There are dozens of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) going on right now. Technologies like Bitcoin and Ethereum and their predecessors have used the performance capabilities of the GPU for a long time, but with new cryptocurrencies like Render Token, you start to combine so many different technologies and capabilities that it gets extremely interesting. Render Token may offer a future where the cost of rendering assets in VR or AR − or any 3D medium − is significantly lower than it is today and should challenge how we think of the cloud.
There were other distributed computing projects like Folding @ Home and SETI that used people’s CPUs and GPUs for good. But those came before cryptocurrencies and those who participated only received points for their contribution. Let’s just say I’ve wasted my fair share of GPU and CPU cycles to help the Stanford team fold proteins. Why did I take you on such a tangent? Because Render Token is going to be the first cryptocurrency that provides a real value to the tokens generated.
The value of Render Token comes from the fact that every token is generated by performing a certain graphical work load sent to the user by the Render Token network, operated by OTOY. Essentially people get paid in tokens to render others’ 3D models, holograms, VR scenes, etc. You essentially have unlimited compute power at your disposal with the combination of tens of millions of gaming graphics cards in the world. OTOY’s Octane GPU renderer works on both AMDand NVIDIA. OTOY’s move is brilliant because it democratizes their renderer as the standard for this type of distributed GPU rendering system at the same time as making themselves the center of this new network. This distributed GPU network also allows OTOY to reduce the amount of cloud infrastructure they deploy for their cloud rendering platform because it essentially serves as their new cloud network.
The reason why Render Token just might become the currency of the Metaverse is because a lot of virtual worlds are being created right now in VR and AR. The Metaverse is a virtual world or series of virtual worlds that many expect to exist once enough users start to embrace VR and use it regularly. Someone is going to need to render all those virtual worlds. More importantly, people are going to need to create those models and, to create them, you’re going to need compute power like Render Token offers. With this Render Token distributed rendering network, we could see things being made faster for the Metaverse in a much more cost-effective manner. This is because Render Tokens would cost less than utilizing expensive cloud rendering infrastructure.
A few dozen of the many cryptocurrencies are based on the Ethereum (ERC-20 token standard) cryptocurrency and serve different purposes. One of the biggest hurdles for cryptocurrencies is that many people who seek to understand them fail to see an intrinsic value in the currency. This fundamentally comes from the perception that you aren’t doing anything valuable when you mine the cryptocurrency and you’re allegedly just wasting electricity and the cost of hardware.
I see a future where we have a digital currency like Render Token or Bitcoin (or a mix of both) where we pay for digital goods in virtual reality or augmented reality. Bitcoin is already used for such transactions. But it is expensive to obtain and doesn’t technically have any real value to it. Bitcoin, like nearly every currency on earth today, is based on the trust and faith people have in the currency itself. Bitcoin is still highly speculative, but it has proven that a cryptocurrency can survive multiple booms and busts and still retain the trust of its users. I think Render Token might be a little early for its time because VR and AR aren’t quite at the level of maturity where their value could be higher. Perhaps Render Token can grow with the VR and AR industry and serve as a catalyst for its growth by enabling content creators to accelerate development and time to market. But I’m trying to be measured with my expectation. OTOY’s Render Token ICO is called RNDR and will be going live on October 5.