Content delivery network or CDN is a term used to describe a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content. As the world becomes ever more digital, the demand for faster online processing speed is more than ever. This is why the CDN market is expected to grow exponentially. Unfortunately, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. The CDNs as we know today are centralized, which opens them up to a host of issues. To overcome these faults, decentralized CDNs have been getting a lot of attention.
How decentralized CDNs can help out businesses
#1 Increased Usage
The scale with which internet consumers are increasing is exponential. With such increasing demand, the need for CDN providers is higher than ever before. Most of the CDN providers out there like Amazon and Akamai are centralized in nature. They operate tens or hundreds of physical servers across the globe that transfer content all over the internet
However, that may still not be enough. According to data collected by EMC, the digital world is double every two and between 2013 and 2020, it will have grown 10 times larger. The primary reason behind this is the fact that the way we consume our data has shifted from textual to video. Here are some more interesting stats as per Brandwatch:
- Facebook now sees 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users.
- Snapchat users clock in a total of 8 billion average daily video views.
- U.S. adults spend an average of 1 hour and 16 minutes each day watching video on digital devices.
- 78% of people in the U.S. watch online videos every week, 55% watch every day.
When it comes to video streaming giants Netflix, the future looks brighter than ever. In the first quarter of 2018, the video service added more than 7.5 million new customers, with 5.5 million subscribers joining from outside the U.S.
This is expected to increase more in the future with the advent of AR and VR services.
#2 Page Loading
CDNs are currently not that well-distributed. If you are living in remote and obscure locations, then you may not be enjoying the best of connectivity, which will severely affect your page load times. A decentralized CDN system can be a lot more efficient than this. A well-incentivized decentralized CDN can have 100,000 or 1,000,000 nodes. These nodes may be individually smaller in size than the centralized servers, but they are better distributed.
#3 Reducing Point of Failures
By its very design, a decentralized system has much better security than a centralized system. A centralized system has a single point of failure, as all the data is stored in a central entity. In a decentralized ecosystem, the entire network shares all the data, which reduces system vulnerabilities.
#4 Cost Reduction
Finally, a decentralized CDN will be a lot cheaper. Despite costing billions of dollars, 30% of the CDN servers deployed around the world are mostly inactive. To make matters worse, this cost gets passed on to the customers. In a decentralized system, instead of maintaining expensive servers, the nodes of the network will use the free space in their hard drive to aid in the flow of content. The participating nodes will get paid in tokens for their services.
Examples of Decentralized CDNs
Now let’s take a look at some of the projects out there who are offering decentralized CDN services.
NOIA Network is one of the most promising projects in the space, which is apparent by their partnership with Cisco and their participation in the “Microsoft for Startups” program. The project is led by Domas Povilauskas and aims to build a programmable internet by creating a global Software Defined Network (SDN) on the public Internet. NOIA Network seeks to achieve this by utilizing Segment Routing, IPv6, and the blockchain technology.
The VideoCoin Network is a decentralized video platform. It provides cloud video infrastructure like video Encoding, Storage, and CDN in the form of a peer-to-peer algorithmic market. It is powered by the native protocol token where miners earn VideoCoins by providing video infrastructure services.
BlockCDN is a next-generation CDN platform built on Ethereum. BlockCDN uses advanced technology to create a distributed network of computing resources with the specific purpose of providing a low cost, CDN service with an inbuilt trading platform. It utilizes the native BCDN token to furl its system.
Theta is a decentralized video delivery network, powered by the blockchain technology. The current mainnet supports Samsung VR, Sliver.TV, and MBN - Korea’s largest business news outlet. This network uses two tokens - THETA and TFUEL. Their main aim is to disrupt the online videos streaming service.
CDN is a market that is ready for explosive growth. Since the number of internet users is not going down any time soon, the need for CDN suppliers will always be high. In the midst of all this, it is necessary to look for decentralized solutions which don’t suffer from the flaws of centralized solutions and is highly scalable. All the projects that we have mentioned in this article are taking great strides in providing a solution for decentralized CDNs.