In an industry dominated by three cloud providers, the largest of which was featured in a galvanizing New York Times article this past December, we knew that we were taking on much larger incumbents, and a huge challenge, one that could shape the future of the cloud, and thus, the Internet.
When we set out to build the Akash Supercloud, the world’s first decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace for cloud computing, we knew we’d be tackling technical problems that had never been confronted before to give developers, the builders of the future, more freedom, flexibility, and agency to create.
I’m proud to look back at what our team achieved in 2019 to get us much closer to our vision of The Unstoppable Cloud, and I’m excited to share what we have planned at the start of this new year.
Looking Back At 2019
In the first half of 2019, our team focused on building the first version of our testnet and developing our token economic model, leveraging a framework for bootstrapping marketplaces in any industry challenged with underutilization of resources.
Joining the Cosmos Ecosystem
Last fall, we announced that we were bringing Akash to the Cosmos Ecosystem, giving developers access to an open, permissionless and secure marketplace for cloud computing. We were early believers in Cosmos, and as the Cosmos Hub grew and attracted more developers, we saw an increasing need for simplicity and scalability that comes with serverless computing and a decentralized infrastructure to support that growth. For us, joining Cosmos was ideal because of Tendermint’s iteration speed and community momentum.
Proving It Works
To gain market proof for our decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace, we launched our Founding Member Rewards Program, a series of challenges over a one month period designed to show contributors how to become a cloud provider and how to deploy applications in our decentralized Supercloud. The program involved 3 progressively difficult challenges along with bonus challenges, and contributors joined from all over the world, including the U.S., Korea, Japan, China, Europe, India, and South America. We were excited by the incredible community engagement, with 45 providers and nearly 1,700 applications completed on the first Akash testnet.
Contributors lit up our Twitter with praise for our documentation and ease of deployment. In user interviews conducted by a top partner network, 40 out of 100 developers shared that Akash had the best developer experience and documentation. We prioritize exceptional documentation, and it was rewarding to get this feedback from the community.
Engaging Top Validators
Akash employs a blockchain secured by a Proof-of-Stake consensus model managed by independent Validators, and Validators perform the vital role of providing economic security to the Akash blockchain. Given how essential validators are to building and scaling Akash Network, we announced that Jack Zampolin of Pylon Validation Services and Director of Product at Cosmos, and Sunny Aggarwal, Research Scientist at Tendermint, had joined as advisors. Jack and Sunny are renowned as top Cosmos validators and key contributors to the Cosmos community. We’re fortunate to have their guidance and insights as we scale Akash Supercloud.
Sharing Our Vision
To share our distinct vision for the future of the cloud, our team contributed to SF Blockchain Week and Packet’s IFX conference late last year. At SF Blockchain Week, I spoke on the Internet 3.0 Decentralize Everything panel, and our CMO Maly Ly shared branding and marketing best practices on the Blockchain in Marketing Panel. Our team also participated in the 3 day DeFi hackathon. At Packet’s IFX 2019 conference in Las Vegas, I presented a keynote, “The Unstoppable Stack” on building the world’s first open, permissionless, sovereign, and secure supercloud and marketplace.
Unveiling the Akash Supermini
During my keynote at Packet, I unveiled the Akash Supermini, our plug-and-earn portable server and the world’s most powerful in-home supercomputer. The Supermini gives developers full sovereignty over their data and a path to avoiding costly cloud service providers. Users can also plug and earn their favorite cryptocurrencies and offer the device’s unused compute directly on the Akash marketplace. Looking towards the future, the Akash Supermini will also serve as a potential inference layer for new networks leveraging IOT devices like Helium for instance.
Building the Dream Team
Getting closer to the future of the cloud requires a deeply experienced, passionate, and committed team. Last year, Boz Menzalji joined as General Manager and Maly Ly joined as Chief Marketing Officer. A serial entrepreneur and business development leader, Boz has seen two acquisitions and previously was GM at Refereum, a blockchain-based gaming rewards and marketing platform. At Refereum, Boz successfully listed the $RFR token on three new crypto-exchanges with a collective daily volume of $30+ million. As Akash’s GM, Boz orchestrates and scales operational strategy, business development, infrastructure, and processes to enable the successful acceleration of our platform.
An award winning marketing leader, Maly has 18 years of experience accelerating growth and brand awareness across data-driven technology platforms and interactive entertainment companies including Eventbrite, AdRoll, Relativity Space, and Lucasfilm. She has scaled three early stage startups to $150+ million annual recurring revenue, and brought beloved consumer brands including Star Wars, Tomb Raider, and Nintendo to millions of people globally. At Akash, Maly leads acquisition and retention, and works with our team to build a brand that inspires people around the world with the possibilities of the first permissionless and open cloud.
Joining Maly on the marketing team is Michael Gushansky, a top sales and customer service performer who comes to us from the events and auto industries. As Marketing and Community Manager, Michael leads our community efforts and scales our marketing functions.
Looking Ahead To 2020
In 2019, we proved that our platform worked – providers offered their unused compute through our decentralized marketplace, and developers seamlessly deployed applications in our Supercloud. Through many conversations with data centers, and organizations with greatly increasing needs for cloud compute at lower costs, like machine learning companies, we’ve identified specific markets where Akash’s platform could save them up to 90% on their costs.
2020 will be the year we launch our market-ready platform to onboard and support customers and services. We’ll be launching our incentivized testnet, unlocking liquidity, and continuing to partner with validators and delegators. We’re excited to continue growing our community of builders as we transition to our Mainnet.
As we expand technical infrastructure and services, we’ve been working with Alex Ellis to bring OpenFaaS to Akash Network. With 20,000+ stars on GitHub, OpenFaaS is an open-source alternative to serverless computing that is gaining wide adoption.
We’ll also be focused on expanding our network of in-home cloud compute providers through the development and launch of the Akash Supermini, the world’s most powerful portable plug-and-earn server and in-home supercomputer. Through the Supermini, anyone can become an income generating in-home cloud compute provider on Akash’s Supercloud. If you haven’t already, reserve yours now as initial quantities are limited.
I want to extend a tremendous thanks to our team, partners, validators, and investors, who have continued to believe in our vision and support us on our journey to creating a permissionless, open, and secure future for the cloud. We want to create a future where architects and builders of the internet have greater freedom to innovate, and where people around the world can be ensured sovereignty over their data.
In 2020, we look forward to getting much closer to this future vision of the cloud.