Could Warsaw startup revolutionise IT world with its ‘Airbnb for computers’ concept?

The ‘airbnb’ of the computing world, Warsaw firm Golem is making waves in the tech world. Annie Spratt on Unsplash

A Polish start up that touts itself as the “future of computing” and set itself the goal of becoming “the Airbnb for computers” is making a buzz in the high-tech world.

The Warsaw-based firm Golem has attracted much attention in the computer world since it arrived on the scene a few years ago with the goal of offering an alternative to the cloud peer-to-peer computing platforms offered by the likes of Google and Microsoft.

Golem describes itself as a “distributed super-computer that taps into a global network of unused computing power, which is de-centralised, and that means nobody owns it and anybody can use it.”

So, in theory, if somebody has a task that is beyond the capacity of their computer they can tap into the Golem network, where the task can be farmed out and performed, sometimes in a matter of seconds. And, like in Airbnb, the person “renting” out the computer space can expect a fee. John Schnobrich on Unsplash

This means that if somebody has spare computing power it can be rented out, much like the way somebody can rent out a spare room or flat, hence the Airbnb comparison.

So, in theory, if somebody has a task that is beyond the capacity of their computer they can tap into the Golem network, where the task can be farmed out and performed, sometimes in a matter of seconds. And, like in Airbnb, the person “renting” out the computer space can expect a fee. 

So if an architect, for example, wants to create a 3D-image of a building, the task can be split up into parts and sent to the network where each element will be created, before Golem puts it together and sends if back to the person wanting the image.

Golem uses blockchains, a technology that uses a network of computers to create a database that cannot be altered retrospectively. Using open-source technology should also, the company hopes, increase transparency and ensure no one company becomes dominant.Kalbar/TFN

“At the end of the day we hope that Golem will not only give scientists and businessmen a new way of doing computations but we will also change the way the internet is working,” said Julian Zawistowski, Golem’s CEO, in a company video.

One way of changing the way the internet works is the idea of de-centralisation and breaking free of the giant companies that dominate so much of the high-tech and internet world.

To do this Golem uses blockchains, a technology that uses a network of computers to create a database that cannot be altered retrospectively.

Using open-source technology should also, the company hopes, increase transparency and ensure no one company becomes dominant.

Golem describes itself as a “distributed super-computer that taps into a global network of unused computing power, which is de-centralised, and that means nobody owns it and anybody can use it.”Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Using blockchains has also allowed Golem to establish an easy and flexible payment platform.

All this has created something of a stir around the firm. According to the website investinblockchain.com, Golem managed to raise $8.6 million in investment in just 29 minutes at a launch in November 2016, as it won over the market with its Airbnb concept.

It has since then go on to continue to attract attention although it has faced criticism, according to investinblockchain, that it has been too slow in rolling out its technology. In its defence, Golem argues that it as it is navigating unchartered technological waters it has to deal with problems nobody has ever encountered before and that takes time.