* RLC, the internal currency of iExec
The cryptocurrency RLC gives access to the computing power of the network. RLC is an acronym for Runs on Lots of Computers'. RLC is iExec's native currency, and functions as a utility token', a monetary transfer medium with a single purpose: buying and selling computing power on the iExec network. RLC is running on the Ethereum blockchain.
RLC launched on Ethereum in 2017 with 87 million RLCs in circulation. There will never be any new RLC created, meaning that the price of RLC will rise if more people buy and use it. RLC was created and distributed as part of a crowdsale iExec conducted in April to fund project development. During this crowdsale, iExec collected 2,761 Bitcoins and 173,886 Ethers: the equivalent of 12 million euros at the time. The price of RLC varies greatly in the global market, as you can see on Coinmarketcap.
If someone invests in RLC, it is because they think the future of cloud computing will be decentralized, or just expect RLC to grow in value.
* What are the challenges of this decentralization?
Decentralizing the cloud' means to move power from the giant companies (Amazon, Google, and alike) which control the cloud computing market today, to a network of smaller companies and everyday users.
It is not easy to explain what is going on behind the scenes, but let's say that today's centralized cloud model is slowing down the development of technologies whose demand is increasingly strong: smart cities, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, virtual/augmented reality, etc.
The cloud' is basically a service, enabling you to buy computing power and storage over the Internet. Instead of buying the hardware, users only pay for using the hardware. The appeal of cloud computing solves the problem of companies having to buy a set of servers, but not using them to their fullest potential.
* A marketplace for computing resources
A marketplace is a place where people can buy and sell things, and there are many different marketplaces on the Internet. By the Spring of 2018, iExec will have set up an online marketplace service which will allow anyone to offer their computing resources and interact directly with buyers. This enables users to trade with each other freely, which was not possible before.
On the provider side: servers and data centers can make their unused computing resources available in return for a fee in iExec's internal cryptocurrency RLC'. Alternatively, on the buyer...