In brief

  • Dfinity is a startup building an advanced blockchain-based computing system.
  • The company has announced that a crucial part of its “Internet Computer” is now online.
  • The company raised $195 million in 2018 from VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and others.

Dfinity, the blockchain tech startup that’s raised $195 million for its blockchain-based computing network, says it’s completed a crucial part of its system.

Dfinity is backed by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital and aims to compete with cloud computing systems like Amazon Web Services.

“The Internet Computer’s mainnet now exists,” reads a new Medium blog post from the company’s president, Dominic Williams. The “Internet Computer” is what Dfinity calls their ambitious new network; while the statement was shared today, it notes that the alpha mainnet—an early-stage iteration the network—actually went online on December 18.

At 18,000 words, the blog post is nearly a novella. In addition to explaining some of the science behind the Internet Computer’s recent activation, the note spells out a 20-year plan for the company, which was valued at nearly $10 billion last year.

“In 20 years time,” muses the post, “the Open Internet will finally be significantly bigger than Big Tech’s closed proprietary ecosystem, which will now be in terminal decline, but will take forever to disappear for similar reasons COBOL code is still running.”

Williams suggests that “open” versions of applications like Uber, Google Photos, and TikTok could be developed for the system. An “Open Rides” service, suggests the blog post, could potentially reward early adopters (so, in this cast, drivers and riders) with governance tokens

Dfinity previously developed a sample application called CanCan, in the vein of TikTok, to demonstrate some of the Internet Computer’s capabilities. One passage in the new post describes a completely user-controlled content moderation process “through which [users] can earn reward points by identifying content early that is later taken down upon sufficient consensus.”

Editor's note: This article and its headline were updated to clarify that the Dfinity public mainnet has not yet launched. That is planned for May 7.