Why Akash Network Is Building An Airbnb For The Cloud
'Whoever controls the GPUs, controls the AI'
By: Zack Abrams
June 2, 2023
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The Ethereum blockchain used to run on about $19 billion worth of GPUs, or advanced computer chips that power everything from video game graphics, to training AI models to, of course, crypto mining.
But when Ethereum switched to a proof-of-stake system rather than proof-of-work, those graphics cards suddenly became obsolete. Crypto mining is basically busy work for computers; the only social function it serves is running a blockchain. So what if those GPUs stayed online, but formed a decentralized cloud that anyone with advanced computing power needs could tap into?
That's the idea behind Akash Network, a crypto cloud computing platform that was developed using the Cosmos SDK. Greg Osuri, the founder of Akash, often likens the project to an Airbnb for cloud compute; just as Airbnb brought spare bedrooms to the real estate market, Akash wants to reward users for contributing computing power to the network.
“Airbnb is a network that connects...unused space and offers a price point that that's attractive," Osuri told Coinage in a recent interview. "So Akash is that sort of layer that is very similar to Airbnb for developers that host cloud data.”
And at a time when the cloud computing market is incredibly centralized, with just three companies, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, controlling two-thirds of the cloud computing market, cloud computing provides a ripe opportunity for decentralization.
"With AI, the demand for compute is growing exponentially to a point the current cloud providers cannot support," said Osuri. "GPUs are the blood for AI. Whoever controls the GPUs, control the AI, right?”
As evidenced by Nvidia briefly joining the $1 trillion market cap club this past week, demand for the chips that power the next generation of AI will certainly be a defining struggle of the next decade. Osuri wants Akash to provide those services easier and cheaper than the current tech giants. Greener too, as using existing graphics cards reduces the need to manufacture more.
"Akash is really is a way to look inward like look at what we have already and find ways to better use those existing resources," said Osuri.
For more on Akash, including how Osuri is navigating the regulatory environment, what's coming next for Akash, why Osuri worried about ChatGPT escaping through the Internet, and much more, check out our full interview above.
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