Aethir Deep Dive: Pioneering Decentralised GPU-as-a-Service
CMC Research

Aethir Deep Dive: Pioneering Decentralised GPU-as-a-Service

17m
1 month ago

Mythos Research's latest report dives into Aethir, an up-and-coming player in the Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks (DePIN) sector, offering decentralized GPU-as-a-service.

Aethir Deep Dive: Pioneering Decentralised GPU-as-a-Service

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Context

In the rapidly evolving digital technology landscape, the demand for high-performance computing resources is soaring. Aethir emerges as a pivotal player in this dynamic field of Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks (DePIN), offering a decentralized GPU-as-a-service (GPUaaS) platform that caters to demanding sectors such as AI, cloud gaming, and virtualized computing. DePIN represents a transformative approach to constructing and scaling infrastructure networks, combining physical and digital elements to foster a more open, decentralized and transparent infrastructure across various sectors.

In 2023, the DePIN sector experienced explosive growth, with over 755 projects and a market capitalization surpassing $32 billion. This surge underscores the robust demand and investor confidence in decentralized infrastructure. The generalized-compute structures within the DePIN sector have shown increasing demand for their services, achieving utilization rates between 40-70% over the past year and generating $27.5 million in annual revenue.

The growth of the GPU-compute sector extends beyond DePIN. The demand for processing power, driven by fields such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), telecommunications, and cloud gaming, is outpacing supply. This has sparked a global race for GPU resources, led by major players like Meta, OpenAI, and Alibaba, focusing on high-performance GPUs like Nvidia's H100.

The North American GPU cloud market, a leader in this trend, is expected to rise rapidly from $3.2 billion in 2023 to $25.5 billion by 2030, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 34.8%. This trend highlights the growing necessity for robust and scalable GPU resources, positioning Aethir at the forefront of meeting these demands through its innovative DePIN-based infrastructure and strategic market positioning.

Aethir’s latest report reveals its substantial investment in this area, with $24M worth of rendering equipment spread across 25 locations in 13 countries. This infrastructure positions Aethir as a marketplace for aggregating GPU resources from enterprises, data centers, miners, and retail GPU providers, making these resources accessible to a broad audience.

Project Overview

Aethir Cloud is redefining the landscape of high-performance computing with its decentralized platform designed to bridge the gap between GPU resource providers and consumers. The platform seeks to cater to the demanding needs of industries such as AI training and inference, gaming and the visualization of devices, especially mobile phones.

On the supply side, Aethir Cloud harnesses the untapped potential of a diverse network comprising enterprises, data centers, miners and retail GPU providers. This inclusion allows for a robust and dynamic ecosystem where resources can be pooled from various sources, offering a seamless experience to consumers. The unique aspect of Aethir’s model is its resource pooling capability, which allows GPU providers to join or leave the network at will. This flexibility not only maximizes hardware utilization during downtimes but also introduces a cost-effective model, enabling Aethir to deliver competitive pricing to its consumers.

On the demand side, Aethir strategically targets enterprise segments within verticals that are highly reliant on intensive GPU resources. By creating a unified interface that aggregates distributed contributors, Aethir positions itself as a global provider capable of meeting large-scale demands across various industries.

Aethir is also pioneering the integration of Web3 technologies with the introduction of the ATH token. This initiative aligns with the decentralized ethos of blockchain fostering co-ownership and financial inclusivity among network participants. The use of ATH tokens not only incentivizes participation but also mitigates financial risks for early contributors, accelerating Aethir’s growth during its formative stages.

Innovative Technology and Market Validation

Aethir’s technology is built to handle real-time, high-load tasks with reduced latency, a critical requirement of AI and gaming applications. By adopting the Proof of Rendering mechanism, Aethir nodes will have to prove that they have completed the rendering tasks correctly, maintained integrity and trust in the network, and optimized the allocation of resources by accurately measuring the output and efficiency of each network participant. This is achieved through these network participants:

  • Containers: Containers encapsulate the rendering environments, ensuring that each task operates within a controlled, secure, and reproducible setting, regardless of the underlying physical infrastructure. This isolation helps maintain consistency and reliability across different nodes' rendered outputs.
  • Checkers: Checkers are specialized nodes responsible for verifying the accuracy and quality of the rendering tasks completed by other nodes. They perform validations to ensure that each task meets predefined standards and specifications, contributing to the trust and security of the network. Find out more information on how to validate the Containers’ performance and contribute to the network decentralization here.
  • Indexers: Indexers organize and maintain an accessible record of all tasks and their outcomes within the network. They facilitate efficient querying and retrieval of rendering results, enhancing the network’s overall efficiency and responsiveness.

Core Benefits for Stakeholders within the Aethir Ecosystem

GPU Supply: Established Infrastructure Providers

  • Typical Users: Telecommunications companies, businesses with heavy hardware usage
  • Pain Point: Underutilized hardware resources
  • Aethir’s Solution: Utilization of the GPUaaS model to enhance hardware capacity usage, providing:
  • Increased global reach through enterprise-level contracts via resource pooling  across the Aethir network.
  • Flexible engagement terms for hardware operators joining the network
  • Reduced capital expenditure risks through token incentives.

GPU Supply: New Infrastructure Investors

  • Typical Users: Investors in mining infrastructure
  • Pain Point: Excessive GPU mining equipment due to Proof of Stake transition
  • Aethir’s Solution: Provides access to a broad, enterprise client base on a global scale and includes
  • Ecosystem support to streamline and aid operations
  • Investment risks mitigated with the option for incremental investments
  • High network utilization rates meeting worldwide demands, coupled with access to token rewards
  • Enhanced returns through service fees and token incentives

GPU Supply: Retail Contributors

  • Typical Users: Individual with spare hardware capacity
  • Pain Point: Lost of investment opportunities with idle GPU
  • Aethir’s Solution: Opportunity to earn by contributing unused GPU processing power to the network
  • Direct financial gains from network participation
  • Options to hold or stake ATH token to benefit from the growth of Aethir’s ecosystem
  • Rewards for running checker nodes that help decentralize and enhance service quality across the network

GPU Consumption

  • User Types: Entities involved in AI training, AI Inference, Gaming and Virtualized Compute
  • Pain Point: High demand of GPU computing resulting in lack of chip supply in the market
  • Aethir’s Solution: Delivers enhanced computing performance with a focus on
  • Improved system performance and reduced latency for a global service
  • Localized computing options to meet specific regional requirements
  • A high-performance platform with robust API integrations
  • Competitive, dynamic pricing models that become more advantageous as adoption scales
  • Extensive global coverage ensuring a reliable and flexible supply of resources

Business Model

Aethir operates as a dynamic marketplace and aggregator, connecting node operators and GPU providers with users from sectors requiring extensive computing resources such as AI, virtualized computing, cloud gaming and cryptocurrency mining. By facilitating access to these resources, Aethir provides a cost-effective solution compared to traditional centralized web service providers. Within this ecosystem, revenue generation follows a structured model where a 20% service fee, paid in ATH tokens, is charged on transactions between customers and suppliers. Additionally, Aethir allocates 50% of all ATH tokens as incentives for node operators and service providers to maintain the ecosystem's decentralization and sustainability. Node operators can generate revenue from the following sources:

  • Service Fee: Compute buyers pay a service fee to node operators for computing power. Payment is then converted to ATH tokens and 80% of the fee is passed onto node operators while Aethir gets 20% as platform cut.
  • Proof of Rendering Work: Node operators who perform computing tasks within the ecosystem will receive token incentives as additional reward. This encourages supply-side entities to take part in Aethir’s ecosystem by acting as containers for processing and computing tasks.
  • Proof of Capacity: Compute providers also receive rewards for their resource availability for computing work. This helps to mitigate the dispersion between demand and supply side and reduce lead time.

Aethir Strength

Aethir has identified a market demand for enterprise- grade GPUaaS for AI model training, virtual compute and cloud gaming sector and successfully secured deals worth over $20 million ARR for Q1 2024 with 10 additional contracts pending.

  • Contract with the world’s largest gaming studio with 150 million monthly active players for $5 to $7 million ARR.
  • $5 to $7 million deal with Well-Link Tech, the largest cloud gaming company with  200 million users.

Aethir Earth currently features a fleet of enterprise-grade GPUs worth over $24 million, notably NVIDIA H100s distributed across 25 locations in 13 counties. Identifying the demand for H100 chips for AI model training and application, Aethir has managed to secure over 4000 units within the network and aims to acquire up to 50,800 units to the fleet within the next 6 months. With this scale of hardware resources, Aethir is determined to help AI enterprises to scale and develop the technology landscape.

Summary of Aethir’s current fleet of equipment:

Investors & Partners

In July 2023, Aethir successfully completed its Pre-A funding round, raising $9 million in total to date at a valuation of $150 million. The round was led by leading global investors such as Sanctor Capital, Hashkey, Merit Circle, and CitizenX, with further support from Mirana Ventures, Animoca Brands, Arthur Hayes from Maelstrom Fund, and many more.

Additionally, Aethis has also secured partnerships with numerous key players in the industry:

  • NVIDIA: Aethir has participated in NVIDIA Inception, a program designed to nurture startups revolutionizing industries through advancements in AI and data sciences. Being part of this program allows Aethir access to NVIDIA’s cutting edge resources, technology and expertise, which significantly bolsters their capabilities in providing GPU services. This collaboration highlights Aethir’s commitment to enhancing its technological offerings and expanding its impact globally across the gaming and AI sectors.
  • Seedify: Aethir has established a significant partnership with Seedify, a leading incubator in the blockchain space. This collaboration is set to enhance Aethir’s presence in decentralized cloud solutions, particularly focusing on Web3 gaming. Seedify’s expertise and support network will likely provide a substantial boost to Aethir, facilitating broader adoption and integration of their services across more platforms and users. This partnership reflects Aethir’s strategic approach to leverage synergies with established players in the blockchain and gaming industries to expand its market reach and capabilities.
  • Well-Link Tech: Aethir has formed a strategic partnership with Well- Link Tech, aiming to revolutionize cloud gaming and enhance AI applications through their combined technological strengths. This collaboration focuses on integrating Aethir’s decentralized GPU network with Well- Link’s expertise in real- time cloud rendering technology. Together, they plan to support 200 million users and create an advanced cloud gaming platform designed for AAA titles and mixed reality developers.
  • Aethir has also joined forces with other industry leaders such as Magic Eden, io.net, Theta Edge Cloud and many more to help power the Web3 gaming industry with GPU cloud computing services. Explore the Aethir ecosystem here.

Technical Differentiation

Aethir’s approach to enhancing its cloud services involves several innovative strategies that cater to the needs of diverse operation environments:

  1. Network Access Variety: Aethir offers a variety of network access options for its container-based services. These include peer-to-peer direct connections and server-assisted connectivity, which allows for more adaptable and efficient network management compared to traditional cloud rendering services. This flexibility is crucial for handling different operational scenarios efficiently.
  2. Transparent Evaluation Framework: Aethis has developed a transparent and objective framework to assess the specifications of containers and the overall quality of services provided. This system includes standardized evaluation frameworks to ensure consistent service across various applications and uses. Checkers within the network play a vital role in ensuring that quality is consistently delivered to users, overseeing the entire process from start to finish.
  3. Enhanced Low Latency Technologies: Aethir has implemented several technologies to reduce end-to-end latency, which is essential for delivering real-time cloud rendering experiences such as:
    • Predictive Algorithms: Utilizing techniques like Kalman filtering to stabilize input events, reducing delays significantly.
    • Advanced Video Capture: Implementing direct video capture from GPUs to minimize VSync delays, enhancing the smoothness of video playback.
    • Region of Interest (ROI) Encoding: Optimizing video encoding processes to balance bit rate and network transmission capabilities, improving the overall user experience.
    • Super Resolution Technologies: Integrating technologies like Google’s Oboe to enhance image and audio quality is particularly beneficial in regions with poor network conditions.
    • Custom Video Rendering Adjustments: Adapting video rendering and playback to accommodate various chips and operating systems, allowing for better control over latency issues.
  4. Hardware Access Diversity: Aethir supports a wide range of hardware, surpassing many of the limitations incumbent systems face. This extensive hardware support enables Aethir to provide high-quality and scalable solutions across different geographical locations and with different technical requirements.

Market Competition

Web2 Competitors

The cloud GPU market is categorized primarily by the type of GPU hardware offered (e.g. H100, A100, V100, RTX, Non-NVIDIA) and the mode of service delivery (Serverless, VM, Bare Metal). Each provider targets different customer needs, ranging from high-end computing demands like AI and machine learning to general-purpose virtualization and cloud gaming. However, Aethir stands out by integrating cutting-edge blockchain technology into its cloud GPU service, offering a unique proposition in a market populated by both traditional and specialized providers.

  • Decentralized Infrastructure: Aethir’s decentralized nature means that it does not rely on a single point of failure. This can significantly increase the resilience and reliability of the service, as the distributed nodes can compensate for individual failures without affecting the overall network. With nodes spread across various locations, Aethir can also offer lower latency connections to a broader user base. This geographical distribution helps in delivering content faster to end-users.
  • Blockchain-Powered Security and Transparency: The use of blockchain technology ensures that all transactions are immutable and traceable, providing a higher level of security against fraud and unauthorized access. Every transaction and operation in Aethir’s network can be verified by any participant, fostering a transparent environment where users have greater control over and insight into the computing resources they utilize.
  • Token Economies and Community Governance: By using the ATH token to facilitate transactions within its ecosystem, Aethir aligns the interest of various stakeholders including node operators, developers and users. This token-based system incentivizes participation and contribution, leading to a more vibrant and active community. ATH token holders can also participate in governance decisions, giving them a say in the development and operational strategies of Aethir.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Aethir’s decentralized model allows for more efficient use of resources. By harnessing idle computing power across a distributed network, Aethir can offer competitive pricing compared to centralized providers that may incur higher overheads for maintaining data centers. With blockchain, Aethir can implement dynamic pricing models that reflect real-time demand and supply, potentially offering more cost-effective solutions to its users.
  • Innovative Use Cases: Aethir is particularly well-suited for applications in fields like AI and gaming, where decentralized computing can provide significant advantages in terms of scalability, speed and processing power. The decentralized nature of Aethir’s infrastructure allows for quick scaling of resources to meet sudden increases in demand without the need for physical infrastructure expansion.

Web3 Competitors

Competitor Analysis: Aethir vs. Market Players

Render Network

Render Network is primarily focused on rendering services and has recently started expanding into AI/ ML workloads. With 4,367 GPUs connected to its network, representing over 82k TFLOPS, Render is a significant competitor in terms of its hardware capabilities. The approval of proposals like RNP-004, RNP-007 and RNP-007 as well as its partnership with io.net indicate a strategic shift to utilize under-utilized GPUs for additional computing tasks. However, while Render is diversifying into AI/ ML, Aethir already has a substantial infrastructure dedicated to high-performance applications, including AI/ ML, gaming and virtualization. Aethir’s existing and projected GPU capacity, particularly with its enterprise-grade H100 GPUs, position it as a more targeted and scalable solution for AI and decentralized cloud computing needs. Additionally, Aethir’s robust token economics and strategic growth initiatives may offer greater growth and diversification potential compared to Render’s recent pivot.

Akash Network

Akash Network focuses on AI/ ML rendering tasks, currently boasting 150 GPUs including nearly 100 A100s and several RTX 3000 and 4000 series. Despite interest from providers with high-end GPUs, such as NVIDIA H100s, Akash currently has no H100 GPUs available for lease, highlighting potential limitations in attracting and maintaining high-performance hardware. In contrast, Aethir has already secured a significant fleet of H100 GPUs and plans to scale this number to 50,800 units by mid-2024. This substantial capacity and Aethir’s strategy to maximize utilization through strategic partnerships and its decentralized model offer better performance and scalability than Akash, making Aethir a more capable and reliable choice for intensive AI/ ML workloads.

Gensyn.ai

Gensyn is a decentralized GPU network focused on AI applications, utilizing innovative protocols like Probabilistic proof-of-learning, Graph-based pinpoint protocol and Truebit-style incentive games for verification and validation. Built on a layer-1 trustless protocol structure, Gensyn ensures security and integrity within its network. However, Gensyn is currently in Devnet mode with no public statistics on its network size indicating that it is still in the early development stages. While Aethir is already operational with significant hardware infrastructure and proven market engagement through strategic partnerships and a large user base.

IOnet

IOnet is built on Solana and focuses on consumer and enterprise-grade AI/ ML applications. With over 18,000 GPUs connected, representing more than 483k TFLOPS and 460 H100 GPUs, IOnet has a significant presence in the market. The network employs a Proof of Time-Lock mechanism to ensure service quality, primarily targeting AI/ ML engineers and companies. While IOnet has a robust infrastructure, its focus is mainly on AI/ ML, which might limit diversification into other high-performance computing areas. In comparison, Aethir’s broader market focus includes AI/ ML, gaming and virtualized devices, allowing for greater diversification and market reach. Aethir has also recently partnered with IOnet to onboard Aethir’s 4000 units of H100s on the IOnet platform to accelerate the adoption of enterprise-grade compute.

Comparison of Aethir’s verification mechanism with other market competitors:

Comparison of Aethir’s network status with other market competitors:

Tokenomics

Slated for a token generation event in Q2 2024, Aethir’s native token, ATH, will serve as the ecosystem's primary medium for transactions, rewards, and governance. Designed to incentivize participation and facilitate operations, ATH compensates network participants who contribute GPU power, acting as a utility token that enables users to access the platform’s services. Additionally, ATH holders have governance rights, allowing them to vote on key decisions and influence the direction of the platform’s development.

ATH Token Distribution

Source: Aethir Whitepaper

Strategic Roadmap Ahead

Aethir’s strategic roadmap for advancing its decentralized platform includes enhancing its technology infrastructure to support a broader range of hardware and refining the launch of its highly anticipated native token. The platform is set to decentralize roles such as checkers and indexers further, expand its GPUaaS offerings, and integrate more Software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. In the cloud gaming sector, Aethir Air will introduce gyroscopic controls for a more immersive gaming experience and improve in-game communication. Aethir Earth will streamline enterprise GPU resource management with open APIs to serve a diverse clientele efficiently. Additionally, Aethir’s Cloud Smartphone Services will focus on user activity and seamless international service migration, underscoring its commitment to providing innovative and user-centric cloud solutions.

Hardware Acceleration

Aethir Edge is the latest hardware device to power the next generation of GPU cloud computing. Through Aethir Edge, anyone can contribute their underutilized broadband, IP addresses, bandwidth, or GPU computing resources to become a service provider in the Aethir computing network and earn 23% of the ATH token as reward. Powered by Qualcomm processors, the Aethir Edge is able to pool and channel GPU power through Aethir’s network directly to end users with a stable internet connection. Unlike centralized cloud services that use regional data centers to house thousands of GPUs in massive server clusters, Aethir aims to distribute the Aethir Edge globally to create a distributed fleet of cloud computing edge nodes that can deliver flawless GPU cloud computing to users at any corner of the world. By tapping into millions of underutilized GPUs worldwide, decentralization in cloud computing can also be realized. To achieve this, the Aethir Edge boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip and 12GB of LPDDR5 memory to process data-intensive workloads at the edge without compromising on machine design, working noise interruption, or colossal power consumption. With 256GB UFS 3.1 storage capacity, 1000M GE LAN network port, and WIFI6 2T2R + BT5.2 connectivity, users can connect their Aethir Edge through wireless or cable connection and manage their device configuration through a dedicated mobile app. Flexibility is the main selling point of edge computing hardware because the device owner can configure the amount of GPU power usage based on preference. For example, users can effectively continue using their computer while providing their idle GPU power to the network via the Aethir Edge. Complementing Aethir’s Checker Nodes, Aethir Edge will be another essential component of Aethir’s ultimate goal of decentralized GPU cloud computing infrastructure for AI and gaming. Aethir Edge is priced at $999 and is now available for global distributor partnership; find out more information here.

Social Traction

With a robust following of over 800k on Twitter/X, 450k Discord members and more than 20000 node sale participants, Aethir has demonstrated significant community strength and involvement. On April 25 2024, Aethir launched the Aethir Cloud Drop campaign, which has since then amassed over 500k participants. The campaign is aimed at incentivizing interaction between the community and Aethir’s ecosystem and distributing the ATH tokens to a broader range of Web 3.0 communities focused on decentralization and innovation, especially in gaming and AI. Participants can earn badges through several activities, such as purchasing Aethir Checker nodes, social media engagement, quizzes, referrals, and participating in specific NFT/ token communities. Integrating platforms like Galxe and Layer3 further enriches the quest options available, tying them directly to Aethir’s ecosystem to ensure that rewards go to the most dedicated supporters. Special rewards are also earmarked for Aethir Node owners, acknowledging their pivotal role and early adoption of Aethir’s technology. To ensure fairness, Aethir will conduct Sybil checks to prevent fraudulent claims, using sophisticated methods like cluster analysis to analyze wallet activities and connections. This ensures that the token distribution is equitable among genuine participants. The final distribution of tokens will occur in two phases, aligned with the checks to maintain the integrity of the campaign. Interested participants can sign up directly on the Aethir Cloud Drop platform and start completing tasks to earn their share of the ATH tokens.

Team

Leadership

  • Daniel Wang (Co-founder & CEO)- With roles at IVC (Partner), YGG E2 (CIO), Riot Games (Head of International Publishing), and Riot Games China (COO), Dan is a seasoned leader in the gaming and Web3 industry.
  • Mark Rydon (Co-founder & CCO)- Mark has held key roles at NOTA Platform, Flux Capital, Gaas LTD, Kulture Athletics, Inc., and Bechtel Corporation.
  • Kyle Okamoto (CTO)- Kyle has served as the CEO & General Manager at Ericsson's IoT, Automotive, and Security businesses, CEO of Edge Gravity, and Chief Network Officer at Verizon Media.
  • Paul Third (CRO)- Paul, currently the CRO at Aethir, previously co-founded and served as CEO at Triggerspot Inc and was an advisor at Creadits and Trick Studio.
  • Joe (CMO)- Joe has been helping web3 companies with go-to-market since 2017. He has focused on marketing for web3 founders by growing their brand and developer ecosystems. He has also advised on regional market expansion for large L1 blockchains and centralized exchanges, helping to acquire users across Europe and APAC.

Conclusion

Aethir is strategically positioned to capitalize on the surging global demand for AI services and the potential $600 billion Web3 AI market. By rapidly scaling its GPU infrastructure and forming key partnerships, Aethir is set to meet the high demand for processing capacity, aiming to onboard 50,800 H100 GPUs by mid-2024.

With experienced founders and a focus on underdeveloped regions, Aethir leverages cloud gaming to promote digital inclusivity and expand market reach. Overall, Aethir leads in integrating high-performance computing with decentralized technologies, driving a new era of digital innovation and inclusivity.

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