Urbit Is Moving Its Virtual Server Galaxy Over to Ethereum

Urbit, the galactically inspired network of cloud servers, has announced plans to rebuild its infrastructure based on ethereum tech.

AccessTimeIconSep 21, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:57 a.m. UTC

Urbit, the galactically inspired network of cloud servers, has announced plans to rebuild its infrastructure based on ethereum tech.

A network of P2P personal cloud servers that conceives of itself as "virtual real estate," Urbit has always borne a certain kinship to blockchain technology, but never deployed a blockchain as part of its infrastructure.

However, the test version of Urbit, which has been online for about a year, will now be upgraded to use ethereum's smart contracts.

According to a blog post from the company, the smart contracts will be based on ERC20, the formal standard for ethereum tokens, to allow Urbit property owners to cryptographically secure their holdings.

According to the post, which uses the project's standard space-themed terminology:

"We'll instantiate a land registry for Urbit address space; an ERC20 "spark" token which is burned to create a generic star; and a voting system for self-governance. We'll also create template contracts which galaxies can use to auction stars, and stars to distribute planets."

Going forward, all payments will now occur on the blockchain. Urbit will further create its own web browser forked from ethereum's code.

By using smart contracts to formalise relationships on the network, Urbit said it can outsource its security measures to the ethereum platform.

However, the decision to integrate ethereum did not come without some doubts. Developers Curtis Yarvin and Galen Wolfe-Pauly state that due to their "bottom-up" approach to development, "depending on Ethereum goes against all Urbit's instincts." 

Detailing this hesitancy further, the developers argued:

"Ethereum's user experience is notorious; its governance is suspect and unstable; its dilution rate is unconscionable; its dev environment is full of bugs and misfeatures; in short, it's a classic MVP. It has only one real goal: success. It seems to be doing pretty well with that."

In spite of this, the move is going ahead and Urbit is also expected to launch an ethereum-based token sale of its "galaxy" soon.

Galaxy image via Shutterstock


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