Bitcoin is changing all aspects of human life including one of the biggest achievement in history – the internet. Like Bitcoin, the internet is a way of global interaction. However, the centralization of servers, service fees, and political censorship has limited this interaction and endangers freedom of use altogether. With the repeal of net neutrality in the U.S. on December 2015, new start-up companies are taking up the challenge to create a new decentralized internet.
Net Neutrality: A principle where Internet Service Providers (ISP) allow unbiased access to all content and applications regardless of the source.
It’s an open source network that uses a blockchain to interconnect individual’s computers to act as mini-servers for an alternative internet. Any individual can become a “Host” by downloading the Substratum software and allowing spare computing resources to run the network. The Hosts receive SUB tokens for becoming a node in the network. The use of a blockchain allows for data “hashing” and encryption, making it far more secure than simply routing it through various servers. Substratum will also become a platform for hosting websites, host applications, and databases; replacing centralized server hosts like Go Daddy or Amazon. In addition, it will also allow for gateway payments in crypto currencies.
Skycoin is an advanced blockchain platform that also wants to create a decentralized internet. It builds on its Skyware software and Skyminer hardware. Similar in function as Substratum, Skyware allows for hosts to connect or “mesh” with each other and create a decentralized network. And Skyminer is a dedicated server for the Skynet network. It uses the “Obelisk” (Web of Trust) consensus algorithm which selects a number of “influential” nodes to make decisions. Skycoin claims unlimited scalability through “Fiber” – A parallel strand of blockchains. Any user activity earns SKY coins and every business activity click applies a charge. The project offers additional features like a messenger app, it’s own Golang programming language, and dual coin system. However, as promising the project is, its technology lacks in details, which generates questions and controversy.
Elastos’ approach to creating a new internet is by creating a new operating system powered by blockchain technology. It intends to run in IoT devices, Raspberry pi, and mobile devices and Power android apps directly. It tackles scalability by running side chains to supplement the main chain. While the main chain focuses on ELA trading and transfers, the side chain will manage all forms of smart contracts. Elastos also wants to create a digital marketplace where digital content (i.e, ebooks, and movie streaming) can be purchased and sold. Elastos is receiving large funding from partnerships that plan to integrate a fully developed Elastos into their operations.
These projects offer better solutions that Virtual Private Networks as VPNs also incur costs and can be censored. They effectively bypass censorship as the web content is routed directly to the viewers via P2P. And they also provide higher security due to the nature of the blockchain itself.