by Matt Hawkins, founder and CEO of Cudo Ventures
The cloud is not just a handy term for a range of web-based services – it’s also an apt metaphor for how we now experience much of our digital lives. Data streams invisibly and seamlessly to and from our devices offer us everything we need at the touch of a button or swipe of a screen. But this convenience conceals an inconvenient truth. In reality, the cloud is dependent on a vast, complex material infrastructure, from tens of thousands of miles of subsea cables to data centres that stretch over a million square feet and contain hundreds of thousands of servers.
This infrastructure sits out of sight – and, for most users, out of mind – but its environmental impact is substantial. According to a study published by MIT, the world’s data centres use 200 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy each year – that’s more than is used by entire countries, including Poland, Sweden, and Argentina.
So-called “hyper-scale” data centres – of which there are now more than 700 worldwide – are particularly demanding. They not only require energy to power room after room of servers but also to support the extensive air conditioning systems needed to keep them from overheating.
As a result, the cloud industry now boasts a larger carbon footprint than pre-COVID air travel. So finding a sustainable alternative for cloud computing is a vital task – and it will only become more urgent in the coming years. That’s why Cudo Compute aspires to become a sustainable and decentralised cloud option for the future.
The growing environmental impact of cloud computing
As staggering as the cloud’s current ecological impact may be, the future offers little cause for optimism. The growth of cloud computing accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This translated into substantial commitments on the part of industry leaders to build new data centres.
Emerging trends across the digital sector suggest that the demand for cloud computing resources will soar over the next decade. The rapidly developing market for smart home devices will make many common appliances reliant on the cloud to operate. More significantly, the concept of the “metaverse” has begun to shift from a utopian dream to an emerging reality.
Understood in broad terms as a persistent, interoperable virtual world, the metaverse will require unprecedented amounts of computing resources, all hosted by and delivered through the cloud. Given the current state of the cloud computing market, this means only one thing: more data centres, rising energy demands, and a dangerously large carbon footprint.
But this isn’t the only option. The current reliance on hyper-scale data centres is not inevitable but a result of extreme centralisation. According to 2021 data, two companies – Amazon and Microsoft – provide 54% of the world’s cloud infrastructure. Further, maintaining the economies of scale and safeguarding against demand surges forces both companies to rely heavily on hyper-scale solutions.
Evidently, we need a more radical solution. The Cudos network soon to launch its mainnet, aims to provide the infrastructure to eventually launch an innovative decentralised cloud platform – Cudo Compute.
Cudos’ blockchain-based solution for an eco-friendly cloud
Thanks to blockchain technology innovations, we now have the tools to enable secure, peer-to-peer transactions on a global scale without needing a centralised authority to manage or execute them. But blockchain protocols aren’t just useful for trading digital currencies and tokens – they can also facilitate the distribution of computing power. Developing this idea, the Cudos network will enable those with spare computing resources to link up directly with those seeking cloud services, providing the basis for fully decentralised cloud infrastructure.
Rather than relying on a small number of centralised providers, the decentralised cloud can be distributed across a vast network of devices, from gaming PCs and consoles to traditional small-scale data centres. This will help counter the sustainability issues of the current cloud market by avoiding reliance on hyper-scale providers, tackling the rising tide of e-waste, and minimising the risk of repeated, highly damaging outages.
Following an extensive testing process, the Cudos network will be launch its mainnet in the coming months. The Cudo Compute platform will follow soon, offering a sustainable cloud computing solution that anyone can use. Register your interest today to participate in the pilot phase of Cudo Compute and receive rewards for helping build a greener future for the web.