**What is Akash Network?**
Akash Network is a decentralised marketplace for cloud storage. The cloud infrastructure market is rapidly growing and generated revenues of $129bn in 2020 according to Synergy Research Group. This is a 33.0% increase on the prior year (FY19: $97bn). Currently, 60% of all Ethereum nodes are run using centralised cloud service providers (25% of all Ethereum nodes are run on Amazon Web Services). Although unlikely, this creates the fear that if a provider was to restrict service to nodes, a significant percentage of Ethereum and likely other blockchains would go offline. Potential reasons for restricted access may include anti-cryptocurrency regulation or if these providers looked to create their own blockchain and sought to minimise competition. This should give an appreciation as to why decentralised cloud storage is an important progression for blockchains.
The Akash Network platform consists of an on-chain decentralised marketplace and an off-chain deployment platform used for hosting and managing workloads (which is anchored to the blockchain). This model follows similar blockchain-based platforms who state that on-chain data hosting is too expensive (due to poor scalability) and see it as a deterioration in personal privacy (i.e. “the right to be forgotten” introduced by GDPR). The developers state that it is faster, more efficient and cheaper than their centralised counterparts. They estimate that Akash Network will be able to provide cloud storage at 10% the cost of Amazon who currently charge $0.045 per GB.
Akash Network looks to target current underutilised data centres which they estimate at being upwards of seven million data centres. It acts as a supercloud platform to present clients with a single cloud platform, regardless of which particular provider they may be using.
Akash Network’s Mainnet 1.0 was released in September 2020 which saw the introduction of staking and on-chain governance. Thereafter, the road to Mainnet 2.0 commenced – building up to what was called the Akashian Challenge. The two week testnet saw over 3,600 applications deployed including UniSwap, WordPress, Super Mario and MySQL. The developers state that by having its frontend deployed on Akash’s decentralised cloud, UniSwap can provide its users access to $1.4 billion of liquidity that can’t be shut down by centralised cloud providers.
A vote was held on the Akash Network to pass the Mainnet 2.0 upgrade proposal which saw a 82.35% majority. Akash Network’s Mainnet 2.0 is expected to go live on 8 March 2021.
**Who are the actors within Akash Network?**
Validators secure Akash Network by validating transactions and verifying blocks. The network will commence with 64 validators which will grow over time and reach 277 validators by the tenth year (and continue increasing in line with this). Validators are incentivised by charging delegators a commission fee in Akash Token.
Delegators are holders of Akash Token that stake their tokens for the purpose of securing the network. Delegators receive a proportion of the transaction fee as well as block rewards in exchange for staking. Note that the Akash Token can be staked on wallets such as Cosmostation or Keplr and currently has a return of c.52%.
Providers are those that offer their under-utilised capacity on Akash Network and earn income for their contributions. Providers are required to maintain a stake in Akash Token as collateral which is proportionate to their hourly income earned.
Tenants are those individuals that lease capacity offered by providers. They are able to discriminate between providers by requesting specific regions, privacy features and the maximum price they are willing to pay for the lease. The provider is chosen by way of a reverse auction process.
**Who is in Akash Network’s team?**
Greg Osuri and Adam Bozanich are the co-founders of Akash Network and are the CEO and CTO of the network respectively. Prior to creating Akash Network together, they both created Overclock Labs which aimed to build a decentralised infrastructure network “to make foundational elements of the internet open, decentralised and secure”. Overclock Labs are the company behind Akash Network ([https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/21/overclock-labs-bets-on-kubernetes-to-help-companies-automate-their-cloud-infrastructure/](https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/21/overclock-labs-bets-on-kubernetes-to-help-companies-automate-their-cloud-infrastructure/)).
Greg Osuri has a number of short-term experiences (majority around two years) including a consultancy role at IBM and AngelHack where he helped found a developer ecosystem with over 50,000 developers.
Adam Bozanich also has a number of short-term experiences, most notably as a QA automation engineer at Symantec and his time as a self-employed software consultant working with One King’s Lane, Rabbl and Marketron. It appears that both co-founders have found a spot where they believe they can make an impact and this has translated into a tenure longer than any previous experiences.
Boz Menzalji and Cheng Wang are the COO and CFO of Akash Network. They previously worked together on Refereum – a games reward platform that rewards individuals for playing games and watching streams. The blockchain based project seems like something that just looked to capitalise on the cryptocurrency boom in 2017/2018 and doesn’t seem to have any intrinsic value.
Boz Menzalji was previously a manager at Paydici – a billing infrastructure business that was acquired by North American Bancard who process upwards of $50bn of electronic payments per year.
Cheng Wang has also worked in a substantial number of global businesses including Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs in an analyst/associate type role. Most notably, Cheng Wang served as the Vice President at RBS with a specific focus on debt and valuations.
Maly Ly is the CGO (Chief Growth Officer) at Akash Network. She has grown three early stage startups to profitability and unicorn status with over twenty years experience in business growth. She has some of the strongest credentials in the team holding the Interim CMO position at Relativity Space, the CMO position at YouCaring (which was acquired by GoFundMe) and the Global Head of Growth & Engagement at Eventbrite.
**What is Akash Token required for and how is it distributed?**
The Akash Token (“AKT Token”) is the native utility token built on the Akash Network. As with the launch of Mainnet 1.0, the AKT can be staked on the network to secure the Proof of Stake network. To incentivise early adoption of the platform, the initial inflation was set at c.54% and will gradually decrease over time to approximately 10% by September 2025.
The AKT is also used for on-chain governance proposals with individuals able to vote for proposals set out for the future of the network.
However, the release of Akash Network’s Mainnet 2.0 will see the intended functionality of the network being made online. Thereafter, the AKT token will be used also for reserve actions. Leasing costs on Akash Network can be settled using any whitelisted coins and tokens (not only AKT tokens). However, when an order is placed, the AKT token is used as a reserve currency of the ecosystem. This means that when the order is placed, an exchange rate is locked between AKT tokens and the settlement currency. This way, providers and tenants are protected from any price volatility of AKT tokens.
At the point of Genesis, there were a total of pre-mined 100,000,000 AKT tokens. These were predominantly distributed to investors and the network’s team and advisors with 33.8% and 27.0% of tokens allocated to them. Although this seems substantially high, it should be noted that these parties would only hold 15.3% of the maximum supply of 388,539,008 should they retain their tokens until this point. This is as almost all AKT tokens will be distributed as network rewards in exchange for staking their tokens.
The team has sought to be transparent with stakeholders and have depicted the unlock schedule at which point parties who received pre-mined tokens can dispose of their tokens. Approximately 15.3% of the 100,000,000 AKT tokens have already been unlocked with five more key dates leading to March 2023 at which point all tokens will be available for disposal.
Feel free to go to [https://akash.network/token/](https://akash.network/token/) where they graphically show how AKT tokens will be distributed and how pre-mined tokens will be unlocked.
**Who is Akash Network working with?**
There have been a number of smaller scale partnerships including Kava Lab’s USDX which is the first external settlement token enabled on the platform. However, some of the more prominent partnership’s for Akash Network are:
* Solana: Akash Network will be able to run smart contracts on Solana’s smart contract platform. By interoperating with Solana, users will be able to run dApps and settle using the Solana token on Akash;
* Cosmos Ecosystem: Similar to above, supporting inter-blockchain compatibility will enable Akash Network to operate with multiple blockchains more easily. ThorChain has already promoted the movement from centralised cloud platforms to Akash Network; and
* Chainlink: Everybody’s favourite oracle provider Chainlink will be utilised to ensure that Akash Network’s users have access to the most secure and accurate price data available which will support decision making processes on the cost of lease fees.
**What does Akash Network have in plan for the future?**
As noted above, Akash Network’s Mainnet 2.0 is expected to go live on 8 March 2021 subsequent to an overwhelming majority vote in favour of the deployment. As part of Mainnet 2.0, we can expect the following:
* Deployment of marketplace to enable providers and tenants to participate in an on-chain auction system;
* Inter-blockchain compatibility with the Cosmos ecosystem will reduce the barriers to interoperability for blockchains;
* Deployment of tools to streamline the developer experience; and
* Execution of Tendermint’s state sync which will significantly reduce network joining times.
Akash Network have also developed a portable supercomputer which can operate as a node on Akash Network ([https://akash.network/supermini/](https://akash.network/supermini/)). An initial three hundred were sold and will be shipped in 3Q21. This will enable greater decentralisation as it will increase the ability for individuals to run independent nodes.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a more long-term roadmap looking at how they want to begin capturing more of the market.
**Who are Akash Network’s competitors?**
The cloud infrastructure market is dominated by three centralised providers. These are Amazon, Microsoft and Google who have a c.62% market share between them. Centralised cloud services have benefited greatly by exploiting the economies of scales derived from having lower associated costs by way of administrative activities and ease of tracking data across the platform.
Decentralised cloud providers have entered the market and look to leverage the increased flexibility provided by their services. Smaller businesses may find it hard to utilise centralised cloud services which can be inflexible and expensive as they tend to provide cost benefits proportionate to the size of storage. The fundamental nature of decentralised platforms also results in a more resilient structure without a single point of failure.
Within the decentralised provider space, more specifically those that are involved in blockchain, Akash Network does face competition from Siacoin and Storj but more interestingly, it appears that they could potentially work together. This is as Siacoin and Storj both are storage platforms which could be integrated onto Akash Network to expand their capacity. This is something that is already being investigated and the Akash Network team are already working with Storj Labs on this.
Akash Network looks to create a platform that will support the transition to decentralised cloud storage for decentralised blockchains and wider storage demands. The concept behind the platform is extremely strong and it doesn’t appear that there are tangible competition facing them – especially none that have the level of relationships that Akash Network have by way of the Cosmos ecosystem and Solana.
To say that Akash Network will take over the world of cloud storage would be a great exaggeration but I believe that it could definitely cement its position as the leading cloud storage solution within blockchain which in itself would provide significant value to any token-holder. The Mainnet 2.0 release is almost upon us and a successful launch will help stakeholders see the strength of this platform as tangible metrics begin to be provided by the developers regarding the uptake of the platform.
Or feel free to read it at: [https://www.publish0x.com/diving-into-the-sub-300-coins/akash-network-akt-a-decentralised-marketplace-for-cloud-stor-xpnyopo](https://www.publish0x.com/diving-into-the-sub-300-coins/akash-network-akt-a-decentralised-marketplace-for-cloud-stor-xpnyopo)