Gaming the System: the Story of Salad
April 15, 2021
Since our first download, the Ethereum network has played a central part in helping Chefs level up their game. Now that our Kitchen has the chops to serve diversified workloads, we're ready to sink our teeth into other fare. Salad will still support Ethereum cryptomining, but we're working on ways to allow Chefs to opt into and share the proceeds from an à la carte menu of high-performance computing tasks.
We'd like to reflect on how crypto became a primary ingredient, explain why we're expanding our computational cuisine, and give you a taste of what we've got cooking to give Chefs a heftier portion.
Everyone at Kitchen HQ has blown orange cheese from the more shameful places of our PCs. We've held LAN parties replete with Zerg rushes and devastating micro. We’ve no-scoped the odd contender, hoarded shotties on Hang ‘Em High, and sneered at corporate America’s woesome “gamer marketing.”
Though we may have a few more wrinkles than some of our Chefs, we cut our teeth playing games. Who ever thought a crew with cheevos on the brain could ever bring together the combined might of the Salad Kitchen?
Before we ever dreamed up Salad, there were over 400M gaming rigs scattered around the globe, gathering dust for most of the day. We couldn't help but tally the many hours our own PCs sat idle. There was so much ferocious hardware in the case, and so little time to let it run wild. We yearned for a way to earn back some of the dough baked into our rigs.
Giving back to gamers has always been essential to our vision. We wanted to help everyone make the most of their hardware. That meant proving to the world that every rig had real value, and the first step was finding fitting rewards for our passionate Chefs.
Pay for Play
Whatever Salad hoped to achieve, we knew it had to offer the kind of loot we'd be willing to grind for. And what was more motivating than a good game? From our school days to our first desk jobs, wasn't it the startup chime of a console that made all that IRL time worth it? Hadn't we all flexed coveted skins through hours of Horde Mode?
By partnering with indie devs and retailers, we were able to find the freshest and best for the Salad Storefront. Acquiring games and DLC at wholesale prices gave us crumbs to live off when Chefs raided the pantry.
As for finding a task equal to the power of our PCs, cryptomining was the obvious choice. Putting Salad to work on the Ethereum blockchain permitted us to reward our Chefs with a fair helping that's equal to their contributions.
The Price of Passion
Salad was born in 2018 at the tail end of a crypto bull run. At the time, cryptominers were hoarding away the baddest GPUs, leaving gamers like ourselves adrift amidst a now-legendary hardware drought. The price of graphics cards skyrocketed. Proof of work mechanics had put cryptocurrency and gaming culture in a 1v1 grudge match.
Corporate mining firms arrived en masse, spelling ruin for all sides. Soon the only cards on the market belonged to remorseful solo miners, who had neither the know-how nor the funds to compete with indomitable ASIC farms. But gamers looked at their second-hand GPUs with a leery eye. Rumors ran rampant that mining had impoverished the hardware, and the rancor only worsened between both camps.
The crypto gold rush overshadowed the noble mission behind blockchain technologies. As opportunists clamored for volatile chunks of blockchain bullion, the voices of its lionhearted proponents were drowned out. They were trying to save the world; most of the world missed the message.
The Message Is the Medium
At the risk of getting misty for the days of Snake, it's worth remembering how mobile games changed gaming in the blink of an eye. Now you find them on every device from wristwatches to refrigerators. By the same coin (pardon the pun), every cell phone will soon come equipped with a crypto wallet right out of the box. The game is changing, and we think everyone should get to play.
Cryptocurrencies are making a momentous impact at a local scale. People in Kenya and Nigeria make purchases with Bitcoin to escape restrictive banking laws. Moroccans are flaunting government bans to embrace peer-to-peer crypto trading. For some Latin Americans, stablecoins offer income that can weather uncertain times.
Modern crypto figured out how to solve for fraud with proof of work consensus. It's empowered communities to trade freely, without the risk of charges, interference, or surveillance. They offer built-in security, coin divisibility, and systems of trust that are wholly different from arbitrary factors like credit ratings.
A Lost Internet
The early pioneers of the internet foretold peer-to-peer exchange, open access to information, and limitless connectivity. Today's web doesn't come close. A dire presence exerts its will on our every connected interaction. You've probably met its minions on the platforms you love—those who:
- manipulate our money, instead of embracing our exchange;
- censor our speech, instead of hearing what we say;
- prune the web's branches, instead of nourishing connections.
Ever since search engines put a bounty on our attention, someone's been watching every action we take online. If they're not after your clicks, they're trying to buy your information—or worse, trying to take it without your consent. Everybody knows that. Part and parcel, right? Enough people have taken umbrage that some brands have even promised to do better.
But we're not buying it. Nothing can undo the corrupting influence of power. We've seen companies and governments move in lockstep to shut down competition on the convenient pretexts. Social media giants monitor, quantify, and curate what we say—and delete those who disagree.
They run the servers, they host the sites, and they know everything about you. So long as the internet runs on their platforms and infrastructure, no one can be free of their grasp. When the competition is that OP, you just might need an assist to pull out the win.
In their rush to gobble up GPUs, cryptominers made enemies of gamers. But they've been trading friendly fire in a conflict with a greater foe:
Centralization is the final boss.
There's an uphill battle ahead that will determine the fate of our internet. To press "Start" on a new era, we'll have to summon up the strength of human-owned hardware. Gamers aren't Blockchain's likeliest ally, but they may be the heroes we need.
It's Dangerous to Go Alone
Our digital identities are legendary skins that no one else should own. At Salad, we believe decentralization can restore individuality to the web.
Blockchain has proven it's possible to wrest back control of every aspect of our digital lives. Thanks to distributed and peer-to-peer technologies, it's open season on the old dragons. We're not just after their hoard; we're showing them once and for all never to tyrannize the open pastures of the internet again.
We make the internet, and it's time we had a say in it.
Our recipe is simple: we're building the world's biggest supercomputer. Every Chef who joins the Salad Kitchen brings us closer to finding weak points on the minibosses of the web.
Salad is uniting gaming battlestations to reclaim the world's compute capacity. Distributed networks will power tomorrow's breakthroughs, host the future's platforms, and help us foreswear allegiance to corporate monopolies. Together, we can build a place where individuals can share coveted resources to power the web, reward their passions, and profit from their PCs.
Now that the Kitchen is really cooking, we're ready to develop Salad's workload-agnostic infrastructure—meaning our Chefs will serve up anything that takes hard crunching. You'll still be able to cryptomine (as long as it's possible), but you'll also get the choice to partake in supplementary workloads.
The Salad Kitchen will one day tackle AI training, medical research, engineering simulations, rendering workloads, and a buffet of other high-performance computing tasks. Chefs will get the chance to share storage, bandwidth, and processing power to foster innovation. We'll allow you to opt into the workloads you want, so you can help prep the future without touching a key. Your hardware, your choice.
If it sounds like we're pulling your leg, here's the unvarnished truth: we'll share some of the proceeds, too. We've got to eat to live—and to champion Human Collaboration, you've got to bulk up. Salad is hungry to recover the internet we lost.
Welcome to Salad.com
We're still in the matchmaking lobby of a future internet, Chefs, and Salad is our LFG to the world. Our Kitchen is on a rapid road to expansion. With 1.5 billion PC gamers out there, we're bound to be in good company.
The launch of salad.com marks a new chapter in our quest to restore the freedom of the dotcom days. It's fitting that we had to buy the domain from some forward-thinkers at Hidden Valley Ranch. But it was worth every penny to symbolize our commitment to you. As we add diversified workloads, everyone will get a share in tomorrow's peer-to-peer web. You'll always have a choice, and you'll always have a voice in the Kitchen.