Welcome to the Aleph.im documentation. This site will provide you with all the necessary information, resources, and tools to get started with the Aleph.im project.
What is Aleph.im?
Aleph.im is an open-source off-chain P2P (peer-to-peer) network. It offers decentralized key-value store, file storage, function execution and virtual machine provisioning. Interactions with the network rely on decentralized identities that are interoperable with many major blockchain networks, such as Ethereum, Tezos, and Solana.
This enables interactions between the Aleph.im network and blockchain networks. Bridges also allow smart contracts to interact with the Aleph.im network.
Aleph.im also provides a blockchain indexing framework, allowing developers to index data from any blockchain network by leveraging the Aleph.im network's decentralized storage and compute capabilities.
The Aleph.im project has the following components:
- The Aleph peer-to-peer network, comprised of Compute Resource Nodes or CRNs and Core Channel Nodes, or CCNs
- Python and TypeScript SDKs to integrate Aleph.im's decentralized compute and storage solutions into your project
- A Python command-line tool to interact with the Aleph.im network directly from a terminal
- A Web Console to create and manage cloud resources
- A Node Operator Dashboard
- A Message Explorer
The Aleph.im network
The Aleph.im network is composed of 2 sets of nodes:
- CCNs, the backbone of the P2P network. They serve as an entry point into the network through an API (similar to a blockchain node's RPC).
- CRNs, responsible for the actual compute and storage available on Aleph.im. CRNs must be tied manually to a single CCN, and each CCN is incentivized to tie up to 3 CRNs.
In Aleph.im terminology, a "message" is similar to a "transaction" for a blockchain: it is a set of data sent by an end user, propagated through the entire peer-to-peer network. A message can be generated using either the Python SDK or TypeScript SDK, or through aleph-client or the Console.
Aleph does not operate as a blockchain but utilizes its native cryptocurrency, referred to as the ALEPH token, which functions across various blockchains.
This token serves two primary purposes: support users payments for the resources they allocate on the network, and incentivize node operators to maintain the network's integrity.
The first payment implementation is achieved through a staking mechanism, where users must hold a certain amount of ALEPH tokens to use the network's resources. This mechanism is in place for file storage and for persistent virtual machines.
In January 2024, the network started supporting a new payment model, together with the launch of the TwentySix Cloud platform, where users pay using streams of ALEPH tokens on compatible chains.
Let's take the example of a user who wants to run a program on the Aleph.im network:
- The user makes sure to have an Ethereum wallet holding a sufficient number of ALEPH tokens
- The user writes and sends a message using either the aleph python client, one of the SDKs, or the web dashboard
- The message arrives at a CCN, which then broadcasts that message to all CCNs in the network
- The "program" workload scheduled by the user's message gets assigned to one of the CCNs
- The assigned CCN now assigns that workload onto one of its CRNs
- The assigned CRN starts a virtual machine executing the user's requested workload.
Where to start?
- Use our Python SDK and TypeScript SDK.
- Follow a Tutorial to run Python code on aleph.im.
- Become part of the network by managing a Core Channel Node or a Compute Resource Node.
- Trouble setting up your node? Check out our Troubleshooting Guide.