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Bittensor Meaning

Jun 4, 2024 | Updated Jun 4, 2024
Bittensor TAO is a decentralized, peer-to-peer network that enables users to create, deploy, share, and train machine learning models.

What Is Bittensor (TAO)?

Bittensor is an open-source decentralized protocol that creates a peer-to-peer marketplace that converts machine learning (ML) into a tradable product. The protocol leverages incentivized collaboration and distributed networks to create a concerted and connected global supply of computing power capable of creating and deploy ML models and AI technologies.

OpenTensor Foundation, founded by Jacob Robert Steeves and Ala Shabaana, launched Bittensor in 2021. Its blockchain network, called Subtensor, is a layer-1 network designed using Polkadot’s Substrate Software Development Kit (SDK). 

While the project was initially developed as a Polkadot parachain, called Finney, it launched its own chain, Nakamoto, in March 2023 to minimize its dependence on the Polkadot ecosystem.

How Does the Protocol Work?

Bittensor constitutes three key components– a subnet, Subtensor, and the Bittensor API.

  • Subnet – Bittensor is basically a “protocol for decentralized subnets”, where a subnet is an incentive-based competition marketplace that users can participate in as validators or miners. Users can also develop custom subnets by paying TAO– the network’s native token– if they have sufficient computing resources.
  • Subtensor – The protocol’s blockchain network is called a Subtensor, which facilitates the network’s permissionlessness, decentralization, and collusion-resistance. The Subtensor is also responsible for supporting the subnets.
  • Bittensor API – The API links the Subtensor with the subnets. This ensures the distribution of rewards to validators and miners in the subnets.

Technically, Bittensor uses a Proof of Intelligence consensus mechanism to reward nodes that provide valuable ML models and output to the protocol. This algorithm is a variation of proof of stake (PoS) and proof of work (PoW) consensus mechanisms. However, rather than solving complex mathematical puzzles, the nodes prove their intelligence by performing specific ML tasks.

The miners (or “servers”) in the network are responsible for hosting and deploying ML models to provide ML services to network participants seeking predictions. Meanwhile, the validators query the validity, accuracy, and reliability of the predictions and responses from the miners. What’s more the network selects nodes to add the next block to the blockchain based on the value and accuracy of their ML model output.

For providing accurate predictions, valuable data, and computational resources, the network rewards the miners and validators using TAO tokens.

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