Overview

Fluence

Fluence is a peer-to-peer application platform which allows the creation of applications free of proprietary cloud providers or centralized APIs. Fluence provides a peer-to-peer development stack so that you can program p2p applications, workflows, and compose services, APIs without relying on centralized intermediaries. The Fluence stack is 100% open source, is maintained and governed by a community of developers.

At the core of Fluence is the open-source language Aqua that allows for the programming of peer-to-peer scenarios separately from the computations on peers. Applications are turned into hostless workflows over distributed function calls, which enables various levels of decentralization: from handling by a limited set of servers to completely peer-to-peer architecture by connecting user devices directly.

Applications can run computations on nodes maintained by other network members and compensate the node operators as they would at any other cloud platform. The hosting payments are executed using cryptocurrency, creating an open, decentralized application hosting market.

Why P2P?

The internet has become dominated by a handful of tech giants who control both user data and infrastructure. The position of "data totalitarians" allows them to use and misuse personal user data while also threatening other businesses continuity with single points of failure and the ability to simply turn off entire software ecosystems. Such centralized data ownership presents a single point of failure and an easy target for censorship and government manipulation. This threat is reaching a national sovereignty level, as nations become dependent upon large foreign corporations for their software operation.

This ownership concentration has been enabled by the client-server model, which tends to reward the largest companies that can operate tremendous numbers of servers most economically. By leveraging open source software, such companies attracted customers into their proprietary software ecosystems, generating billions in revenues and returning nothing to the open source community. The gap between the enhanced cloud offerings and more basic open alternatives increases, eliminating the opportunity to build competitive applications outside of the few leading cloud platforms.

Such power concentration is fundamentally dangerous not only for open source but it also makes the whole internet fragile. As the digitization of our lives constantly increases, the client-server model fails to provide a safe and reliable way of creating applications as it always gravitates to centralized control.

Compared to Web 2 tools, Fluence provides much more flexibility with regard to application design, higher security, and greater scale. P2P architecture allows applications to connect users directly to each other, to keep sensitive data under user control, it can tolerate network downtimes, it allows applications to be developed easier, managed and owned by a community of users rather than a centralized development company. The data "stays" with its owners. Single points of failure are essentially eliminated, access is democratized, IT operations are freed from the risk of dependence on a single cloud provider, and business continuity is improved.

The Web 3 world is presented by various projects working towards decentralized identity, storage, domain names, cryptocurrencies. Fluence adds the missing P2P compute layer to make these systems interoperable without introducing trusted parties, and enable the whole new set of applications.

Comparison with

Cloud platforms

Modern cloud computing platforms provide many useful services and tools that facilitate application building. However, the reliance on cloud-vendor specific tooling and processes trap customers in walled ecosystems resulting in costly and risky vendor-lock in. And as many companies already have realized, switching an application to another cloud provider or to your own infrastructure requires significant time and resources.

The Fluence stack frees developers from proprietary tooling by replacing proprietary toolsets with open-source alternatives and turning the cloud platform into a “dumb” hardware provider that can be changed at will.

Blockchain

Blockchain application platforms are based on replicated ledgers of transactions and the network consensus algorithm to update the ledger. This design, which prevents the adversarial ledger updates and protects the information from tampering, is very useful for “digital value” use cases such as cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance, NFTs, or DAOs.

The Fluence protocol doesn’t have a global network consensus or ledger at its core. It exists lower at the protocol layer stack and operates in terms of peers and their relationships, allowing the programming of any kind of distributed systems, including consensus algorithms and blockchains. Also, Fluence complements blockchain platforms with off-chain capabilities: data oracles, extensive computations, off-chain data transfer between blockchain nodes or peers.