Last updated on January 2nd, 2018 at 12:00 am
Since its creation, Bitcoin has been infiltrating the financial world on more then one level. However, we are still far from total adoption, as the ideal would be for Bitcoin to be just another currency we use in our normal financial dealings. But a new project, called BitMesh, wants to turn this ideal into reality.
BitMesh is already being called the ‘Uber of internet service providers’. It can be described as a decentralized platform that allows people to use basic devices to share their internet connection. In this case, the platform encourages users to share their internet bandwidth in exchange for BTC.
The main brains behind the concept are Andrew Donley, Chris Smith and Chris Lunoe, who initially only messed around by creating a meshnet over a single weekend. Turns out the “messy mesh” turned into a viable and downright great idea.
Following the brilliant idea, a working prototype that one can easily install on a Raspberry Pi was released a few months ago. This allows clients to connect to the BitMesh system and establishes the link that enables payments between clients and the Bitcoin server.
The amount of bandwidth a client can get from the sharing process is determined by the server; on the other side, the bandwidth provided to a specific client is linear to the amount paid by them. This process allows BitMesh to cut out the middleman when matching up servers and clients by using a ‘marketplace’ type of setting to get the best deal for both the buyer and the seller. It is a friendly, easy and more robust environment for people looking to trade their internet for BTC, one where demand regulates the pricing model.
Bitcoin tech to the rescue
In the past, people have not been very keen to use systems like BitMesh because there was no real reward for doing so. However, because Bitcoin can process small transactions in a speedy and effective manner – allowing clients to only pay for the bandwidth they used up until that point and to resell unused paid bandwidth -, this is now an interesting possibility.
BitMesh poses the perfect solution for people that find it difficult to access the internet at some point over a period of time. Like tourists spending a few in a foreign country, for example. Now, any client can quickly use Bitcoin anywhere in the world and have internet available immediately. This can lead to people completely depending on BitMesh for all their internet needs, helping them to save money and keeping anyone permanently connected to the network.
The best part is that people can connect without a username and/or password and start using the internet the moment they connect to a BitMesh Wi-Fi spot. There are also no contracts or other financial commitments one has to agree to before using the service, making it ideal for those who hate giving out personal information.
But how does it work? Every person that buys internet using Bitcoin can then connect to a BitMesh Wi-Fi connection close to them, which is provided by another BitMesh user and works via the company’s app. The app also manages direct payments between parties, where the party who wants to buy internet specifies how much bandwidth they want to pay for or they just pay afterwards for the amount of internet used. The Bitcoin server then measures the amount of internet used and the amount of internet remaining with a captive portal.
Another big perk is that clients do not have to purchase any fancy tech equipment. They can use their current smartphones and/or routers to share their bandwidth. It can be compared with other Bitcoin platforms such as JoyStream, where users pay a certain Bitcoin amount to perform network activities such as leeching torrents, as well as services like Skype Wi-Fi.
There are currently a few Silicon Valley investors showing interest in investing in BitMesh’s prototype. This is a big step for cryptocurrency: even though investors are already familiar with Bitcoin type investments, the concept can rapidly expand if tycoons from other technology fields start showing interest and put their money where their mouths are.
At the moment, Bitcoin venture capital firm Boost VC is incubating BitMesh. Andreas M. Antonopolous, security expert and host of the podcast series Let’s Talk Bitcoin, is another interested investor. He describes BitMesh as “amazing,” emphasizing that people have been waiting for this development for a long time.