Skycoin: Decentralizing the Internet

Posted: November 6, 2017 by Tyler Swope

SkyCoin: Decetralizing the Internet for the People

What is Skycoin?


Skycoin, is an old coin that has been around the crypto block a time or two. In 2013, Skycoin realized that the bitcoin network couldn’t support true decentralization due to the considerable power and influences exerted on the network by large mining group. Now in late 2017, little has changed. Large mining farms and these influences have grown in dominance and strength, and this can be visualized by the recent and upcoming hardforks and network splits.
These facts have led to Skycoin developing a new consensus algorithm to achieve true decentralization and solve the many outstanding issues associated with Bitcoin.
Skycoin uses a protocol called Obelisk instead of the common proof of work or proof of stake consensus algorithms. The aim or the devs was to correct the major security flaws and centralizing tendencies that have plagued both POW and POS algorithms.

The Problems

According to the skycoin devs, in the early programming of bitcoin it was miscalculated that the mining process would provide economic incentives structures that would lead to decentralization. If you look at Bitcoin, the network is de facto controlled by 5 mining pools which have been able to concentrate the majority of the networks hash power on their servers.

Mining control is the biggest non-cryptographic threat to the bitcoin network, as 51% attacks are possible once over 50 percent of the hashing power is confined to one actor. It is argued that this vulnerability isn’t a big deal as the actors who have invested large sums into the network depend on the survival of the coin. Thus, POW introduces a security and monopoly problem. Also, with this implies that the operation is both economically and environmentally inefficient.

POS presents its own problems as well. Agruabley, they are even more vulnerable to centralization. In POS, the size of the networks participants holding determine authority and voting power.
To combat this, Skycoin uses a distributed consensus algorithm called Obelisk. Obelisk distributes influence over the network according to a ‘web of trust’.

To explain this-every node has a list of other nodes that it subscribes to, and the density of a node’s subscriber list determines the nodes influence on the network. Each node has its own personal blockchain which acts as a public broadcasting channel where all of a nodes actions are visible and recorded on that blockchain.
So all consensus decisions and communication occur through the nodes personal blockchain, which lets the community very easily audit nodes for cheating and collusion.

Basically if the community does not trust the nodes representing them or feels that power within the network is too concentrated (or not concentrated enough) the community is able to collectively shift the balance of power in the network by collectively changing their trust relationships in the network. The accountability of nodes to the community and 3rd party audits as well as the transparency of consensus solidifies overall decision-making and introduces a highly democratic and decentralized element to the network.
Nodes share blocks with eachother, if there is bad blocks, you reject it and so do the trusted peers. There can be malicious nodes, but they have no impact if you don’t trust them.

A Decentralized Internet

A big question asked by the skycoin community is how can we create a free and truly open internet? To answer and solve this question skycoin has developed skywire the second pillar of the skycoin project
Skywire can be defineds as a new alternative internet. They aim to take control from large internet service providers and give it back to the actual users. Skywire is based off of a new networking protocol called multi-protocol label switching or mpls.

MPLS benefits include
1.speed
2.quality of service
3. reliability
4. sercurity
These features allow maximum privacy, and allows users to bypass ISPs and essentially become their own ISP
You may be asking yourself how does skycoin fit into this? Skycoin is the currency of skywire. When a user forwards traffic or provides network resoruces, they receive skycoin. And the opposite, when a user consumers network resources, they spend skycoin.

Skywire Miner

Here is where things get interesting folks, the third pillar!
This is the skywire, I guess you technically could call it miner. It functions as a miner for skycoins and acts as a specialized vpn. You plug inn the hardware and it VPNs your whole house and all its connections.

Hardware specs

8 CPU boards 2 GB of RAM per board 4 CPU cores per board 64 GB of storage per board 64-bit Linux (Alpine Linux) Gigabit ethernet, 8+1 port switch Each board features an ARM processor, 2 GB of RAM, and anywhere from 32 to 256 GB flash storage.

Server-hardware is segmented that if one service is compromised, the other services can’t be. Model does not have SAATA but we will have a model with it where you could hook up 16x2TB drives and download half the pirate bay to a cluster

Skyledger

The next pillar of the skycoin project is the skyledger. This is a platform that is similar to the ERC20 of Ethereum, but better for these reasons:

• They give every coin their own blockchain and the platform runs on top of the Skywire infrastructure, and we get a fee from that.
• They have a programming language (CX), not “smart contracts”
• They let the developers of each chain hardcode whatever they want to do.

Skycoin Ecosystem

The fifth and final pillar is an ecosystem of apps being built on top of three things
1. Sky messenger which an anonymous instant messenger. You can send messages to others by public keys on the messenger
2. Distributed social media-like steemit but you decide on the algorithm for your feed
3. A file sharing/dropbox type functionality

In my personal opinion, the project is undervalued. Looking at the price, Skycoin has been seeing consistent gains the past few weeks in spite of the hardfork bullshit. Currentely one skycoin is trading at 4 dollars, which gives it a small market cap of 23 million dollars.

Circulating Supply is small, with just over 5 million coins circulating. You could see massive gains once this project gets its time in the spotlight. With the skywire miner releasing soon, new developments happening everyday, and consistent work on github. This is a project that gets my seal of approval, and some of my hard earned dollars. Cheers Skycoin!!

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