Discussion with DFINITYNodes: Community Building the Internet Computer

Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller
Discussion with DFINITYNodes: Community Building the Internet Computer
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Until now, it's been nearly impossible for the average person to participate in running a node on the Internet Computer. The hardware requirements and application processes are beyond the reach of almost everyone except data center owners.

But that's all about to change thanks to DFINITYNodes!

I sat down with Cole, the Founder of DFINITYNodes, to learn how his team hopes to revolutionize the way people can help build, and benefit from, the Internet Computer's rapidly growing network.

Interview with Cole

Geoffrey: Cole, please tell me a little about yourself, your team, and how you all got involved with the Internet Computer.

Cole: My pleasure, Geoffrey!

Hi everyone, I’m Cole, the Founder of DFINITYNodes. I’m 18 years old, and right now, I work at a CNC (computer numerical control) shop, where I program and run a waterjet cutter. I’ve been involved in crypto for a bit over a year now, and I have loved the entire experience! I got involved with the Internet Computer (IC) around Genesis back in May. When I found the Internet Computer, I immediately fell in love with the tech and its extraordinary potential to enhance the blockchain ecosystem.

However, I never really got involved in the DFINITY Community and other related Internet Computer groups until September, when Marcus, Keegan, and I founded ICP Art. I was mesmerized by this ecosystem of ours and everything being built on it. I knew I had to put my mind to good use and contribute in a more meaningful way!

When I got the idea for DFINITYNodes, it was my chance to bring something to the table that everyone will benefit from in the long run. The development team we’ve built features brilliant people, all very talented, so here’s an introduction to the team.

Tsimafei - Lead Developer

Achievements:‌‌
- 4 Years of Experience in Blockchain Development‌‌
- Developed Quras Blockchain‌‌Developed Block Explorer / Web
- Wallet‌‌Developed an ASIC testnet / mining tool‌‌
- Built Front-end & Back-end exchange site‌‌
- Developed trading logic & coin API servers‌‌
- Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Science

Education & Skills:‌‌
- Studied at Waseda University‌‌
- Experienced in GoLang, Solidity, C/C++, Python, Node.js, React.js, Vue.js, HTML, Flutter, CSS & IOS

Jeff - Developer & Server Maintenance

Achievements:‌‌
- 20 years of experience in the IT industry‌‌
- 15 years of experience in Linux System Administrations‌‌
- 15 Years of experience building and operating remote data center facilities‌‌
- 10 Years of experience leading an IT Operations Team‌‌
- CISSP Certification

Education & Skills:‌‌
- Studied at Siena Heights University‌‌
- Experienced in automating operations with Ansible, Python & Shell

Ed - Server Maintenance

Achievements:‌‌
- 15 years of experience in the IT industry‌‌
- 8 years of experience in Linux System Administrations‌‌
- 6 years of experience as a Network Engineer‌‌
- CISSP Certification

Education & Skills:‌‌
- Studied at Saginaw Valley State University‌‌
- Experienced in Python, HTML, & Java

Geoffrey: Impressive! That's truly an all-star team! Before we get into the specifics of what you all plan to do together, tell our readers more about the basics of nodes on the Internet Computer. How do node rewards work? Break it down for us.

Cole: Of course! Nodes are the infrastructure of the Internet Computer. They support the network by providing computational power. There are a few different kinds of nodes. There are storage nodes, core compute nodes, and boundary nodes. These nodes work together to create subnets, which are blockchains that unite into the singular entity we know as the Internet Computer. Node operators are each rewarded for their contribution to the network. Node rewards are determined differently depending on the type of node. To give an idea of what kind of returns on investment is possible, here's a walk-through (using DFINITY Foundation formulas) of how rewards work for boundary nodes.

The open reward (which is the reward for day-to-day operating costs) is determined as follows: Monthly Opex Allowance (Monthly Fees and Expenses) * 2.5 / Average Monthly Value of ICP.

The Capex Reward (which is the reward for major expenses over the long-term) is determined as follows: Capex (Total Capital Invested) / 48 Month Term * 2.5 / Average Monthly Value of ICP.

If we assume $800 for monthly fees and expenses (which in reality would vary by location and other factors) and $5000 of total capital investment, we’re left with...

Opex Rewards: $800 * 2.5 = $2000 / ~$40 ICP Monthly Average = 50 ICP per Month ($2000 per Month).

Capex Rewards: $5,000 / 48 = $104.17 * 2.5 = $260.42 / (Approximately $40 Monthly Average) = 6.51 ICP per Month ($260.42 per Month).

This comes to a total possible return of about 56.5 ICP ($2,260 USD) monthly, or 678 ICP ($27,120 USD) annually (Calculated at a $40 ICP Monthly Average); which, excluding data center costs, could very well be over 185% APY!

As a disclaimer, returns aren't guaranteed, and they'll vary by location and upkeep. My point here is simply to illustrate what is possible, and I think everyone should be able to share the benefits of successfully operating a node.

Geoffrey: Incredible! Nodes can be lucrative, and I can understand why people want to help run them. But is it easy to get a node on the Internet Computer? What's required?

Cole: That's a great question, Geoffrey. To become a node operator on the Internet Computer, you must meet a few requirements. To start, node operators must be approved by the DFINITY Foundation, and with a lengthy list of applicants, it could take quite some time for the average person to move to the top of the waiting list.

Also, there is an entry barrier of about $5k-$20k USD, depending on whether you decide to provide storage, core computer, or boundary node. Combine all of this with high-speed network requirements, low downtime rate tolerances, and you'll pretty much need your own data center to provide a node. And, data centers aren’t exactly accessible or affordable for most people.

Geoffrey: Cole, that's quite an entry barrier. When did you first start thinking about these challenges to providing nodes on the Internet Computer? How did the idea for DFINITYNodes come about to help resolve these entry barriers?

Cole: Well, when I initially dove into the Internet Computer back around the Genesis launch, I had a gut feeling that I'd found the future of crypto. I mean, I knew I had to get involved in participating in this blockchain long-term.

Sadly, upon researching how to provide nodes, I faced the unfortunate reality that participating in building out the network's infrastructure would not be a possibility for me. The entry costs were too high for my budget, which was rather disappointing. However, I wasn’t going to let that deter me, so I faithfully DCA’d (dollar-cost-averaged) into this amazing ecosystem to at least participate financially and have some day in network governance via the NNS dapp.

Yet here we are, only eight months later, with DFINITYNodes and a workable plan to give every Internet Computer user a chance to participate in providing and benefitting from nodes! The idea itself came to me randomly. One day, I was brainstorming and working through ideas for the Art DAO, and it just hit me. Nodes are possible for the average Internet Computer user! We have to work together, utilizing the power of a DAO! I had the foundation of a plan, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. The idea continued to snowball every day, and I couldn’t go a day at work without stopping to take notes. Eventually, I got to the point where I could write a Non-Technical Whitepaper and bring a team together to make DFINITYNodes a reality in the form of a utility token.

Geoffrey: That's awesome, Cole! Briefly, what are the DFINITYNodes Protocol and DAO? How does it address limitations of the current way nodes are owned and operated?

Cole: In a nutshell, DFINITYNodes is a DAO that aims to give the average Internet Computer user a chance to provide and benefit from nodes on the Internet Computer.

We’ll do this by leveraging NFTs as shares that can be staked in a boardroom to participate in node governance. Our Core Team will propose withdrawals to the DAO, backed by receipts, quotes, and contracts, to fund the development of nodes. Node shareholders will then govern these proposals, with perhaps a 70% threshold to pass proposals (we're still working on the details). The ICP rewards from these nodes will then be deposited into a reward treasury within the DAO. Upon the completion of each node reward epoche (a monthly basis), ICP will be minted and airdropped to node shareholders.

The DAO will also host a shared marketplace, where users can freely trade node shares at competitive rates. This will be coupled with a buy-back mechanism that utilizes 5% of monthly node rewards and 2.5% of market transactions to buy as much of the floor as possible. This will provide liquidity to the investor while also steadily increasing the ICP reward per share. All shares accumulated through the buy-back mechanism will be burned, resulting in fewer total node shares overall.

This solves quite a few issues for people who are interested in getting involved, including:

  • An individual who might not be able to afford the upfront fees for a Node + data center costs.
  • An individual who might not have the connections and skills to work with a data center and node.
  • As the Internet Computer expands and more people are interested in providing nodes, an individual might get lost in the flood of node applications.

Geoffrey: Cole, everything you've laid out here has me on the edge of my seat! It's exciting! When can people get in on the opportunity of DFINITYNodes? How will they be able to participate?

Cole: You're right to be excited! And don't worry, people won't have to wait long. We currently have an approximate date of February for the launch of the DAO. That being said, we have a great development team working on it full-time, so there’s a possibility the launch will happen even earlier! Our DFINITY and community relations will undoubtedly help to facilitate the process.

Everyone will be able to participate in the DFINITYNodes DAO via a Plug Wallet, where they’ll interact with DAO governance, crowd-funding, and the share marketplace, among other things.

We've got cool stuff planned!

Until launch, you can stay connected with us here:

Geoffrey: Wow! At most, then, we're only a couple of months away from launch. After that, what's DFINITYNodes's roadmap for the future? How will it adapt to changing ICP prices and the growth of the Internet Computer network?

Cole: Glad you asked! Right now, DFINITYNodes has a one-year roadmap, with a three-year vision to host one node cluster on every continent and a ten-year vision to host one node cluster in every country.

Ambitious, I know - but we can do this!

Phase One — Q4 2021 — Preparation

  • Organize Core Development Team
  • Set up a Medium, Twitter, Discord, Telegram, DSCVR, Distrikt
  • Technical & Non-Technical Whitepaper, Roadmap, and Timeline
  • Connect with Strategic Partners to coordinate a “public launch.”
  • Connect with the DFINITY Foundation and the Internet Computer Association to accelerate the growth of DFINITYNodes
  • Connect with Legal Counsel
  • Begin DAO Development
  • Source Datacenter Quotes in applicable countries
  • Apply for a DFINITY Grant

Phase Two — Q1 2022 — Genesis

  • Launch of the DFINITYNodes DAO
  • Genesis Crowd-Funding Event
  • Finalize Generation Details through proposals, ex; Location of the Nodes, Datacenters, etc.
  • Begin sourcing Node Hardware
  • Finalize Datacenter Contracts & assemble Genesis Nodes

Phase Three — Q2 2022 — Activation

  • Activation of Genesis Nodes
  • Excess funds are returned to Node Share-Holders
  • Node Rewards are shared among Governors who stake Node Shares within the DFINITYNodes DAO.
  • Additional features proposed to share-holders.
  • Crowd-Funding for the Next Generation will begin semi-annually unless Stakers propose an advance

Three-Year Vision

  • At least one Internet Computer Node hosted in each Continent
  • At least 100 Nodes hosted through the DFINITYNodes DAO
  • 50% of all Internet Computer Nodes hosted outside of North America
  • 250,000 Unique Node Providers through the DFINITYNodes DAO

Ten-Year Vision

  • At least one Internet Computer Node hosted in each Country
  • At least 1000 Nodes hosted through the DFINITYNodes DAO
  • 70% of all Internet Computer Nodes hosted outside of North America
  • 2,500,000 Unique Node Providers through the DFINITYNodes DAO

How DFINITYNodes Will Adapt

The crowd-funding process for DFINITYNodes will repeat semi-annually, or if a land-slide majority of 70% of DAO shareholders vote on another node superseding the schedule. Moreover, to adapt to the rapid growth of the Internet Computer, we plan to eventually create quarter shares that will cost perhaps .075 ICP each and reward quarter shares accordingly. In the event that someone collects four-quarter shares, it'll be treated as a whole share. These quarter shares can be burned and exchanged, just like entire shares. All that's different is that the payout formula result gets divided by four.

Conclusion

Cole, thank you so much for walking us through your plans with DFINITYNodes. We here at the Dfinity Community are excited to see your project develop and will do our part to get the word out. I'm sure we'll be hearing from you again very soon!

Connect with DFINITYNodes

Medium | Telegram | Discord


Connect With The Author: Twitter

  • Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original author and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Dfinity Community staff and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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