Simple Confidential Computing: Cloud Computing. What’s In a Name?
Today we start a new series of deep-dive articles to lay down the details of the Super Protocol vision and create a meaningful conversation on confidential computing in Web3.
The first article sets the current context and problems by following the history of the cloud as a concept, how it helped solidify the current state of the Web, and how the scope of features that enabled Web business development and growth is now blocking it.
The term “cloud” has been redefined several times during the history of the Web. For the pioneers at the dawn of the internet, the idea was to create a distributed system of interconnected mainframes that would itself become the cloud. In the later vision, the cloud would mean users’ ability to access their resources (mainly data) from any device that is connected to it.
The cloud began to take modern shape only at the beginning of 2000. What happened? Before that, the Web had been mainly in the hands of a few enthusiasts. Then a remarkable thing happened: people at Amazon (a Web store at the time) were not satisfied with the speed at which they could develop new products and services. Long story short, they had innovated a new process for their developer teams and built an infrastructure that had two key features:
- allow engineers to build new services quicker and don’t take too many resources to maintain;
- enable scaling and growth of successful services (those that hit the customer demand)
In the early days, if a developer made a tool other developers might find helpful, they’d make it open source — free for others to use and build. Amazon indeed allowed other developers to use the infrastructure and software they created, but being a commercial company, they made a fee and turned it into a product.
That’s how the modern meaning of the cloud was born. From an open distributed network that anyone can use — to a proprietary infrastructure, accessed for a fee. The term stuck because AWS became hugely popular, labeling itself the pioneer.
Moreover, if in the early days AWS served its purpose and enabled other companies and services to build, scale, and become successful, today its pace of innovation is stagnating.
Amazon and other tech giants that had copied its cloud model had missed their opportunity to build an open ecosystem with an environment that would nourish innovation. Instead, we now have several competing products which are almost identical (the main differentiator is the business practices used to promote these products).
Today, cloud services feel more like a means to drive consumption and generate profits for the vendor rather than an innovative platform that could enable growth and make developers’ lives simpler.
Nothing prevents us from redefining the cloud once again, though. Based on previous ideas and history, our new definition should include the following:
- a distributed platform with no overheads or other barriers for entry/usage;
- a technology stack that enables developers and does not require much to maintain;
- an open ecosystem with no single owner where anyone could contribute.
That’s the vision behind Super Protocol! Of course, we’re not the first to approach the “Web3 cloud”. We’ve done our homework and learned from others too. That is why SP comes with confidential computing built in by default, among other things.
This is a part of an ongoing series; read on to learn about how Super Protocol is going to achieve its vision for a secure web3 native cloud.