Chorus One, a provider of staking services for more than 40 blockchains and protocols including Ethereum, Solana, Cosmos and Polkadot, is joining a growing field of hosting service providers on the Urbit peer-to-peer network.
The new hosting platform, called Red Horizon, marks the first foray onto the Urbit network by a major blockchain or technology player that was not originally building within the close-knit ecosystem, according to Chorus One’s Gary Lieberman.
Urbit is a peer-to-peer network that works largely by giving each user a “personal server” to store their own data; when users interact over the network, they each keep local records of those interactions. It was started in 2002 well before Bitcoin’s launch in 2009.
The network isn’t technically a blockchain but shares many of the same ideals, such as trying to short-circuit middlemen and centralized “Web2” applications that dominate online activity and profit partly by monetizing users’ data.
The new hosting service could be “ideal for the general public, DAOs and any other community interested in leaving MegaCorps behind,” according to Chorus One’s press release on the launch. A DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization – a type of group that’s governed by computer code and token holders, in contrast to a company owned by shareholders and managed by executives.
A frequent criticism of Urbit – acknowledged even by top developers within the ecosystem – is that it’s complicated to understand and difficult to use. The introduction of hosting providers grew partly out of an effort to attract more users – essentially making it easy for people to easily get an ID on the network in exchange for a fee.
In May, Urbit Foundation Executive Director Josh Lehman (known as ~wolref-podlex on Urbit) gave a presentation at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2023 conference noting that the number of IDs or “ships” on the network had surged over the past year, as more hosting services became available.
Providing a hosting service for Urbit seemed like a natural extension of Chorus One’s staking services for blockchain networks, Lieberman told CoinDesk in an interview.
“We’re anticipating that Urbit itself is going to be a product that a lot of people are going to want to use,” said Lieberman, who goes by ~tiller-tolbus on Urbit. “Hosting was somewhat of an obvious place to go.”