In Our Sci-Fi Future, We Can Use the Internet Without Surveillance

Orchid continues to catch my attention with its updates.

Not only do they want to use the blockchain’s revolutionary technology, but they want to do something revolutionary, which is create an Internet that is free from surveillance and censorship.

They’re working a blockchain edge with a lofty goal. And they have an edgy tone, which I like. This is the kind of thing they tweet about it:

How do they plan to create a surveillance-free Internet?

As described in their FAQ, Orchid will be an open-source network that runs on top of the Internet.

On this network, bandwidth contributors can activate their device as a “node” and share surplus bandwidth. Bandwidth consumers can then pay for access to this open-source layer and pool of bandwidth using Orchid’s token.

The same FAQ explains that Orchid is a “just-in-time VPN chained together” in which the proxies and relays don’t know the identity or IP addresses of the customers. And this means neither the traffic or payments on Orchid’s layer can be monitored by another entity.

Orchid’s whitepaper describes more fully how this anonymity works:

. . . proxy chains in the Orchid Market naturally separate information about the source of data from information about its destination; no single relay or proxy holds both pieces of information, or knows the identity of someone who does.

In addition to technically separating the data’s source and destination, Orchid’s intention is to have so many bandwidth contributors as nodes on the network that it will be next to impossible for any entity to track, analyze, and hack the traffic.

And this is why Orchid’s token, and the process of rewarding bandwidth contributors with tokens, is key to growing Orchid’s set of nodes large enough that it can resist any manipulation or attacks. In other words, incentivize them.

The idea for Orchid apparently emerged after co-founder Steve Waterhouse was hacked and his information exposed, who said “That really woke me up.”

Orchid, it seems to me, is in a group of blockchain-focused startups, including Blockstack and Filecoin, that want to “reboot” the Internet so it can achieve its potential as an open, level playing field that protects individual rights, but adding something completely novel in the process.