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DFINITY is a public network of client computers providing a “decentralized world compute cloud” where software can be installed and run with all the usual benefits expected of “smart contract” systems hosted on a traditional blockchain. The underlying technology is also designed to support highly resilient tamperproof private clouds that provide the added benefit that hosted software can call into smart contracts on the public cloud. DFINITY is an Ethereum-family technology and is fully compatible with the public Ethereum network – if you can run a Dapp on Ethereum, you can run it on DFINITY too. There exist several fundamental differences between the networks however, and they are really sister systems offering different things. DFINITY introduces new crypto:3 protocols and techniques that aim to deliver extreme performance, unlimited scalability, interoperability and other benefits. A beta network created using the “Copper Release” client software is expected towards the end of Q1 2018.
DFINITY is conceived as an extension of the Ethereum ecosystem – a sister world computer network that prioritizes performance and scalability and where smart contracts are subject to a decentralized intelligence, which is very different to “The Code is Law”. This will bring people into the ecosystem that have different needs that performance and decentralized governance by a distributed AI can solve. Of course, the features we provide involve some design tradeoffs. This is not a zero sum game.
Right now numerous decentralized platforms are vying for dominance. The Ethereum ecosystem can win by eschewing monoculture. For example, during the 1990s many different hardware platforms vied for dominance. These included the PowerPC, SPARC and 8086 family architectures. In the end 8086 won largely because it was a more diverse ecosystem that provided more options.