‘Massive’ Startup Wants To Rent Your Spare Compute Power To Pay For Apps

What if users could pay for apps or services not with money or attention, but with their spare compute power? A startup called "Massive" is working to take this concept "into the modern world as an alternative to charging users or pounding them with advertisements to generate revenue," writes TechCrunch's Alex Wilhelm. From the report: Massive announced an $11 million round this morning, led by Point72 Ventures with participation from crypto-themed entities, including CoinShares Ventures and Coinbase Ventures. Several angels also participated in the funding event. The model is interesting, and Massive's funding round is an indication that it has found some market traction. So, we get the company on the horn to learn more. Massive co-founder and CEO Jason Grad described the startup's work as something akin to an Airbnb or Turo for users' computers, comparing its service to some of the more popular consumer-sharing startups that folks already know. It's a reasonable comparison. Some 50,000 desktop computer users -- nodes, in the company's parlance -- have opted into its service. Which is white hat, it goes without saying. Given that Massive is asking for compute power, it will have constant work to do to ensure that it is a good steward of user trust and partner selection; no one wants their spare CPU cycles to go to something illegal. The company has a good early stance toward caring for its nascent compute exchange, with a hard requirement of getting users to opt into its service before joining. To start, Massive is working with crypto-focused companies. They have an obvious need for compute power, and the work they execute -- running blockchain calculations -- is monetized through block rewards and other fees, making them easy choices for partnerships. You can now see why the company's investor list includes a number of crypto-focused venture capital firms. The startup's goal is broader, however. It wants to build a two-sided marketplace for compute power, Grad explained. That means lots more users offering up a slice of their computing power, future acceptance of mobile devices, and a broader partner list. Part of the company's perspective is rooted in the belief that the dominant business models of the internet today are lacking. "Shit," to quote Grad directly.

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