As centralized entities like Facebook and Google continue to be exposed for their improper handling of user data and questionable censorship, many are beginning to second guess their online habits. Add to that the exceedingly blatant government interference with actions like the repealing of Net Neutrality, and it becomes clear that new, decentralized alternatives need to be developed.
This revelation has many looking to the rapidly growing blockchain movement for an answer, and there are a few projects specifically addressing these key issues. One such project is Subtratum, an open-source foundation for a decentralized web which will provide unrestricted access to content and sharing of information for users across the globe. To achieve this lofty goal, Substratum is developing a new hosting platform that leverages per-request billing via micro-transactions and incentivizes users to run nodes to create the network by paying node hosts in Substrate tokens. Ultimately, Substratum aims to develop the first fully functional peer-to-peer internet.
Interested in Substratum? Here’s a quick rundown of the project:
Platform & Development
In short, the Substratum Network is comprised of a network of nodes (peer-to-peer) that work to deliver secure content through the use of high-level cryptography. It drastically alters what web hosting can be, as the platform incentivize network uses with Substratum tokens to rent out their unused computing resources to host websites. These hosting costs, in turn, are billed via a per-request micro-transaction system, which drastically undercuts the wastage of resources and high costs you would find through a centralized platform like Amazon’s AWS. The beta of the platform is currently live and users can register here.
Integral to the Substratum Network are the SubstratumNodes, which allow the average user to earn rewards for dedicating some of their computer’s resources towards the network. According to Substratum’s Reddit FAQ, node operators will also have access to any restricted sites which are not running on the network through their “VPN-less VPN” system. Anyone with a mid-range CPU can set up a node and begin earning rewards, no GPUs are needed.
To facilitate payments on the platform, Substratum is launching CryptoPay, which is similar to Stripe or PayPal, but instead works with cryptocurrency. CryptoPay will allow websites to easily integrate a payment platform, and shoppers can pay using any currency they’d like, be it fiat or crypto. CryptoPay converts the payment into Substrate (SUB), then pays the host in their preferred currency. The only facet of the Substratum network that runs on the Ethereum blockchain is their ERC20 token, the rest is on top of an in-house blockchain.
Substratum is working towards becoming fully open-source in 2018, meaning that the source code will be readily available to anyone wanting to redistribute or modify it. Additionally, developers will be provided with tools (API and SDK) to build DApps directly on the Substratum platform.
As of April 5, 2018, there is no updated roadmap to review. However, we anticipate the launch of the 2nd version of the platform this year, which will enable credit card and cryptocurrency transactions for all websites and applications on the Substratum Network.
It’s important to note that actual criminal activity, including child pornography or terrorism, can be identified by members of the Substratum Network through a system of voting. If a consensus is reached, obscene content will be removed. It will be interesting to see how this regulatory system develops, as these bad players are a clear downside to a decentralized model.
The founding Substratum team originated from OverridePro, “a web development company with experience working with large brands that embrace technology.” The team has significant software and business development experience from major companies, like Apple and Facebook.
Substratum (SUB) currently has a market cap of ~$125 million with a circulating supply of 352,921,000 SUB, and a total supply of 472,000,000 SUB.
Substratum is hoping to kill multiple birds with one stone with the creation of their peer-to-peer network. Through Substratum’s decentralized internet, users can browse securely and without fear of censorship, and websites can save significant money through per-request hosting.
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Disclaimer: The author(s) of this article may have a position in one or more of the securities mentioned above. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.