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Runtime- the Missing Piece of Web3
The Elastos Web3 aims to revolutionize the foundations of computer Operating Systems (OS) and usher in a new era of true data ownership and peer-to-peer data trading. Elastos’ Runtime leverages cutting-edge technologies, such as Carrier, Hive, DID, and blockchain, creating a decentralized network OS. Acting as the central hub that connects users and applications, Runtime provides seamless access to a diverse range of applications.
The integration of Digital Rights Management (DRM) further enhances its capabilities by ensuring the authenticity of user data ownership and ascertaining whether users have the necessary rights to trade or consume data via Runtime. By facilitating secure and legitimate data sharing, Runtime promises to empower users and drive the growth of a vibrant and decentralized Web3 ecosystem.
Elastos’ Four Pillars and Journey of Runtime
In 2018, Rong Chen wrote a white paper outlining the ideal structure for a new, decentralized internet called Elastos. This innovative system would rely on four core components: Carrier, Blockchain, SDKs, and Runtime. These elements work together to create a secure, peer-to-peer World Wide Web, promoting private communication and data ownership.
Carrier serves as a decentralized communication layer, replacing the need for third-party vendors or TCP/IP. Blockchain provides a transparent, immutable ledger for transactions, ensuring trust and security. SDKs are libraries used by developers to build dApps, while Runtime offers a lightweight, protected environment for decentralized applications, promoting an authentic cyberspace for communication and transactions.
It wasn’t until a few years later that one of the pillars came into question. ElastOS, the all-in-one dApp that allowed users to download various applications and utilize the complete Elastos tech stack, encountered issues with its Runtime functionality. This design clashed with the Apple Store’s terms and conditions and couldn’t be applied to ElastOS. Consequently, the development of Runtime was put on pause while the other pillars continued to be built.
In 2023, one of the flagship projects in Elastos, Elacity, has reincarnated Runtime technology in efforts to apply it to their respective dApp. Their Proposal was recently passed, and they have pledged to integrate Runtime into Elacity by the end of 2023. Elacity will fulfill the mission of allowing users to own and trade their own data without the need for a centralized entity in the middle.
The original philosophy and blueprint are back in the fold, with all the capabilities that were promised back in 2018. What type of ramifications does adding Runtime to Elastos mean? One must delve into the internet’s infrastructure and current state to truly understand the significance of incorporating Runtime into Elastos.
Current Status of Computers and Operating Systems
It is essential to be familiar with the evolution of the internet and computer OS to understand Elastos and its mission comprehensively. The first OS, DOS, featured a simplistic one-tier structure where all commands and code were consolidated within a single program. This structure allowed only one entry and exit point for instructing the computer on performing tasks. OS’s of today, like Windows, Apple and Linux have a two-tier structure.
Picture a Windows application like a two-story house. The top floor is where the users perform tasks and daily work at their leisure. The lower floor, however, is inaccessible to users, as it is reserved for the operating system’s functions. Users need to write high-level instructions for the OS to execute commands and functions to perform tasks on the lower floor. Unfortunately, most users don’t have the know-how to provide the OS with proper direction on performing specific tasks, so they are bound by what the OS thinks and does.
Why does this matter? The problem with this setup is that if a virus runs rampant in the application, the user is defenseless and has to rely on the OS to figure it out. The two-tier structure has zero protections on the TCP/IP level. This vulnerability of having on-demand access to the internet means that any viruses or attacks can easily penetrate an application and compromise people’s private data and digital items.
But wait, there’s more. As a Windows or Mac owner, you must realize that the third-party vendors create and deploy these OS. These intermediaries have complete control of the OS and can do whatever they please with the users’ information. It’s known that vendors have, in the past and present, been able to access users’ data with the capability of uploading that information to their servers for their own use. Remember how there’s no firewall for TCP/IP on the OS? Vendors take advantage of this open tunnel and accumulate user data for their own benefit.
The two-tier operating system is a corporate and centralized environment that doesn’t give users privacy or ownership of their data and resources. It’s also a place where files and information are susceptible to corruption and theft. Protections such as virus software and patches are band-aid solutions. These actions compare to putting tape on a hole in a fire hose. It’s only a matter of time before the tape breaks, and the problem is still waiting to be solved.
Runtime is a customized agnostic virtual machine that can run on top of any OS. It offers a three-tier solution that addresses these vulnerabilities in the two-tier OS. The third tier of this operating system is for dApps to roam and function as they please. The second tier is reserved for the network OS, known as the Carrier. The third tier is for the user. So why is this blueprint essential and effective? It sets boundaries between the user, network, and dApps.
Think of Runtime as a three-floor house. The third floor of dApps creates a secure sandboxed environment where users can freely transact, communicate and perform tasks. Viruses cannot infiltrate this floor of the building. There’s no possibility of TCP/IP entering the space and corrupting or stealing data. dApps run autonomously with one another, giving the users peace of mind that whatever happens there stays there. External threats cannot deceive or penetrate this house floor, as a trapped door protects it.
As we go down a level in the house, the second floor of Runtime OS is run by the Carrier. This floor manages all the communication between different operating systems. The Carrier sets up a pneumatic tube system by connecting everyone on the network without external vendors’ involvement. Runtime is a CPU-agnostic technology that allows any OS to identify one another properly. The goal is to properly retrofit Runtime on top of Carrier to achieve a lightweight OS that can communicate with any machine it interacts with.
Runtime house’s bottom floor is reserved for users. The goal of Web3 is to have users be able to set up their own virtual garage, tag sale, or independent market, which Amazon or Alibaba doesn’t facilitate. To achieve this feat, the Elastos OS must have a technology that allows users to connect directly with one another on a decentralized platform. Runtime is also a PC-agnostic technology allowing Macs to communicate with PCs directly. When people set up their own servers on whichever computers they choose, the PC-agnostic Runtime technology can communicate with any machine on the network.
The most important aspect of the Runtime three-tier concept is that it allows users to control, access, and monetize their own data. With an open loop for vendors to take and analyze people’s data as they choose, Runtime structure gives users the proper protection and autonomy for their data and digital assets.
Elacity and Runtime
This month, the decentralized media and NFT marketplace Elacity passed a momentous Proposal, bringing Runtime back into the Elastos ecosystem. This flagship dApp in the ecosystem needs Runtime to achieve its goal of being the first marketplace of its kind to fully incorporate Digital Rights Management (DRM), NFTs, streaming, and data capsules in one place.
Elacity plans to implement a novel approach to enhance the performance of their dApp by leveraging Runtime technology. Specifically, they will convert media files such as MP3s, WAVs, and txts into specialized WebAssembly (WASM) code called data capsules, which users can download via the Carrier network, similar to a torrent download.
However, data capsules can only be opened in Runtime, a special economic zone that consults the blockchain for permission before running, acting as a bouncer: no permission, no access to content. Access tokens, DRM NFTs, are issued by content creators on ESC chain when creating data capsules and can be traded on Elacity and stored in users’ decentralized wallets.
With every purchase of scarce access tokens, royalty payments are streamed to the initial stakeholders’ wallets (creator, publisher, distributor, investor). Business models for access to data capsules can include buy now, resell, pay-per-view, free with ads, subscription, and rental. Content creators allocate resale percentages to foster an inclusive economy where users own their own data, it’s protected, scarce, tradable, and everyone’s paid.
Runtime provides a secure and sandboxed environment to help prevent unauthorized access and ensure data integrity. People can access data capsules with any browser or device because Runtime is entirely agnostic. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge are all compatible, including Raspberry Pi, Mac, or PC!
The goal for Elacity is to allow users to use Elastos’ storage solution, Hive, to save data capsules, Carrier to move them, ESC to purchase, and Runtime to execute. A new access economy is born in this environment, leveraging Elastos’ entire platform. Next, we can envision a dApp store being born to enable services inside the Runtime that give data capsules further utility, with exports baking in all stakeholders’ royalties, creating a derivative economy.
In summary, Elacity’s use of Runtime technology would give users a more secure and decentralized way to access and trade data. By utilizing WASM code and blockchain-based DRM key management, Elacity plans to create an efficient and secure system that can potentially transform how data is accessed and shared in a decentralized environment.
Other Use Cases with Runtime
Runtime taps into many other use cases for the Elastos ecosystem. The goal of Elastos is to build a true peer-to-peer ecosystem without the need for any intermediaries. Runtime provides the infrastructure to create opportunities to develop their own stores and operations.
Personal websites don’t really exist in Web2. Anyone looking to build their own website needs to go through AWS or some cloud service for data storage and hosting. One of Elastos’ missions is to have people create personal websites launched on their own servers. Runtime can effectively host personal websites with its lightweight and robust functionality. These computers can utilize the entire Elastos tech stack, effectively launch their product/service, and serve people directly from peer to peer.
The dApp store is another potential use case that Runtime could help facilitate for Elastos. Runtime creates a PC-agnostic foundation that allows any computer to access an Elastos dApp store. This dApp store can be downloaded on any PC, and people can freely download their favorite dApps.
Web3- The Final Chapter
The integration of Runtime technology into Elastos significantly boosts the internet infrastructure’s security and privacy. The current two-tier operating system fails to protect against viruses and attacks, leaving users vulnerable and dependent on the OS. Moreover, third-party vendors’ control of the OS exposes it to data breaches and compromises. By enabling the secure ownership, trading, and monetization of data, Runtime technology realizes the ultimate goal of Web3: to put users in control of their own data without relying on third-party intermediaries.
The three-tier system of Runtime creates a secure sandbox environment for dApps to function independently, thereby eliminating the risk of TCP/IP intrusion and data corruption or theft. The Carrier, which facilitates communication between the OS and dApps, acts as a pneumatic tube system, connecting all users on the network without the involvement of outside vendors. In addition, the CPU-agnostic technology of Runtime allows for seamless communication between any OS, making it a lightweight and versatile OS that can interact with any machine.
Runtime technology empowers individuals to generate wealth without the interference of vendors or centralized operating systems. Runtime technology creates an environment where individuals can exercise complete control over their data and derive value from it. Runtime provides the foundation for this Web3 vision to become a reality by facilitating an actual peer-to-peer economy that allows data to be traded and consumed in a secure and decentralized fashion.