Ethereum Made Easy with Cloudflare’s Ethereum Gateway
In a blog post on June 19, 2019, Jonathan Hoyland described the launch of Cloudflare’s Ethereum Gateway.
The service is provisioned similarly to the existing Cloudflare “Inter-Planetary File System” (IPFS) format wherein websites can be hosted without the need for any hardware or hosting service. However, there are some critical differences between a simple IPFS web application and an Ethereum Gateway-backed web application.
Introducing Cloudflare’s Free Ethereum Gateway
Ethereum features smart contracts, and with it, transactional-based services with automated payouts can be made.
“By providing a gateway to the Ethereum network we can help users make the jump from general web-user to cryptocurrency native, eventually making using the distributed web a fundamental part of the Internet,” Hoyland wrote in the blog post announcing the service.
For example, if someone wanted to build a better version of Imgur, a popular image hosting website, it would be possible using this platform without the need for additional hosting. Here are the steps for accomplishing this:
- Create an ICO smart contract complete with payouts to your shareholders.
- Create a web structure to be hosted on Cloudflare IPFS.
- Create the transaction system for premium access on Cloudflare Ethereum Gateway.
Each time someone pays for premium access, the shareholders immediately receive payment. With this decentralized system, it would be nearly impossible to be shut down for any reason.
Cloudflare Ethereum Gateway demo.
Gateway to Unlimited Gateways
As Hoyland points out, Cloudflare is only one of the many gateway providers available for such a system. Other providers of Ethereum technology include Microsoft and Amazon. Cloudflare’s Ethereum Gateway, however, significantly lowers the cost of entry for any prospective customers as the program is currently free to use.
Nick Sullivan, Cloudflare’s Head of Cryptography, explained that the program “leverages the existing Cloudflare network, which already provides a number of free services.” Sullivan notes it’s too young a system to introduce costs, but there may be revenue opportunities down the line.
Compared with the global launch of Facebook’s crypto project Libra, it appears that Cloudflare has a compelling offering that could be used to reach larger groups of customers without the overhead of Facebook’s privacy concerns.