Built on Ethereum: Decentralized Cloud Computing Projects

Delton Rhodes
Published in
9 min readMar 27, 2019


At Ethex.market, we are interested in innovative projects built on Ethereum that have the potential to disrupt various industries. Here is an overview of four Ethereum-based projects that are changing the field of cloud computing. They all have a few common characteristics. For example, they have already made significant progress at developing working market solutions and have successfully launched on the Ethereum mainnet. Moreover, each is actively working on improving their existing infrastructures as well as launching new and innovative applications.

iExec (RLC)

Founded: April 2017

Funds Raised: ~$12,000,000

Market Thesis: Many organizations have on-premises or cloud-based computing resources that are not in permanent use. At the same time, other organizations have short-term requirements for computing power. iExec’s vision is to bring the two sides together and create a cloud-based marketplace for executing computations. The iExec team is creating a new ecosystem of companies offering storage, computer farms, data providers, web hosting, and SaaS applications through a mature, solid, and open-source Desktop Grid software as well its Proof-of-Contribution (PoCo) protocol.

Mainnet Launch Date: On December 21, 2017, for the first time, an actual RLC token was used to trigger an off-chain computation for the FIGlet application.

Live Applications: iExec Marketplace, iExec DappStore, iExec SDK

In October 2018, we wrote a full article about trying out the iExec SDK. Check it out here.

Major Partnerships

Alibaba: Alibaba Cloud provides Encrypted Computing, powered by Intel® SGX, to support the iExec Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) solution. This iExec TEE solution provides end-to-end protection of data for blockchain-based computing. On the Marketplace, iExec has deployed multiple ‘worker pools’, giving requesters of computation the choice on which machines power their applications and services. The iExec Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) solution can be run on the Alibaba Cloud trusted worker pool.

Intel: In May 2018 at Consensus, iExec presented alongside Intel to demonstrate how its proof-of-concept Intel® SGX enclaves can ensure that, although the applications were running on decentralized nodes, sensitive data can’t be inspected or altered with by malicious attackers on the network.

IBM: Thanks to a partnership with IBM, iExec provides a high degree of security and privacy to the enterprises running code on its cloud and can provide a zero-trust architecture. Empowered by the unique IBM Cloud approach to cloud security, iExec is extending the value of cloud by helping enterprises run even their most sensitive workloads on shared hardware at much lower risk. An IBM workerpool has been made available on the iExec network.

iExec V3 is scheduled to launch in May 2019.

Notable Development Projects

Data Wallet will allow data providers to monetize their datasets on the marketplace with the highest level of security. This new paradigm, which will be implemented in iExec V3 (release in May 2019), fuels disruptive ecosystems and offers companies new and innovative business models.

iExec End-to-End Trusted Execution with Intel SGX: Intends to be used as an industry reference to enhance the overall security of decentralized cloud computing. This new Intel® SGX solution, combined with blockchain, allows for an unmatched level of trust for dApps and execution/data processing on decentralized nodes.

Open Decentralized Brokering: 0x-like protocol that aims to address marketplace scalability challenges and reduce gas consumption. In the future, it will include more complex order book management (i.e. OTC, discounts, subscriptions, etc.).

Domain Specific Sidechain (DSS): Stores information needed to establish consensus on a sidechain with PoA. It bridges mainchain/sidechain with Parity bridge. Later, DSS will include a Parity substrate + Polkadot relay.

Golem (GNT)

Founded: November 2016

Funds Raised: ~$8,000,000

Market Thesis: The Golem network is made up of the combined power of users’ machines, from PCs to entire data centers. It’s designed to handle a wide variety of tasks, from CGI rendering to machine learning and scientific computing. This project doesn’t take or plan on taking any transaction fees from the users.

Mainnet Launch Date: On April 10, 2018, Golem announced the launch of Brass Beta into mainnet.

Live Applications: Golem (Brass Beta) mainnet

According to this installation tutorial video, Golem mainnet supports Blendr file rendering as its first use case.

Major Partnerships

Streamr: This partnership is strategically important because Streamr provides low-overhead power, which Golem needs to assign tasks, validate results, manage peer reputation, hone pricing mechanisms, and accomplish resource-intensive tasks that the decentralized network isn’t entirely capable of handling.

Friend Software Corporation: This company offers a user-friendly operating system called FriendUP, which has ambitions to be decentralized. Golem donated $750,000 of its fundraising earnings to Friend in support of this mission and lends its power and advice in exchange for use of the FriendUP OS in its own ecosystem.

Diagram demonstrating how Streamr and Golem work together.

Notable Development Projects

Marketplace: This feature launched in February 2019 with the release of Brass Golem Beta 0.19. In previous versions of Golem, the prices for cloud computing services were basically set by the requestors. On the other end, providers were only able to set the lowest amount per task they would be willing to work for. Then, the requestors would just accept any and all offers that made it to them first. With the marketplace, the accent is shifted to the providers. With marketplace, providers are given the option to compete with others with both their prices and reputations.

Clay: Set to launch sometime during the first half of 2019, a core component of Clay will be an early version of the following APIs. Task API: creates and manages computations. Market API: chooses the best offers. Net API: Golem’s networking layer. Onboarding API: smoother onboarding process. Once all the initial development of the APIs is complete, the Golem team will start developing an SDK.

Later releases of Golem will include (but not limited to) the following:

  • Stone Golem — will “add more security and stability, but also enhance the functionalities implemented in Clay.” This will be a refining process where complementary mechanisms will be introduced along with advanced versions of preexisting features.
  • Iron Golem — will be “a deeply tested Golem that gives more freedom to developers, allowing them to create applications that use an Internet connection or applications that run outside the sandbox.” Iron will be close to a finalized Golem product.
Golem has a long list of goals and future use cases in the pipeline. An up-to-date list can be found here.


Founded: June 2017

Funds Raised: ~$42,000,000

Market Thesis: The main idea of fog computing, the technology used by SONM, is the use of a decentralized network formed from disparate individual computing devices, as opposed to a single data center structure. Compared to other Ethereum-based cloud projects, SONM appears to have more advanced solutions that are in active use. These include infrastructure for blockchain applications, machine learning, video rendering on CPU/GPU, and even CDN and video streaming.

Mainnet Launch Date: July 1, 2018

Live Applications: SONM Market (mainnet), SONM OS (mining equipment rental marketplace)

SONM’s website features real-time stats on network usage.

Major Partnerships

POSTKINO FX: This studio deals with the creation of computer graphics for cinematography and TV. It is one of the first companies to use SONM to render tasks. One task included rendering graphics in a video (shown below) for MEGAFON, the second-largest mobile phone operator and the third-largest telecom operator in Russia.

AION: Through this partnership, SONM supports Aion’s technical roadmap by providing its community with the ability to rapidly deploy Aion’s kernel operating system. In addition, SONM also acts as an early adopter of Aion mining.

Dbrain: SONM provides greater computing power to Dbrain, which is a tool to collectively build AI (i.e. neural network training). SONM enables data to be processed quicker and cheaper than traditional providers.

Hacken: This group of enterprises was created to maintain links between blockchain and cybersecurity communities, the promotion of hacker ethics, and the encouragement of legitimate research on computer networks and software. Hacken provides security solutions and professional knowledge to SONM.

Notable Development Projects

GPU cloud platform: Expected to be released in the first half of 2019, this platform will be designed for building, training, and deploying machine learning models. The application will be aimed at data scientists, novice AI specialists, and nontechnical professionals who don’t have access to the expensive computing infrastructure that’s necessary for machine learning. The idea is to provide them with a set of tools for exploring data, training neural networks, and running GPU compute tasks. It will even provide a solution to run custom containers on the required devices, with specified network bandwidth, in the country of the customer’s choice.

‘Plug & play’ service for video rendering: This will help freelancers and small studios to render scenes in just a few clicks. The service is aimed at customers who want to reduce rendering costs or need additional computing resources at those moments when rendering farms are busy and can’t perform the required task.

Next version of SONM OS: This is designed to not only help suppliers deploy a worker but also to prevent the device owner from decrypting and copying customer data. It will include a fully-managed enterprise GPU cloud platform with a TEE (trusted execution environment) for securing computations on consumer devices.

The above-mentioned development projects are all expected to launch in 2019. A full list of detailed, long-term development objectives and future applications (through 2022) can be found here.

Mockup design of SONM’s ‘plug & play’ service for video rendering


Founded: January 2018

Funds Raised: ~$28,750,000

Market Thesis: DADI’s Edge network connects together discrete devices to deliver faster and more efficient digital services. DADI is owned and run by everyone, sharing its revenue to help build a fairer internet. The DADI network offers improved efficiency and performance, saving up to 90% compared with traditional cloud services.

Mainnet Launch Date: On June 28, 2018, DADI launched its CDN on the Ethereum mainnet. This is the first of the project’s dApps to be ‘network-ready’.

Live Applications: DADI CDN, DADI Marketplace (links to all DADI apps)

DADI CDN lets you edit images easily using query strings.

Major Partnerships

Verasity: VeraPlayer is integrated with the DADI network, enabling platform customers to easily publish content to the Verasity ecosystem and provide a full micropayment capability for their content. Verasity’s video toolkit (vDaf) allows existing online video services to access the benefits of blockchain technology. Broadcasters, media platforms, OTT services, and video publishers can use Verasity’s blockchain enabled commerce, analytics, verification, and crowdfunding systems to enhance their online video offering.

Agorai: This blockchain-based marketplace offers fair access to artificial intelligence software and data assets. The Agorai marketplace will run on the DADI network. Additionally, DADI will work with their team to further develop AI capability within its technology. Integrating with DADI will provide Agorai users with a much-needed choice of how they interact with the platform, keeping costs low, distributing compute power, and ensuring anyone can access Agorai’s platform to make use of data assets or to access AI tools and applications.

Wirehive: This company delivers expert infrastructure consultancy and support for a broad portfolio of clients including Vodafone, Honda and IT. Wirehive offers DADI’s network to clients as a decentralized alternative to AWS, Microsoft Azur, and Google Cloud.

London Block Exchange: LBX is a crypto exchange that provides a fiat on/off ramp for customers of the DADI network. DADI makes its dApps (including API, Web and CDN) available for use on the LBX website.

Wirehive features DADI as a decentralized alternative to traditional cloud solutions.

Notable Development Projects

DADI Visualize: RESTful API layer designed in support of API-first development and COPE.

DADI Predict: Machine learning layer that predicts in-session user behavior.

DADI Marketplace: First iteration of DADI application marketplace, will be open to third-party applications complementary to the scope of the DADI suite of microservices.

Edge Compute Beta: Like a virtual machine, but hyper-localized. This containerized app layer enables you to distribute your applications directly to the Edge network, with a real-time distribution matrix that automatically deploys and scales based on demand.

All of the above projects are scheduled to be completed in 2019. The full DADI roadmap can be found here.

Upcoming dApps scheduled for release on the DADI Marketplace

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