Australian firm Perlin said it has launched the test version of a decentralised cloud network, which will provide services using the computing power of computers, phones and devices in developing countries.
The decentralised project, which will tap underused devices, hopes to take on big cloud companies like Amazon Web Services.
Perlin was started by Sydney-born Chinese-Tibetan conservationist and tech investor Dorjee Sun in December 2017. Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies, considered to be the world's largest producer of crypto mining chips, is an investor in Perlin alongside TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington.
Sun's strategy is to offer cheaper rates than Amazon Web Services. Also, people around the world who offer their devices to the network can earn money, according to a Quartz report.
Giving an example in the report, Sun said a woman in Indonesia might be able to earn money by downloading his app on a Samsung phone and allowing Perlin to use its computing power when she is asleep at night.
The payment, though, would come in PERL tokens, which can later be converted into fiat currencies. He added that Perlin's rates will be at least 50% cheaper than Amazon’s and the Indonesian woman could earn around $200 to $400 a year.
For the project, Perlin has partnered Telkom (Indonesia’s largest telecommunications company with over four million set-top box subscribers and 180 million mobile customers), and many organisations.
Another firm called Golem, which calls itself the Airbnb of cloud computing, allows users to trade computing power in a peer-to-peer marketplace for compute-heavy tasks such as graphics rendering.
Perlin has also tied up with the National Institution for Transforming India (Niti) Aayog, the policy think tank for the Indian government, for the development of artificial intelligence using distributed computing infrastructure in India and to develop the concept of an India cloud based on distributed computing resources.
The collaboration, announced in August, will initially focus on machine learning and multi-party computation, with the goal of establishing and promoting distributed computing markets for these rapidly-growing sectors throughout India.
In particular, Niti Aayog and Perlin will jointly conduct a hackathon to explore other use cases for distributing computing on the Perlin Network. Moreover, Perlin will bring partners who can supply computing power from unused smartphones and computers based in India to its network in order to create a domestic, decentralised cloud infrastructure. The nationwide scale and depth of world-leading technical expertise encompassed by the collaboration is expected to result in substantial benefits across the networks of both Niti Aayog and Perlin.