Perlin is a decentralized marketplace for cloud computing where people can rent out the computing capacity in their smartphones, laptops, and other devices. The collective computing capacity can be utilized to process memory-intensive and computationally-intensive algorithms for various purposes.
The Way It Works
The Perlin marketplace is comprised primarily of miners and end users.
Renting Computing Power from the Perlin Network
If a customer is in need of a particular amount of computing power, they can search the Perlin network and check out the options from various miners.
Once they find an offer that matches their needs, they can buy it and pay the miner using PERL tokens. The end user can connect with the miner’s virtual machine via SSH and use its computing power for their needs.
The payments for the transactions conducted on the Perlin network are made in PERLs – a virtual currency designed specifically for the network. 47.5% of PERL tokens have been issued so far in three stages – seed sale, strategic sale, and private sale. More tokens are expected to be issued in the coming days.
What Is the Need for Perlin?
Many experts believe that decentralization could be the future of cloud computing due to the built-in limitations in the current model of central cloud computing. The mobile Internet revolution has allowed people with smartphones to create an enormous amount of data, which constitutes the edge of the network.
Under the central cloud model, the data generated at the edge needs to be transported to the central cloud, processed in data centers, and transported back to the devices. It not only requires tremendous amounts of bandwidth but also increases latency times.
In a decentralized cloud, every device acts as its own cloud server so that the data generated at the edge can be processed locally. Devices in a decentralized cloud can share computing resources with one another to process data faster. Therefore, the amount of bandwidth required, as well as the latency time, is reduced significantly.
Secondly, the centralized cloud computing industry is dominated by just a few large companies, which has resulted in a virtual monopoly. Many developers, researchers, and startups are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of cloud computing. Under a decentralized model like Perlin, such people can rent any amount of computing power they want at a fraction of a cost.
What Makes Perlin Unique?
The unique selling point of Perlin is that it uses a Directed Acylic Graph (DAG) ledger (which is different from a blockchain based ledger) and the Avalanche protocol.
Blockchain vs. DAG
The biggest downside of a blockchain is that an entry or a transaction is added to a previous one, which results in a linear sequence of all the transactions recorded on the ledger.
While it makes it easier to search through the ledger and track down a particular record or entry, it greatly limits the number of transactions that can be performed at a time. This is why transactions are validated one block at a time, while a large number of transactions continue to queue up.
DAG, on the other hand, eliminates the problem by adopting an entirely different structure. It is similar to a file directory, which has several folders with each folder having its own subfolders, each subfolder having its own subfolders, and so on. The transactions are not only linked together, but the validation process works in such a way that one transaction validates the next, which validates the next, and so on.
The Perlin network uses the Avalanche protocol to reach consensus on the network.
The Advantages of Avalanche Protocol
The Avalanche protocol is a superior, improved version of the Nakamoto consensus protocol, which was designed and introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, as an improved version of classical consensus protocols that were in use at the time.
The problem with the Nakamoto protocol is that it is very slow – the average time required for a transaction to get validated could be anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes. Moreover, it uses an entire ecosystem of miners to validate the transactions, which is not only a time-consuming and laborious process but also requires tremendous amounts of energy.
The Avalanche protocol, on the contrary, utilizes the concept of ‘gossip protocol’ to achieve consensus a lot faster. Under this protocol, a few sets of nodes are randomly selected to pass on information to other nodes. The nodes pass the information among each other and a consensus is reached after a voting process. The process is repeated for each node that passes along information to another.
The Metastability Model
One of the reasons why the Avalanche protocol is not only faster, but also more effective than other forms of consensus protocols is that it is based on the idea of metastability.
It eliminates the possibility of a split verdict – half the nodes agreeing on one thing and half of them agreeing on another. Since the consensus is formed based on a weighted result of a recurring voting process, the whole network of nodes tends to tilt towards a particular choice, which removes the element of uncertainty altogether.
Thanks to the metastability model, the Avalanche protocol has a high degree of built-in tolerance for Byzantine participants who try to create an imbalance in the network. The weighted consensus process means the nodes generally tilt towards one direction after each round of the voting process.
After a point, the entire network agrees upon a particular decision, leaving no room for confusion or conflict. So, even in the presence of a large number of Byzantine participants, the Perlin network can still arrive at a consensus without any problems.
Similarly, if a malicious entity or attacker tries to double spend (spend the same money on two different transactions), the Avalanche protocol will not agree upon either of the transactions and as a result, the money will be lost.
Since the network uses a DAG-based ledger, the transaction order is spread throughout the network, which makes it easier to detect and reject double spending transactions right at the outset.
Basically, the Avalanche protocol is truly decentralized. Unlike Bitcoin, and other networks that use the Nakamoto protocol, it does not depend on a set of validators to achieve consensus on the network. Instead, it spreads the process across the entire network and achieves a consensus through recurring voting processes, in which all the nodes can participate.
Perlin vs. IOTA
The Perlin network is often compared to IOTA, which is yet another decentralized ledger protocol. The Tangle protocol used by IOTA is based on DAG. The validation process for the transactions that take place on IOTA is similar to that of Perlin. Both networks allow multiple verifications to be done in parallel, which means the more the number of transactions, the faster the network can scale.
There are, however, some concerns about the decentralized nature of IOTA. The IOTA network has a coordinator – a position created by the IOTA foundation – to secure the network against certain kinds of attacks and to support the network in validating transactions.
How Decentralized is IOTA?
Now, the very presence of a coordinator raises the question as to how decentralized the IOTA network is. The presence of a coordinator also raises a lot of other concerns regarding the network’s ability to approve transactions in the event of a targeted attack.
Last year, the coordinator was shut down due to an attack on the network. As a result, the official IOTA wallet could not accept transaction confirmations for two whole days and deposits and exchanges had to be suspended for a while. This drew sharp criticism from many people, who wondered if the network is as reliable as it claims to be.
Perlin, in comparison, has had no such issues and the likelihood of such an event happening is very low, as the network is completely decentralized. Unlike IOTA, there is no central authority figure to protect against attacks or to confirm the transactions.
The Perlin network has built-in security against Byzantine participants and the validation process is achieved through a network-wide consensus. So, it is a lot safer and a lot more reliable than most of the distributed ledger based networks available today.
Notable Features of Perlin
The Future of Cloud Computing
It is believed that the cloud computing industry could benefit immensely from adopting the decentralization model. The emergence of networks like Perlin is a very positive sign, as it gives people access to computing power at affordable rates. Moreover, technologies like the Avalanche protocol and DAG ledger address the existing concerns in the blockchain model and offer a reliable alternative.
On the whole, Perlin is a radically innovative solution that has the potential to disrupt the current structure of centralized cloud computing, which could very well prove to be a net positive for the industry in the long run.