Gm, Phala community,
82% of the year 2021 has already passed. Looking back at the results we achieved in the past 10 months, I can no longer hide my excitement and am eager to present new plans to everyone who is already familiar with or who is getting familiar with Phala Network. Let me further explain the infinite potential and promising future world of Phala.
I am Marvin Tong, the founder of Phala Network and the CEO of Hashforest Technology (Phala’s main development team). As loyal community members of the Polkadot Ecosystem, Hang Yin (Co-founder of Phala Network) and I were attracted by Dr. Gavin Wood ’s Web 3.0 vision in early 2019, and we have been non-stop exploring in the Polkadot community ever since. In the same year, we published the first edition of the Phala Network White Paper and outlined the prototype of Phala Network.
During the past two years of intensive development, we successfully launched Khala Network, a computing resource network based on the heterogeneous architecture of the parachain, and received enormous support from our community. Khala has also become a parachain of Kusama. We have faith that in the near future, Phala will also successfully run on the Polkadot relay chain.
Redefine Phala Network
Many people got to know Phala because of its distinctive privacy feature and innovative “blockchain + secure enclave” architecture. However, data privacy is just one of the basic features mentioned in Phala Network’s white paper. Our vision is to become the world’s largest P2P computing network, that is, a standard decentralized computing cloud based on Web 3.0.
An important prerequisite for achieving this goal is to realize the trustlessness of the computing network itself: all computation on Phala network runs in the secure enclave. The secure enclave guarantees the security of computing load, which includes the correctness of program execution, as well as the confidentiality and privacy of data.
Trustless is not only the first feature of Phala recognized by the community but also the cornerstone of Phala becoming a reliable distributed computing network.
In addition, the “sharing economy” model is also Phala’s Web 3.0 characteristic. To ensure that network users and computing power providers won’t be controlled by centralized Internet companies, we must adopt the blockchain agreement, allowing any computing node to join the network and provide usable and stable computing services. This is also the foundation of the Secure Worker Mining mechanism.
At present, Secure Worker Mining mechanism has been running steadily on Khala Network for over two months. Although Khala’s Mining reward is only 10% of Phala’s, there are still more than 20,000 computing nodes successfully registered on Khala. Among them, more than 15,000 servers are running on Khala steadily for some time. These servers provide more than 120,000 vCPUs, which contribute large-scale computing services for the Web 3.0 world — such computing resource scale is second to none in the Crypto field! On Khala Network alone, we already have nearly 1% of the AWS computing power. We believe on Phala Network mainnet, the number of trusted computing nodes can be used in the Web 3.0 world will exceed 100,000 in the future!
Why Web 3.0 Cloud Service?
Hang Yin and I realized the great potential of Web 3.0 back in 2018. The Ethereum core team led by Dr. Gavin Wood created the first Turing-complete “smart contract”, which overturned the entire blockchain world. At present, smart contracts based on EVM can replace simple backends to a certain extent and act as databases for decentralized applications. The primary Web 3.0 cloud service based on traditional smart contracts has shown great value in the Defi and Gamefi trend that started in 2019.
Nevertheless, traditional smart contracts still have great limitations and cannot drive most real-world applications, for instance:
- Computing on private data, such as the back-ends, middleware, and databases of various daily Internet and enterprise applications.
- Computing-intensive programs, such as high-throughput, low-latency game servers, artificial intelligence, etc.
Therefore, we realized that although decentralized storage agreements such as Arweave and Filecoin have been widely used, the corresponding decentralized computing service field is still empty. There are many Defi, Metaverse, Web 3.0 game applications that use smart contracts, but still need to deploy their front-end and back-end on centralized services such as AWS and Google Cloud. We were even shocked to learn that most (perhaps more than 80%) nodes of the Proof-of-Stake consensus blockchain are running on services provided by the centralized cloud computing platform.
This brings many concerns:
- Service availability: When most of the blockchains are deployed on a centralized cloud platform, the sword of Damocles will always hang on the Web 3.0 world. When supervision forces centralized cloud platforms to disable blockchain services, exchanges, wallets, Defi, and games we use daily will be deactivated. If certain cloud platforms are under attack or natural disasters destroy computer rooms, our decentralized world will be forced to shut down.
- Data security: Centralized cloud services can continuously monitor and collect a large amount of user data, such as browser fingerprints and front-end usage behavior, which are inevitably risky. When you use Defi, you don’t want “them” to monitor your behavior all the time.
Innovation of Web 3.0 Cloud Services
A few years ago, innovators tried to solve the above concerns. For example, designed a blockchain with higher throughput, or proposed the use of secure enclave, zero-knowledge proof, and MPC to provide more private computing services. They may partially solve throughput or privacy issues. However, we firmly believe that Web 3.0 requires a more versatile, easy-to-use, and sharing economy-based solution to achieve high availability and super computing power.
And that is the real characteristic of Phala. Please don’t compare us with other “TEE Privacy Protocol” or “Zero-Knowledge Proof Protocol” because our goals are different. We are committed to providing a universal decentralized computing network that can be freely combined with decentralized smart contracts, storage protocols, and data indexing services.
We are here to proudly launch Fat Contract, a smart contract product based on the Phala privacy contract concept. You can learn more about this product in Phala Wiki. In short, this is a new type of smart contract product that focuses on serving Web 3.0 back-end function-level services.
Different from the EVM “traditional smart contract”, it has the following characteristics:
- Low Latency: You don’t want the interaction response time in Metaverse to exceed 1 second. However, traditional blockchain smart contracts cannot meet the requirement of low-latency services. However, in Fat Contract, we can achieve millisecond-level read and write responses;
- Asynchronous Interoperability: Fat Contract can quickly and safely introduce off-chain data by creating asynchronous requests, such as sending Fat Contract data, etc.
- High-Performance Computing: Fat Contract supports vertical and horizontal expansion. It can also provide users with a program execution environment that is close to native CPU performance, expanding along with hardware upgrades. In an ideal state, the overall throughput of the application can linearly expand as the number of nodes increases.
- Mature Developer Ecology: Phala’s application will be developed based on the industry-standard WASM and constructed in Rust ecology, which is known for its safety and high performance; We mainly support Ink! contract programming language developed by Parity.
- Trustless: Just like smart contracts, applications deployed in computing nodes cannot be manipulated or forced to shut down.
- Data Confidentiality: End-to-end encryption is mandatory for user requests, memory status, and databases. Only authorized operations will respond.
What are the usage scenarios of Fat Contract?
After two years of exploration and development, we recommend the scenarios below:
- Low latency requirements, such as Fat Contract multiplayer online games, etc.;
- Scenarios of off-chain interconnection, such as oracle, decentralized chat or communication services (Telegram or Email); Fat Contract, such as API interface, data market platform;
- Large-scale real-time computing programs, such as Metaverse, games, NFT rendering, artificial intelligence (recommendation engine, etc.)
When will Fat Contract launch?
We are intensively developing. We expect to launch the V0 version of Fat Contract in December 2021. You will be able to use the innovative billing model through Fat Contract on more than 15,000 Web 3.0 servers!
Next Step: March Into Metaverse
In the scenarios above, we will focus on supporting and encouraging the construction of Metaverse ecosystem. At present, due to the lack of decentralized computing and back-end protocols, most of the Metaverse platforms have no choice but to use traditional cloud services because of their high consumption of computing resources.
At present, Khala Council has established valuable relationships with a number of Metaverse platforms. We will encourage developers to develop Metaverse ecological infrastructure based on Fat Contract through our own financial appropriations. Relevant project teams have already started developing on Phala for the following demands:
- Web 3.0 rendering farm: providing NFT artists with affordable, decentralized, and privacy-friendly model rendering services through Phala’s Fat Contract.
- Web3 Game Server: Provides decentralized back-end services for Metaverse platforms using Phala’s Fat Contract.
- Phala World: Innovative NFT role protocols which can automatically generate growth and interoperability NFT roles for each address of Phala; these roles can be connected to the mainstream Metaverse platforms.
- Universal Game Engine: a back-end engine based on plots of game space can be built on multiple Metaverse platforms.
In Dr. Gavin Wood’s blog, he mentioned，
To be sure, we can’t predict the first successful use-cases of this new platform and when they might appear. As with the development of the internet before it, the timeline could be measured in decades rather than months.
We strongly agree that Web 3.0 will be the most powerful innovation driving force in the next 20–30 years. Web3 and the evolution of artificial intelligence coexist, otherwise the world might fall into a worse situation. Therefore, we cannot stop and be constrained by previous designs or “fundamentalism” because there is still a long way to go till the success of Web 3.0 revolution. We will replace any centralized services used by the Crypto world step by step to fulfill our vision, which is also the evolutionary goal of Phala Network.