p2p network to application-specific p2p protocols. Major examples are Messengers, Social networks, Audio and video calls, Streaming
- Decentralized protocols such as Messaging protocols, Consensus engines, Decentralized governance, File sharing, Multi-party computation, Blockchain oracles
- Community-run applications such as DAO-managed applications, Social media platforms
- Computations on decentralized data such as Decentralized apps, Mutable/dynamic NFTs
- Cloud-native computing such as Distributed microservice orchestration, Distributed SaaS, Serverless
- Blockchain infrastructure such as Cryptocurrency exchanges, Wallets
- DAO tools, Cross-chain tools
The closest competitor for Fluence will be AWS Lambda. But Fluence adds the strengths of web3 to its offerings. Most importantly the developers are incentivized for their work.
Aleph.im is a web3 competitor for Fluence. But the cost is prohibitive for running a node.
Fluence enables any application to have its backend as a p2p protocol. Allows adding its own rules for data management, load balancing, and any p2p protocol plugs into external data layers coming from decentralized storage, databases, or blockchains.
Fluence is enabling a permissionless ecosystem. Apps can be easily built just like the composability of smart contracts.