Unraveling Golem’s The Next Milestone, Part I

Golem started off in 2014. From its inception, it was popularly called “the sleeping giant of Ethereum.” The first release happened on March 1st 2017, and from then onwards, the software has been evolving continuously.

Unraveling Golem’s The Next Milestone, Part I

During our last AMA, the Golem team boldly went ahead and revealed that we would not continue with the Whitepaper as it stands, but instead take a 180-degree turn based on the lessons we have learned.

As you keep reading, you will be able to learn more about The Next Milestone and some Golem history.

Golem started off in 2014. From its inception, it was popularly called “the sleeping giant of Ethereum.” The first release happened on March 1st 2017, and from then onwards, the software has been evolving continuously.

Golem has always strived for innovation and our best-in-class team would not settle for the then current state of the project. So we started a revolution. We are not afraid to take on challenges, and we have proven that from the inception of the project. Starting a new codebase--after 5 years of building one of the largest in the industry--is a Herculean task.

The work towards this goal started a little bit more than a year ago, as an attempt to rethink and improve the architecture of the project. Not long after, based on our collective learnings, we came to the conclusion that we needed a completely new architecture--not just a renovation.  And we have been working on this ever since.

The Next Milestone will not have an overthought new name, as it is simply, what Golem was always meant to be. So, The Next Milestone is Golem. For the time being, to avoid confusion, let’s call it New Golem.

What is New Golem?

New Golem proposes a more overarching platform for generalized distributed compute. One that focuses on developer experience and allows builders the freedom to build their own decentralized applications atop of a robust and innovative platform. Conceived and constructed as the next generation of a project that was already extremely ambitious and has been in the market for more than two years, New Golem opens up much broader possibilities than those that Legacy Golem or other platforms in the field of decentralized compute have been offering.

New Golem’s Architecture

The Next Milestone is a reference implementation of a complete architectural vision, designed to be open, modular and based on industry standards where applicable. The vision leverages a structured approach including concept of principles, models, standards and building blocks, which are known from industry-standard architectural frameworks (e.g. TOGAF). The architecture itself is platform-agnostic and The Next Milestone’s implementation is meant to integrate well with client applications built using various software development frameworks.

Building it, we have chosen a progressively decentralized approach. Golem Factory is the initial birthplace of the vision, and is responsible for defining patterns and standards, as well as providing reference implementations and setting the first directions for the ecosystem. Once these are in place - community participation is fundamental, and this is why we have chosen to redefine the Golem architecture from scratch, striving to make it open, coherent and clearly specified.

Many projects and companies have chosen this approach before, as it allows for better onboarding. It also allows for proving a correct product-market fit, as projects are able to include those users that prioritize performance, or other factors, instead of just decentralization. Progressively decentralized building blocks will replace those that were previously run by our team.

If you are curious about progressive decentralization, we recommend this blogspot by a16z’s Jesse Walden.

The Next Milestone is an implementation of the Golem architectural concepts, built from scratch. It is written in Rust, which is a relatively new language, known for its speed, performance, and reliability, allowing Rust code to power performance-critical services.

If you are curious about why we decided to choose Rust, here’s a really good explanation from Stack Overflow.

What to expect from New Golem

New Golem allows for a multitude of use-cases to be built atop it, from decentralized compute platforms, data center providers, app stores to private networks (such as Golem Unlimited), and decentralized applications. The integration of client applications with the Golem Network is facilitated by four APIs (Market API, Activity API, Payment API and Identity API) and New Golem is a reference implementation of these. The client applications shall interact with these APIs following generic scenarios. The four APIs might come as no surprise for some of our most avid followers as they have already been part of  Stone, and were hinted in the April 2019 AMA.

However, New Golem is a far cry from Stone. As aforementioned, the code is completely new as well as its architecture.  The Golem architecture includes a concept of ExeUnits - modular execution environments hidden under a layer of common abstraction. New Golem’s MVP shall include a WebAssembly (WASM) ExeUnit--which is designed to allow hosting and execution of standardized WebAssembly code packages, thus enabling developers to quickly jump aboard the platform. But the WASM ExeUnit is only one of several others, as a VM ExeUnit.

In addition, an independent development shop has been commissioned to build the first application atop New Golem, which will be launched together with the (new) Golem MVP. This is meant to get New Golem into a production-ready version faster than most software development processes go. Additionally, the app this independent team is building is a compelling use-case to be launched together with the MVP, in the second half of the year.

How does GNT’s future migration to ERC-20 fold into New Golem?

You might be wondering why GNT has yet to be mentioned. Rest assured, the upcoming migration to ERC-20 is the answer as it will allow the new Golem token to work better within the New Golem construction. The ERC-20 standard allows tokens to access a wide range of solutions to improve UX, such as Universal Login, Metatransactions, and others. Additionally, Layer-2 solutions for ERC-20 tokens are advancing. Thus, for the future integration of the ERC-20 Golem Token (ticker name to be revealed soon--in order to protect our users from scams) in use-cases, we will be able to leverage better transaction speed, avoid network clogging, and other benefits associated with the implementation of scaling models.

Building technology in an ever-changing world that is constantly changing and adopting new tools, experimenting and adapting is not an easy task. But, our decision to work the way we have chosen towards this new paradigm shift within Golem has built up our confidence and we are extremely optimistic.

Building best-in-class software, as we strive to do with New Golem, needs to come from researching the most common standards and protocols. Selecting the ones with the most potential for future cross-platform adaptability, and the ones allowing for better developer experience and easy maintenance.

Want to learn more? Our CEO/CTO Piotr Janiuk joined the Hashing it Out podcast with Dr. Corey Petty and they took a deeper dive into New Golem/ The Next Milestone. Listen here.

Hashing It Out #80-Golem-CEO Piotr Janiuk