Bitcoin remains the undisputed king of the cryptocurrency market. Despite being challenged by tokens and networks built on newer technological ideas, and experiencing multiple crashes in its price, Bitcoin has survived and grown stronger. Satoshi’s ideas has given people the inspiration to apply the same idea of decentralization in various industries and for various purposes. Decentralized needn’t necessarily apply to just money.
This, along with the arrival of Ethereums’s more versatile computational possibilities with smart contracts, gave birth to the altcoin boom, which encompasses a whole smorgasbord of applications. From supply chains to advertising to cloud computing, the potential of bitcoin has inspired teams to bring the fairness and openness associated with Distributed LEDGER Technologies (DLTs) to various spheres.
Not the least of these spheres is cloud computing, which has quickly become a hotbed of innovation and development, seeing multiple projects from across the world focusing on it. The sphere is highly competitive and features some projects working on specific pain points associated with cloud computing, while others works are working on a grander and more comprehensive cloud computing features.
The project we’re looking into today, Lambda (LAMB), is a project that is working on specifically on the problem of cloud storage. We’ll take a look at the history of the project, the details of its agenda, the technical design that would implement its agenda, and the heavy competition that it faces in the course of achieving its goal.
The History of Lambda (LAMB)
The Lambda project was launched by Xiaoyang He, Haiqiang Gao, Monan Li, Bingqing He and Haijun Zhao in 2017. Xiaoyang He, Haiqiang Gao and Monan Li serve as the project’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) respectively. The team released the project’s whitepaper in June 2018, which was shortly followed by a fundraising round that saw the team raise $20 million in Tether (USDT).
Grandly declaiming that we are in an age where information where information flow can be driven by finance and hearkening to Edmund Burke’s quote that this age is one of sophists, economists and calculators, Lambda’s whitepaper describes in lengthy segments, the team’s vision of the future is concentrated in their belief that information technology is the most significant revolution - and tool - of human history, and that with it lies the power to drive the development of civilization forward.
The team considers the problems that currently exists in the information technology industry, including the distribution of cost of the software industry, which “which results in a clear trend toward centralization and intermediation in the industry.” Other problems referred to include the scalability of certain business models.
The team goes an even larger step further in describing their vision for Lambda, stating that it is not about the blockchain itself. Rather, they describe the project as being “not only about technological innovation in the blockchain field, but also a combination of technological innovation, business model innovation, and an economic system.”
The months following the fundraising resulted in some technical progress. Q3 2018 saw the release of the PoST code, the open sourcing of the core and the launch of the Lambda testnet. 2019 saw larger developments, such as the launch of the mainnet in August, the release of the economic whitepaper and the beginning of the implementation of community chain governance.
All the talk about the problems of the software industry and the intention to blaze a new path is well and good, but how does the team plan to accomplish the objective with systems that have demonstrable outputs?
The Purpose of Lambda (LAMB)
Lambda’s high-level purpose is to create new economic models with the software industry, through a combination of blockchain and other technologies. Specifically within its blockchain agenda, however, it is attempting to be a cloud storage service for both individuals and enterprises (especially with respect to Decentralized Applications or DApps), while also offering a marketplace where various products and services can be bought.
In short, Lambda attempts to offer DApp data storage and integrity features, and the same for the Internet of Things (IoT) related technologies. The three benefits it is claimed to bring to these features is high reliability, high security and high performance. The team claims that the network can provide a performance level of 5000 transactions per second at a block generation rate of 15 seconds.
Lambda’s network consists of 4 major stakeholders, in addition to the marketplace. These stakeholders are the storage miners, retrieval miners, validators and users. As the name would suggest, storage miners provide the storage capabilities for users and retrieval miners retrieve the data for users. Validators check if the data’s integrity is accurate, while users can browse through the marketplace for their storage needs.
The network’s native token, LAMB, is the medium of exchange on the network and is what fuels the network’s ecosystem. The focus on creating an economic model goes so far as to Lambda forming its own GDP design, called Lambda GDP. This refers to “the space to store data, the network resources needed to store and read data, the short domain name system to address a network, and the Validator to validate data.”
The Lambda chain keeps track of users’ requests and returns, and manages consensus and clearing in the storage resource pool. LAMB tokens can be earned by both staking mining and storage mining. The former deals with maintaining network consensus and the latter with providing storage space.
The specific capabilities of the stakeholders, how they contribute to the system and how they are rewarded are described in greater detail in Lambda’s economic whitepaper.
The rest of 2019, according to the Lambda roadmap, will bring a few more developments. This includes the commercial access testing, the development of the storage application ecosystem and the full launch of the mainnet. 2020 will bring the singing of commercial customers, the access of commercial storage applications, and research into more projects that would improve the Lambda ecosystem.
There is one central issue concerning the development of Lambda. While cloud storage or cloud computing are most definitely important and addressable issues with DLTs, the Lambda project’s rather generic and rambling nature of its whitepaper, as well as the general lack of information on the technical elements of the project, seem to suggest that this may not be the best investment or project in this space for investors - especially given the competition in this space, which is described below.
For example, a lot of the information in the whitepaper, seems tangentially descriptive to the solutions (and takes up a good portion of the whitepaper). Rather than actual technical ideas put forth, the whitepaper relies more on rhetorical statements that simply go over the problems of the industry i.e. there are more problems described than solutions put forth.
Having said that, it is not a totally damning indictment of the project. After all, they have made some releases. However, given the fact that there are projects which have offered very interesting and thorough solutions to the problems, it is something to think about. Investors want more information that tells them how the project is going to fix these problems.
The Lambda project has formed several partnerships since its inception.
The most recent of these partnerships is with Ankr, another distributed computing sharing economy platform. Ankr is a San Francisco based project that is attempting to implement a model “where enterprises and consumers can monetize their spare computing capacities from their devices, on-premise servers, private cloud and even the public cloud.” The two entities are working together to develop better blockchain infrastructure, and this includes commercial exploration.
Lambda has also announced a strategic partnership with Perlin, a decentralized cloud computing marketplace that leverages idle power from smart devices. The partnership will see the two entities “drive key business innovation to develop distributed storage and distributed computing capabilities for an enhanced blockchain infrastructure.”
It has also partnered with DVPnet (Decentralized Vulnerability Platform), a decentralized security platform that counts multiple white hackers as its members. DVP will support Lambda by providing security solutions and assistance.
Perhaps of biggest note is a partnership with IOST, another blockchain project. The latter is building a high performance blockchain that focuses on scalability and security. The two projects have partnered with the focus being on providing high transaction performance and secure storage
Lambda is up against many competitors, both in the general cloud computing space and the more specific cloud storage space. As far as the cloud storage space is concerned, Lambda is largely competing with Storj (STORJ) and SiaCoin (SC) - both of which are progressing well in their own right. Lambda’s focus on creating an economic model that roeps in enterprises and offers a large level of commercial application for DApps perhaps set itself apart from the two projects, but the successful execution of the idea remains to be seen.
As far as general cloud computing projects go, there are several competitors here too, most notably Golem Network (GNT) and iExec (RLC). Both of these projects are very well known, especially Golem Network, and considerably more developed and well thought in terms of the technology and solutions.
Lambda is taking a very high-level approach to providing distributed cloud storage solutions for enterprises, particularly in relation to DApps and IoT. The project has not been around for long, so there is that to be considered.
What we can say is that this is a project that is in a highly competitive niche, and its competitors have a considerably larger level of clout. The key for Lambda’s success will be the successful execution of the idea of the economic model, as this is what separates the project from the rest. Whether it does so, only time will tell.