Dfinity is a blockchain-based cloud computing project. Its aim is to develop a decentralized “internet computer that will become the cloud 3.0.
DFINITY is a decentralized network design whose protocols generate a reliable “virtual blockchain computer” running on top of a peer-to-peer network upon which software can be installed and can operate in the tamperproof mode of smart contracts. The goal is for the virtual computer to finalize computations quickly (using short block times and by requiring only a small number of blocks as “confirmations”), to provide predictable performance (by keeping the time between confirmations approximately constant), and for computational and storage capacity to scale up without bounds as demand for its services increases (using novel validation mechanisms and sharding systems discussed in our other papers). The protocols must be secure against an adversary controlling less than a certain critical proportion of its nodes, must generate cryptographic randomness (which is required by advanced decentralized applications) and must maintain a decentralized nature as it grows in size to millions of nodes.
DFINITY’s consensus mechanism has four layers: notary (provides fast finality guarantees to clients and external observers), blockchain (builds a blockchain from validated transactions via the Probabilistic Slot Protocol driven by the random beacon), random beacon (provides the source of randomness for all higher layers like smart contract applications), and identity (provides a registry of all clients).