Hello all –
As the end of the year approaches, we wanted to take the time to address some important topics. There have been some updates since our last community call, so please do read the full update.
As announced a few weeks ago, after more than five years of building and expanding the open-source ThreeFold Grid, it’s now time to go commercial. This includes the introduction of TF Grid 4.x, a cooperative model, ThreeFold Cloud services, and more. We are extremely excited about this next chapter where we as a team really focus on utilization of this network.
- November 30 2023 ThreeFold Community Call: Recording!
- ThreeFold Website & Blogs
We invite you to dive into the above materials to get a fuller understanding of where we are headed. We will continue to roll out information on the next chapter and ask those who are interested to get involved. Please note some information may need to be edited based on the updates below.
We should be proud – we are one of the biggest players in DePIN
Decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN) are blockchain (or peer-to-peer) protocols that build, maintain and operate infrastructure in the physical world in an open and decentralized manner. DePINs use cryptocurrency tokens to incentivize building of real-world infrastructure.
Our current network is among the largest ones in the DePIN space. (By the way, check out our recent listing on DePIN Hub.)
We are going commercial!
This is a big deal. We go from a pure open-source best effort model (see below), to a hybrid model where decentralization is achieved because of:
- Decentralized network of compute, storage and network capacity
- Utilization of both crypto and fiat currencies (TFT remains essential as the commercial utility of our project, for financial transactions, to reserve capacity, for staking & slashing, etc)
- Cooperative-based governance model (group providers & buyers of the IT resources)
- A true peer-to-peer tracking, provisioning & automation platform.
Our first commercial products are being defined and will be related to another big decentralized movement going on around the fediverse and decentralized communities.
The current 3.x TF Grid is an open-source, best effort project
We’ve observed that many members of the community expect commercial support or even specific guarantees from ThreeFold Tech and ThreeFold DMCC. This is not now, nor has it ever been our intent. Bugs are a common occurrence in any software, and in our project it’s possible that some of these bugs can affect uptime or farming rewards.
If such bugs are identified, TF DMCC makes every effort to promptly escalate them to TF Tech. However, it’s important to note that TF DMCC cannot assume responsibility for any of these bugs or other potential drawbacks associated with the use of open-source software.
TF Tech is a Belgium-based company which is the creator of the ThreeFold open-source technology. ThreeFold DMCC (Dubai) is the entity which promotes and supports the TF Grid. The TF Grid is based on technologies that have been built and generously provided by TF Tech.
TF Grid capacity (storage, network and compute) is being delivered by thousands of farmers, who also do not currently provide commercial support or guarantee uptime or minimal performance.
TF DMCC has secured investors and anticipates receiving funding in Q1 2024 and aims to move all responsibilities of the TF Grid to the new cooperative approach.
The next chapter brings a strong focus on commercialization and utilization. In the future, individuals seeking to utilize our TF Grid and obtain a service level agreement will have the opportunity to do so through the commercial services offered by TF DMCC. TF DMCC will actively monitor, support, and enhance products to ensure they are exceptionally reliable and highly available.
We anticipate the TF Grid might lose capacity
We have heard from some farmers that there is a chance that they might not be able to support their farms, as they are running out of funding and cannot pay for the data center and network capacity. They still would like to participate in TF Grid 4.x and be part of our commercial offering, as there will be funding available to support high-quality farms.
Farmers are currently facing profitability challenges within the existing model, resulting in a chicken-and-egg scenario. The TFT price can only rise with increased utilization, yet utilization will only grow when customers gain greater confidence in service levels (including uptime and support), stringent legal documentation, and performance guarantees.
We believe that the move to a cooperative-driven decentralized movement, which combines the best of both worlds, is a must and should be executed on asap. A cooperative is decentralized by design and allows for well-defined agreements and service levels and protection for all stakeholders (including farmers). The Internet capacity will still be hosted by independent farmers and be distributed. As well, farmers will be able to set their own pricing and stake on their farms.
We deeply appreciate the support from the community and are very happy with the remarkable achievements thus far. A significant amount of compute and storage capacity is now accessible, and the software has demonstrated its reliability and effectiveness.
New minting (farming) rules are operational and some farmers are unhappy with the outcome
Earlier this year, the community voted to pass new stricter minting rules, which were implemented starting the month of November. As a result of this change, some farmers received fewer tokens, and we have seen concerned comments come through on the chats and directly with the support team.
To reiterate, the intent of the updated minting rules is to ensure that only nodes that are functioning well and able to receive workloads are rewarded with minted tokens. However, the impact clearly went beyond what the community anticipated when approving the GEP. To address this particular situation, ThreeFold DMCC will be proposing a new GEP to adjust the minting rules for Farmerbot-managed nodes to make certain penalties less severe.
This GEP will include a provision to pay farmers from the treasury to make up what they would have received in November under the latest rules. Since no error has been found in the execution of minting itself, there will be no new round of minting for November.
The goal of the proposal is not to eliminate the new Farmerbot-related checks entirely, or to make accommodations for known or potential bugs. Rather, it is about finding the right balance between the interests of farmers and the need for a reliable network that’s ready for utilization. To that end, the GEP will also include requirements around uptime and bandwidth that have always been a part of the model but not yet activated.
We expect that the cooperative-based approach (here, and see below) to farming rewards will result in a more flexible system that allows stakeholders to find an even better balance of their particular interests.
New: We need to protect ourselves against criminal behavior
We have long discussed as a community the implications of inadvertently hosting illegal content on the Grid, with the introduction of KYC and reputation systems being common suggestions. Recently, the police contacted one of our farmers in relation to illegal workloads potentially running on our grid. Having illegal workloads hosted on the grid is of course something we can’t accept – and we need to find a way to protect both the farmers and ThreeFold from criminal behavior. The current situation is that everyone signs T&Cs and yet we have no real ability to know who’s who, we need to change this urgently.
We will therefore be making the following changes as soon as possible:
- Every person (farmer and customer) needs to be a member of a new TF Grid Cooperative and will pay 10 USD per month (suggestion) to the cooperative for being part of our network. There will be a discount for contributors, students and existing farmers (e.g. only a setup fee of 20 USD, no monthly for TBD months).
- We will implement an identity management system (as owned by the cooperative). This identity management system will verify SMS, Email, Matrix Chat Addr.
- We will make sure our system can comply with what authorities are requesting e.g. proof of identity for domain names being operated on our Grid, for Farmers, etc.
- We will make ZOS (our operating system) more secure & private. Workloads like VMs will only be accessible over our private network technology (Mycelium) and all incoming public web traffic will have to use our new Web Gateway v4.
- There will be a KYC/AML requirement if people spend more than TBD USD per month.
- We minimally need 5 guardians who will run validators (more is better). These guardians will be known publicly and have signed an agreement with ThreeFold.
- Public IP address & Wireguard/Yggdrasil will stop in TBD time in Q1 2024. Some aspects may be restored later once we know how to resolve management issues associated with public IP addresses.
Minting of all new TFT will stop ~Q2 2024 – our aim is to bring more reward to our Farmers
We’ve gotten a lot of feedback and we believe we have found a way to reward farmers better while no longer minting TFT (on Grid 3.x or Grid 4.x). By stopping the creation of new TFT and improving the reliability which results in more utilization, we will benefit the TFT. We realize this might come as a surprise to some, but we believe it’s for the best for everyone.
- The TF Cooperative will decide the farming rewards and reward farmers based on capacity provided and utilization.
- The TFT will come from the existing TFT treasury (no new TFT minting). Our aim is to provide at least the same amount of rewards that farmers receive today.
- Farmers will have to be members of the cooperative, and minimal response (to support the nodes), uptime & performance requirements will have to be met.
- TFT earned will form part of a liquidity pool and will only be released in a controlled manner.\
Please note that there remain many use cases for TFT – all of the financial transactions in our ecosystem go through TFT, needed for staking and slashing, needed for utilization – and it stays the commercial utility of our project.
Moving ahead: actionable items now
We firmly believe that cooperatives presents a strong decentralized governance model and that heading in this commercial direction with greater reliability is the right way forward for the project. Now is the time to take some key actions!
We will create an ebook around the cooperative to better lay out how we see the cooperative functioning. This will all be open to community feedback and input.
We are looking for a team of 3-5 people who will actively set up the cooperative or integrate in an existing cooperative, and prepare all that is needed. The total process may take a couple of months.
We are looking for at least 5 guardians for running validators. The cooperative will reward a TBD reward per month for being a validator (won’t be much at start, but will grow).
Please contact us.
More to come next week,
Sam (on behalf of the team)