I originally posted this to /bitcoin and /ethereum, but the mods deleted the post for some reason - citing it should get posted here.
"Beware he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart, he dreams himself your master."The problem of access to free information is a problem that is plaguing the entire world right now. You have large corporations like Comcast monopolizing entire regions like the Pacific Northwest, or Telcel monopolizing entire countries like in Latin America. They use their lobbying power to control our Congress in America, or to corrupt government officials in others (what's the difference, really?). You have government's like Cuba, who have seized control over the entire flow of information. But, there's hope. Even in these most extreme circumstances, people find a way to keep information flowing, even without access to the internet at all. These groups think they can control the flow of free information with money or by force. I'm here to tell you: they're wrong, and they will never meet this objective, especially if the crypto community has a say in it. And right now, I think we have the loudest and most powerful voice if we can band together. The proposal I will suggest today could very well deliver the death blow to corporations like Telcel and Comcast, and release us of their strangleholds over our data. What if we can take back our data? What if, there's another way? What if it were possible to decentralize the internet infrastructure itself?
Back in 2011, we were hit with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), one of the first measures the FCC took to try to deteriorate our first amendment rights in America. This alarmed a lot of privacy advocates, especially after the Snowden leaks - because they knew we were now in for a long battle spanning decades to regain control over our privacy and our access to freedom of information and free speech online. In response, a few programmers came up with CJDNS - a proposed protocol designed around IPv6 that created its own encrypted network, particularly over wireless routers. This technology eventually became what I've came here to discus today:
The MeshnetIt's time to reevaluate Meshnet. The technology of today is much better suited for making meshnet a reality than it was 6 years ago. I feel the time is right. For a quick rundown on what a meshnet is, you can watch this short, high level video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tEkyLOh-tY
In short, it is a way to turn your ordinary wireless router into an access point that lets anyone connect securely and privately to the internet. It allows the creation of its own internet, by daisy chaining each wireless router that joins the network together, allowing anyone to join a community owned and run ISP. So why isn't everyone using it? Why did it fail to receive widespread adoption? I believe there are several factors:
- The technology sparked up in the early 2010s, when high speed wireless technology like 802.11ac was not available yet, and didn't even gain widespread use until 2014.
- Meshnets did not consider blockchains. At the time, Bitcoin was still in its infancy, and nobody knew of the technical impact decentralization would have on everything.
- The project is fairly technical to implement and to join. Your average person won't be capable of understanding how to setup a node or an exit node without those working on meshnet (us, I hope) to abstract it down to a point-and-click setup.
- Bitcoin, a traditional blockchain, is not the right blockchain approach for a proper meshnet.
- There are no incentives for running a meshnet node, or for paying for the high speed connection required to act as an exit node (a gateway that connects the meshnet to the general internet). You'd have to donate your time, energy and hardware at your own cost for the benefit of the community. If this were the case with mining in Bitcoin, Bitcoin would have failed too.
- The focus was primarily on the internal network (or darknet), called Hyperboria, and not really as a focus as an Internet Service Provider.
Proposal of guidelines for an incentive system within MeshnetWe need meshnet. I believe idea of the meshnet is possible with todays technology. Furthermore I believe that it is possible to achieve extremely rapid deployment of this network, if it is done in a way that will not only make participating in the network cheap, but gives regular people the capability of making money off the incentives. Unfortunately, I do not have the technical capability to do a project like this alone, but I can at least propose guidelines.
The incentive system should work similar to how storage based blockchains award their incentives. It needs to award: high scores of confidentiality, availability and reliability, number of people served, and raw throughput.
- Meshnet needs a way to award regular people who spin up a wireless router to act as a relay and to join the network.
- Anyone joining their wireless routers to the network should also be forced to participate as a relay to avoid leeching resources.
- Rewards for relay nodes should prioritize, possibly in this order: reliability/uptime, speed and throughput, number of customers served or number of nodes reached (to award those that invest in powerful wireless equipment).
- Exit nodes, or nodes that connect the Meshnet to the general public internet we know of today, should be awarded a more lucrative reward to encourage more nodes to act as gateways and to cover the higher costs of backbone networks. By covering this cost and allowing exit nodes to make profit, it will incentivize them to engage backbone providers directly, and completely cut internet service providers out of the equation.
- Both Exit nodes and Relay nodes need a reputation based system that directly impacts their incentives, and results in banning or suspension from the network. This is to create security through automated community policing, and discourages Exit and Relay nodes from attempting to interfere, disrupt, throttle or tamper with the encrypted connections they are relaying. This will incentivize good behavior and prevent problems that we have seen with other decentralized networks like Tor, where some exit nodes have been known to tamper with connections from time to time.
- Each user system (like a laptop or cell phone) using the meshnet should pay directly proportional to their usage, with a focus on providing service as cheaply as possible to as many people as possible. I propose aiming for an average cost to use the network at $9 USD per 2 TB per month. Your account balance is paid to the relay and exit nodes that are serving you.
- Relay nodes should get a smaller portion of token reward versus exit nodes, due to the cost of bandwidth.
- During times of high network congestion in specific traffic heavy areas, adding a relay node or increasing the capacity of the network should yield slightly higher rewards to the relays. This can be done either the form of either increasing the cost of using the network slightly to the user (only temporarily), or paying more to get access to higher amounts of bandwidth (only temporarily). Protections would need to be put in place to protect the smaller users from being overrun by those with more capital from hijacking a bigger cut of the bandwidth. Maybe, this reward shouldn't exist entirely?
Proposal of guidelines for the blockchain.It is an unfortunate fact that Bitcoin is not technically capable of this type of rewards and incentives based system in its current state. This is not an attempt to pump any coin over another. Bitcoin was simply not designed to do this, after all. Instead, I propose we should take a look at Bitcoins cousin, Ethereum. Regardless of what blockchain is used, I don't think we can afford to have meshnet drift back into obscurity this time. Ethereum already has the technical capabilities to merge meshnet and blockchain technology together. I propose an ERC20 compliant token should be created that can be exchanged directly to Bitcoin or Ethereum, and thus back into any currency in the world. This will tie critical, physical and core infrastructure to the blockchain, and add a measurement of value to Bitcoin or other coins that are not yet present.
We need everyone's help.A project this ambitions will take a lot of time and effort. Spread the word around, and get people talking seriously about a meshnet-based community ISP. I think it is something we can do to take back control over our basic human rights to free enterprise, free information and freedom of speech. We can't afford to fuck it up this time, especially with what's at stake. Let's go around the stupid bureaucracy, and just build our own internet without these people that seek to wring our pockets dry, censor our thoughts, and corrupt our governments. Let's get the discussion started on a crypto-backed ISP.
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