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Savannah

Join the Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Valentine's Day Bitcoin

Remember that Ex you dumped? It’s time to win them back...

We know Valentine’s Day can be hard. But you don’t have to spend it alone. Mysterium’s crypto VPN will always be here for you, with versions for Android, Windows and Mac. (Hold on iOS, we’re coming for you!)

To show you that we care, we’re reuniting you with your favourite crypto, and introducing you to a very special new one (MYST), so you can experience the dVPN magic for yourself. 

Show us some love on Twitter by following us, then commenting on, or quote ReTweeting, our official V-Day Giveaway tweet.

Just tell us which cryptocurrency you ever regret selling and why, and you could win equal parts of your ex-token and MYST.

It will be the perfect pair <3 so you can start unblocking and anonymously accessing all the content your heart desires.

You’ll win up to $50 USD worth of crypto, split between the two types of tokens. 

Three winners will be announced on Valentines day, 14th Feb. 

Please read our Terms & Conditions for the competition below and learn more about Mysterium VPN.

Discover Mysterium dVPN

Mysterium Apps

Pay-as-you-go

 ⚡️ Stream, connect, share and socialise by the second

🔌 Switch on and off whenever you need. Only pay for what you actually use

💸 No contracts, no subscription, no locked-in costs

ادفع بالعملات الرقمية المشفرة

👻 It can’t be blocked and tracked

🕵️‍♂️ Pay for your privacy the anonymous way

Stay invisible, secure and untraceable

🔗 Technologically impossible to store central logs or data

🛡 Protect all your devices with OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols

 🌐 Select any IP address you like from our global list

البنود و الظروف.

OFFICIAL RULES: Mysterium Network Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Competition is open to all residents with no purchase necessary. 

Entrants who have created social accounts purely for the purpose of entering Competition will not be eligible to win.

Entrants must be able to receive prizes via a cryptocurrency wallet address to be eligible to win. Entrants are responsible for creating and providing a cryptocurrency wallet address to collect prize(s). 

Winners will be chosen and announced on or before 14th February 2021 and announced via @MysteriumNet Twitter account. 

No purchase necessary to enter or win a prize in this Competition (defined below). A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Void where prohibited by law.

Enter via use of a personal Twitter account.

The Competition is a campaign sponsored by BlockDev AG independently and is in no way endorsed by Twitter, Inc.

By entering into the Competition you agree to be bound by these official rules, please read them carefully before entering. Without limitation, this contract includes indemnities to the sponsor from you and a limitation of your rights and remedies.

 

GENERAL

  1. Sponsor: “Mysterium Network” is sponsored by BlockDev AG, a company incorporated under the laws of Switzerland (“Mysterium Network” or “Sponsor” of “Mysterium” for the purpose of this document), 

 

  1. Eligibility:

The Competition is open on the date of entry to those who have a Twitter account.

 

  1. Competition Period:

The competition begins at 11:00 GMT on February 9th 20201 until 16:00pm  GMT on February 14th 2021 (“Competition Period”).

 

  1. How to Enter:

To participate and enter this competition: you will need an eligible account on Twitter. 

If you don’t already have a Twitter account, visit https://www.Twitter.com to create one; or visit your App store and download Twitter; creating a Twitter account is free. By submitting your information and creating a Twitter account, you will be required to agree to the Twitter terms of service and privacy notice. If you do not agree to Twitter’s terms of service and privacy notice, you cannot create a Twitter account. Availability is subjected to supported countries.

 

To enter the competition on Twitter, the Entrants must complete the following actions:

  • Navigate to the official Twitter account of Mysterium Network, https://twitter.com/MysteriumNet or @MysteriumNet
  • Follow the official Mysterium Network account on Twitter.
  • Navigate to Reply-To or comment on the Tweet about Mysterium’s Valentine’s Day competition. Quote ReTweeting is also acceptable. You must write which cryptocurrency you regret selling and why.

 

NOTE: Sponsor may not receive entries from Twitter users with “protected” or “private” updates (i.e., user has set their Social Media Account or so that only people the user has approved can view updates)

 

Each entrant can only win one time, or one Prize in this Competition. Entrants who have won a prize from Mysterium Network within 90 days are not eligible and will be disqualified. 

 

Sponsor may disqualify entries if the Entry and related tag includes inappropriate, offensive, or other derogatory language or information. Sponsor reserves the right to remove, reject, or disqualify (along with the Entrants who submitted them) any Entry or related tag which, in its sole opinion, (a) violates any of these Official Rules, the terms of service and privacy policy of Twitter or Mysterium Network, (b) infringes, misappropriates, or violates any rights of any third party including, without limitation, patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, or right of privacy or publicity, or (c) is otherwise inappropriate for inclusion in the Competition. For purposes of this Competition, only Entries that are recorded through Twitter will be included. Other proof of submitting an Entry (such as a printed or copied screenshot or message) does not constitute proof of actual receipt of the Entry for purposes of this Competition. 

 

Entries and Twitter posts not received by Sponsor will not be entered into the Competition. Attempts made by an individual to submit Entries in violation of these Official Rules by using multiple or false contact information or otherwise may be disqualified. Entries that are generated by a macro, bot, or other automated means will not be accepted and will be void. Entries made by any other individual or any entity or group, or originating at any website other than as set forth specifically above, including, without limitation, through commercial Competition subscription notification or entering services, will be declared invalid and disqualified for this Competition. 

 

As a condition of entering the Competition, without limiting any other provision in these Official Rules, each Entrant gives consent for Sponsor and its agents to obtain and deliver his or her name, address and other information to third parties for the purpose of administering this Competition and complying with applicable laws, regulations, and rules. Such third parties may use your information for their own independent purposes in accordance with their own independent privacy practices. Except as otherwise contemplated in these Official Rules,

 

The Sponsor is not responsible for any changes or unavailability of Twitter services that may interfere with the Competition (including any limitations, restrictions, or any conditions on Sponsor’s ability to use Twitter for the Competition as set forth herein that are not acceptable to Sponsor) or ability of Entrant to timely enter, receive notices or communicate with Sponsor via Twitter, in which case Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may terminate or modify the Competition. It is a potential winner’s responsibility to set his/her Social Media Account as applicable, to accept contacts by Sponsor and to timely check such account for any Sponsor direct messages.

 

  1. Winners Selection:

Winners will be chosen by the Sponsor. The odds of winning depend on the relevancy, quality and popularity of Entries received through Twitter.

 

If a winner did not fulfill the requirements that constitute an Entry then the Prize is automatically forfeited in Sponsor’s sole discretion.

 

Entrants cannot win more than one Prize during the duration of this promotion. Entrants who have won a prize from Mysterium Network within 90 days are not eligible and will be disqualified. 

 

  1. Winner Notification:

 

The Prize Winners on Twitter will be notified by receiving a direct message from @MysteriumNet to their Twitter account with a request for their cryptocurrency wallet address, (a “Winner Notification”). Once the Prize Winner provides such information they will receive the prize in their cryptocurrency wallet address. 

 

Prize winners receiving Winner Notifications will NEVER be asked for private keys or private information. Mysterium Network is not responsible for loss of funds due to incorrect or inactive cryptocurrency addresses, or sharing of private login and private key information of which Mysterium Network does not require for participation or prize retrieval associated with this promotion.  Prize winners are advised to backup their wallets and save their seed or private keys in a safe location that is offline. 

 

All other Prize Winners will be notified by the contact information they provided to the @MysteriumNet Twitter account, such as Email address, with a request from an official Mysterium Network team member to confirm their preferred cryptocurrency wallet address (a “Winner Notification”). 

 

If any Winner Notification or other Competition communication is rejected or returned as undeliverable, if a potential Winner cannot be reached after a reasonable attempt has been made by Sponsor (as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion), or if the potential Winner fails to respond to a Winner Notification within 48 hours, the prize will be forfeited in Sponsor’s sole discretion. 

 

Sponsor reserves the right to modify the notification procedures in connection with the selection of any alternate potential Winner. If legitimately claimed in compliance with these Official Rules, the prize will be awarded. 

 

 

  1. Prizes:

Eligible entrants will be selected to receive a select amount of MYST from the prize lot. 

Each of the Prize Winners will win one prize from the prize lot. 

The prize lot is as follows:

Three (3) distributions of cryptocurrency tokens valued at $50 USD, in equal share of $25 USD in MYST and $25 USD in Prize Winner’s cryptocurrency of choice, such as Bitcoin (BTC).

 

 

The Prize Winners will receive their prize in a cryptocurrency wallet of their choice pending communication after Winner notification. 

 

All prize details not specified in these Official Rules will be determined in Sponsor’s sole discretion. Sponsor is not responsible for and will not replace any lost or stolen prize or any prize that is undeliverable or does not reach the Prize Winner because of incorrect or changed contact information. If the Prize Winner does not accept the entire prize, the unaccepted or unused part of the prize will be forfeited and Sponsor will have no further obligation with respect to that prize or portion of the prize. Sponsor is not responsible for any inability of the Prize Winner to accept or use any Prize (or portion thereof) for any reason. No transfers or prize substitutions will be made, except at Sponsor’s sole discretion. No more than the stated prizes will be awarded. Participants waive the right to assert as a cost of winning any prize, any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to claim or use a prize and any liability and publicity which might arise from claiming, seeking to claim, or using a prize.

 

  1. Licenses and Approvals:

Entrants may not submit an Entry on behalf of someone else. By submitting an Entry, Entrant represents and warrants that Entrant meets all eligibility criteria for participation in the Competition. In addition, by submitting an Entry in this Competition, Entrant grants the Sponsor an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive worldwide license to publish, post, display, copy, distribute, transmit, edit, use alone, together or with other works, and otherwise exploit the Entry, Entrant’s name, voice, persona, likeness, image, prize information, any quotes attributable to Entrant, biographical data and any other indicia of persona in any manner whatsoever throughout the world, including on the Internet, and at any time or times, in connection with the Competition, in any and all forms of media, now known or hereafter discovered, without additional compensation, review or approval rights, notification or permission, except where prohibited by law, and Entrant releases all Releasees (as defined below) from any and all liability related thereto. Entrant further acknowledges that if Entrant is chosen as a winner, Entrants identifying information, including but not limited to Entrants name, may be disclosed to third parties including, without limitation, being placed on a winners’ list.

 

  1. Limitation of Liability:

The Releasees are not responsible or liable for any of the following: (a) stolen, lost, late, misdirected, garbled, mutilated, damaged, incomplete, inaccurate, or illegible Entries, e-mail, mail, Competition-related correspondence or postage-due mail or any technical, computer, mechanical, printing, typographical, human or other errors relating to or in connection with the Competition, including, without limitation, errors which may occur in connection with the administration of the Competition, the mailing or transmission of notification or correspondence, the processing of Entries, the announcement of any prize or in any Competition related materials; (b) technical failures of any kind; (c) unauthorized human and/or mechanical intervention; (d) human error; (e) any error, omission, interruption, defect or delay in transmission or communication; (f) viruses or mechanical malfunctions; (g) errors, typos, or misprints in these Official Rules, in any Competition related advertisements or other materials; or (h) lost or unavailable network connections. Sponsor is not responsible for electronic communications that are undeliverable as a result of any form of filtering or insufficient space in Entrant’s email account. Sponsor is not responsible, and may disqualify Entrant, if his or her email address, telephone, or other contact information does not work or if it is changed without Entrant giving prior written notice to Sponsor. If for any reason an Entry is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost or otherwise destroyed, corrupted or for any other reason not accepted as an entry into the Competition, Entrant’s sole remedy is another Entry in the Competition.

 

As a condition of participating in this Competition, each Entrant agrees to release, indemnify and hold harmless sponsor, Competition entities, Twitter, and each of their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, divisions and advertising, and public relations agencies, and each of their respective agents, representatives, officers, directors, members, shareholders and employees (collectively, “releasees”) from and against any liability whatsoever for injuries or damages of any kind sustained in connection with the use, acceptance, possession, misuse or awarding of any prize, while preparing for, participating in and/or traveling to or from any Competition or prize related activity, including, without limitation, any injury, damage, death, loss, or accident to person or property. Each winner agrees that the prize is provided as-is without any warranty, representation or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, whether now known or hereinafter enacted, relative to the use or enjoyment of the prize. Further, the releasees are not responsible in any way for any additional expenses, omissions, delays, or re-routing resulting from any acts of any government or authority.

 

  1. Additional Disclaimers:

Without limiting any other provision in these Official Rules, Releasees are not responsible or liable to any entrant or Prize Winner or any person claiming through such entrant or Winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof in the event that any of the Competition activities or the Releasees’ operations or activities are affected, as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, including, without limitation, by reason of any acts of God, any action, regulation, equipment failure, threatened terrorist acts, terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war, fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any law, rule, regulation, order or other action adopted or taken by any governmental, federal, state or local government authority, or any other cause, whether or not specifically mentioned above.

 

  1. Disputes and Governing Law:

By participating in the Competition, each entrant agrees that to the extent permitted by applicable law: (1) Any and all disputes, claims and causes of action that cannot be resolved between Entrant and any releasee arising out of or connected with the Competition, or any prize awarded, will be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (2) Any and all claims, judgments and awards will be limited to actual third-party, out-of-pocket costs incurred, (if any), not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00), but in no event will attorneys’ fees be awarded or recoverable; (3) Under no circumstances will any Entrant be permitted to obtain any award for, and Entrant hereby knowingly and expressly waives all rights to seek, punitive, incidental, consequential or special damages, lost profits and/or any other damages, other than actual out-of-pocket expenses not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00), and/or any rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased; and (4) Entrant’s remedies are limited to a claim for money damages (if any) and Entrant irrevocably waives any right to seek injunctive or equitable relief.

 

These Official Rules shall be governed by the laws of Switzerland. Any dispute, controversy, difference or claim arising out of or relating to this Memorandum, including the existence, validity, interpretation, performance, breach or termination thereof or any dispute regarding non-contractual obligations arising out of or relating to it shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration administered by the ICC International Court of Arbitration under the Switzerland International Chamber of Commerce Administered Arbitration rules in force when the Notice of Arbitration is submitted. 

 

  1. General Rules:

Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Sponsor’s decisions will be final in all matters relating to the Competition, Sponsor reserves the right to restrict or void online Entries or participation from any IP address if any suspicious Entry and/or participation is detected. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to void Entries of any Entrants who Sponsor believes has attempted to tamper with or impair the administration, security, fairness or proper play of the Competition. In the event there is an alleged or actual ambiguity, discrepancy or inconsistency between disclosures or other statements contained in any Competition-related materials and/or these Official Rules (including any alleged discrepancy or inconsistency in these Official Rules), it will be resolved in Sponsor’s sole discretion. Entrants waive any right to claim ambiguity in the Competition or these Official Rules. If Sponsor determines at any time in its sole discretion that Entrant is disqualified, ineligible, or in violation of these Official Rules, or engaging in behavior that Sponsor deems obnoxious, inappropriate, threatening, illegal or that is intended to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person, Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to select an alternate winner. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Official Rules will not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. If the Competition is not capable of running as planned for any reason, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, modify or suspend the Competition and award the prize from eligible entries received prior to cancellation, modification, or suspension or as otherwise deemed fair and appropriate by Sponsor. In the event of a dispute concerning who submitted an Entry, the participant will be declared to be the registered account holder of the Social Media Account as applicable, of record for the account submitting an Entry during the Competition Period, but only if that person meets all other eligibility criteria, otherwise the Entry may be disqualified and any potential Prize won will be forfeited in Sponsor’s sole discretion. Each potential Winner may be required to provide Sponsor with proof that he or she is the authorized account holder. If a dispute cannot be resolved to Sponsor’s satisfaction, the Entry and individual(s) may be deemed ineligible in Sponsor’s sole discretion. Any damage made to the Website, and the Twitter service will be the responsibility of the registered account holder of the e-mail address for the Social Media Account, as applicable, submitted at the time of entry. Any attempt to damage an online service or web site or undermine the legitimate operations of the Competition violates criminal and civil laws. If any such attempt is made, the sponsor may seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law and may disqualify any participant making such attempt. 

 

  1. Official Rules and Winner List:

For a copy of these Official Rules or a list of winners, please email the Sponsor at help@mysterium.network

$MYST now listed on Bittrex Global

Bittrex Mysterium MYST

Major exchange Bittrex has launched Mysterium on their platform, introducing MYST token to the global cryptocurrency market.

This listing is an exciting gateway to MYST and unlocks new liquidity for the entire Mysterium ecosystem. 

Anyone holding MYST will now be able to receive and store their tokens in their Bittrex wallets.

From 28th January, any Bittrex Global user holding Bitcoin (BTC) or USDT can easily get their hands on some MYST tokens.

The trading pairs available:

  • BTC <> MYST
  • USDT <> MYST

Note that users who send their old legacy MYST tokens (unmigrated) to the exchange will LOSE them permanently. Learn how to migrate manually here.

What this means for the community

Uganda protests social media tax

Internet censorship and surveillance is expected to worsen in 2021. In the second week of January alone, a total internet shutdown was ordered in Uganda, coordinated by the country’s dictatorial leadership, in an attempt to disrupt the nation’s democratic general election. 

Mysterium’s peer-to-peer network powers censorship-resistant applications which can give users secure and private access to the internet. We are reinventing the $30 billion VPN industry with this next-generation internet technology. 

It helps bypass debilitating blackouts which infringe on our basic human rights, such as freedom of speech and access to information. We’re rewiring the internet from the inside out, creating a new, more secure layer of the internet that cannot be switched off by governments or corporations.

And the MYST token ties it all together.

As we grow and make Mysterium Network an increasingly global platform, we need this native token to also be available and tradeable on a global level. 

Though built on Ethereum, we’re a blockchain agnostic project. We want to ensure our community is made up of a diverse range of cryptocurrency users, not just those familiar with Ethereum-based utility tokens. 

Making MYST available on a global exchange means we can lower the barrier to entry so our dVPN can be discovered and easily accessible by crypto holders everywhere.

What is MYST?

MYST is the network’s reserve currency. Instead of paying a regular VPN service a monthly subscription to unblock websites and apps, users pay peers (nodes) within the distributed network to connect to their residential IP address. Users can pay with MYST and other major cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), while nodes easily earn MYST by the minute or hour.

The MYST token does more than transfer value in the network. It acts like digital fuel, powering Mysterium’s various functions and applications, while keeping the network safe from things like DDoS attacks. 

Like most other cryptocurrencies, MYST has helped forge new online communities, where global networks like ours can easily share internet resources with each other, such as storage, computing power, and now privacy.

web 3 mysterium

MYST token helps power new decentralised apps and platforms which make up the Web 3.0

What is Bittrex Global?

Bittrex Global is a secure, reliable and advanced digital asset trading platform developed for international (non-USA) customers and built on Bittrex’s cutting-edge technology. This international trading platform provides innovative tokens, while also providing instant trade execution, dependable digital wallets, and industry-leading security practices.

Some main benefits of trading via Bittrex:

  • Secure platform 

Bittrex Global employs the most reliable, effective security technologies available. Security is always their first priority. 

  • Custom-built trading engine

Their custom trading engine was designed to be scalable and to ensure that orders are executed in real-time. 

  • Fast deposits and withdrawals

A highly efficient and automated monitoring platform allows Bittrex to provide users the fastest transactions available today. This includes updates on balance, trade, and holding information. 

  • Driving Innovation 

To help drive innovation in the blockchain industry, Bittrex seeks to provide its users with an ever-growing selection of blockchain technologies and digital tokens, including tokenised stocks of Tesla, Apple and Amazon shares.

Bittrex trading competition

MYST trading competition on Bittrex Global

To kick off our launch on Bittrex Global, we’re giving away $15,000 in MYST tokens to our new community of Bittrex users.

The competition will kick off on the 1st of February and run for seven days. It includes three types of promotions, which reward Bittrex users when they trade with MYST. You can read about the trading competition on the Bittrex website.

Note that to participate in this competition you will need a Bittrex Global account.

 

Promotion #1: Trade MYST to win $7,500 in MYST Tokens

Promotion #2: Buy MYST to Win $5,000 in MYST Tokens

Promotion #3: Sign up for a Bittrex Global account, trade MYST, and get free tokens 

 

(Terms and conditions apply, so be sure to read these first on the Bittrex website.)

Uniswap Liquidity Campaign

For those seeking a decentralized trading alternative, we launched the MYST Liquidity Engagement Campaign earlier this month. It rewards liquidity providers for providing liquidity to the MYST/ETH pair on UniSwap.

We have already completed our latest airdrop for participants, with our liquidity pool doubling in size since the beginning of the campaign. So far, participants have received their share of more than 7700 $MYST.

Join the campaign here.

Uniswap Liquidity

Dive into the dVPN with MYST

Last month we shared details of Mysterium’s testnet upgrade, which came with some exciting new features and functionalities. This includes changes to our node registration flow, updates to My Mysterium Network, a different UI, the ability to earn in 2 networks during the migration, top up VPN apps with your crypto of choice (not just MYST), and the freedom to use our dApp in China!

We have been in stealth mode upgrading a small percentage of our user base and node runners onto Testnet 2.0, to test and learn. Now we’re rolling out Testnet 2.0 to everyone on Mysterium Network. 

You can experience the power of our global, decentralized network at your fingertips, using your crypto of choice. Top up your Mysterium dVPN account with Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether or any other major crypto thanks to our Coingate integration. 

crypto vpn

Download Mysterium dVPN today and experience some MYST magic for yourself.

With Mysterium dVPN, you’ll get some free test tokens. After you run out of these tokens, you will be prompted to top up with MYST, BTC, LTC or other cryptocurrencies. Download the Mysterium VPN now and try before you buy.

Mysterium Network Product Updates – November 2020

Mysterium Network is building a decentralised VPN. Our global network is open, permissionless and distributed. Last year we focused on finetuning our node software, and understanding the dynamics of incentivised networks. This year, we’re focusing on building censorship-proof applications. If you haven’t already, please make sure to download Mysterium VPN for Windows, Mac and Android. Let us know what you think on النقاش or تويتر.

The past month has seen us charge full steam ahead with our Testnet 2.0 upgrade. With this upgrade comes some exciting new features and functionalities for both users and node runners within the network.

Check out these latest product updates;

 

Testnet 2.0 launched (beta)

We deployed the newest version of our smart contracts onto the Goerli testnet.

This updated Testnet 2.0 (version v0.41 of the Mysterium app) is being tried out by a small group of beta testers. Based on their feedback and experiences, 2.0 should be released for everyone else very soon.

With this upgrade, node registration flow has changed. Providers will get free registration with zero stake (while still on testnet) and should keep their same Testnet 1.0 identity. For providers, any earned settlement is two times cheaper than before.

These new smart contracts are also using a new version of MYSTT token. It’s essentially the same as our real MYST token, but on Goerli testnet. It has 18 zeros after comma (instead of 8 ), which required us to refactor all payments-related code to account for micropayments correctly.

 

Top up with your crypto of choice

All Android beta testers can now top up their Mysterium VPN balance using various cryptocurrencies (other than MYST), such as BTC, LTC, ETH, Dai and more! This will soon be available to our entire community of Android users. Note you’ll need to download or update to the latest version of the app (v0.40+) when available.

This functionality is supported by an upgraded Hermes protocol, with our micropayment hub now supporting multiple chains.

 

Unblocked in China

We’ve been working hard to reverse the ban of Mysterium VPN in China. The first iteration of our unblocking is done. Those who start using Testnet 2.0 apps (node v0.40+) will be able to access Mysterium from China!

 

Cleaner UI

We updated the Web UI so it is far more stable, with fewer glitches.

We found and fixed lots of bugs found during ALPHA testing in preparation of our upcoming node release.

We also created user-friendly consumer CLI commands. Now it’s much easier to use Mysterium VPN for advanced Linux users and on servers.

 

Matic x Mysterium 

We started working on our integration with Matic Network. Most of our infrastructure components are ready for Matic, so now we’re working on building the Matic<>Ethereum bridges needed before its public release.

 

My.Mysterium.Network updates

We updated and deployed multiple versions of MMN, so users of Testnet 1.0, Testnet 2.0 and the upcoming betanet could get access to an aggregated node dashboard. The Testnet 2.0 version of MMN will look a little different than yje current version, and we hope it will solve a couple of usability problems we had before.

Nodes can also store beneficiary (payout) wallet address on the Ethereum blockchain, instead of a database. The new MMN has been adapted so it can be used for bounty payments.

We also discovered some node runners who were cheating the system. We therefore started a blacklist so they could not participate in any future bounty program.

Want to get involved in Mysterium Network today?

Mysterium Network is a decentralized VPN, with a growing global residential IP node network. There are versions for  ذكري المظهرMac and Windows, currently free before our full launch.

Stay tuned for more updates. If you are interested in participating, running a node, or generally have any questions, jump into our discord channel and speak directly with our core team.

How To Bypass Internet Shutdown

internet blackout toolkit

How does an internet shutdown work? And how do you bypass internet shutdowns? Learn about the different tools, platforms and software that will keep you online.

Discover and download the Internet Blackout Toolkit so you can be prepared and keep connected.

What is an Internet Shutdown?

In simple words, an internet shutdown involves intentionally disrupting or blocking internet access. They are also referred to as kill switches and blackouts. They can be done through throttling, when connectivity speeds are reduced to such a slow pace it’s almost impossible for pages to load. It’s also done by working with Internet Service Providers to cut off web access altogether.

Internet blackouts can occur at a localised or even national level, where an entire country has its telecommunications cut off. They are divided into two categories;

Partial Shutdown: The government limits access to specific websites or apps. A partial shutdown is done to prevent people from sharing information with others, typically via social media. 

Total Shutdown: In a total shutdown, all internet services are entirely stopped, including mobile data services and broadband carriers. The internet is no longer functional, and people cannot get online via any device. In developing nations, where internet access is unreliable, people take some time to understand that an intentional intervention is taking place. 

Shutdowns are becoming more common every year. In 2015, only 15 shutdowns were documented. This number rose to 56 in 2016. In India alone, Human Rights Watch reported 20 shutdowns in 2017. However, www.internetshutdowns.in documented 41 shutdowns for the same period.

Why are Internet Shutdowns Used?

Most governments around the world apply censorship in some way or another. But a total Internet shutdown has a more immediate and widespread effect.

Concerns for national security are the leading cause of internet shutdowns globally. But governments also claim that shutdowns are necessary to prevent the spread of misinformation and ensure public safety

Some common reasons given for blackouts: 

More often than not, internet shutdowns are a means to control the views and actions of people. They limit a citizen’s ability to access information and express themselves freely. It means businesses are put on hold, students can’t study, and critical health services cannot be reached. Overall, the economy suffers and social life is disrupted. 

Internet shutdowns and your human rights

In more extreme cases, shutdowns disrupt democracy and journalists cannot report on government corruption or abuse. Social media blackouts are also commonly used during elections to minimise public discourse, stifle dissent and weaken minority groups. These platforms for open expression and communication, such as Twitter, are a threat to many dictatorial regimes and are therefore blocked. It’s far easier to control and promote the official government narrative if the general population is silenced. 

Unsurprisingly though, internet blackouts tend to attract global attention and put pressure on countries that use them. This produces the Streisand effect, in which trying to hide information or silence voices can cause the unintended effect of bringing these events even more attention. By incorporating transparency into governmental procedures, civil unrest is less likely to occur. 

The world leader in internet shutdowns is India, who frequently shutdown the internet in certain regions for reasons such as avoiding loss of life during periods of crisis. Yet an outdated law from 1885 is used to justify these frequent internet shutdowns. In 2019, authorities shut down the internet in Kashmir for months, revoking their autonomy and statehood. This was deemed necessary to avoid “to maintain security in the restive territory claimed by both India and Pakistan.”. 

However, a study by Stanford Global Digital Policy Incubator states that shutdowns are counterproductive to discouraging violent events. The study found there was an increase of violence by four times when networks were disrupted. 

Other experts believe that as the frequency of internet shutdowns increase, they will become normalised. So while national security is the initial justification, citizens may become complacent over time, even as the use of shutdowns are used for more sinister purposes.

Impacts of Internet Shutdown

Aside from the threat to people’s human rights, internet shutdowns have a major impact on national economies, jobs and growth. Businesses are cut off from their customers, suppliers and distributors, incurring huge losses that governments won’t simply pay back. 

According to Brookings, in 2015-16, internet shutdowns cost the entire world $2.4 billion, with India alone suffering a loss of $1bn in economic production. During the Arab Spring in Egypt, the cost of an internet blackout resulted in a $90 million loss. If the shutdown continued for the whole year, it would have cost 3-4% of Egypt’s GDP

In Cameroon, many entrepreneurs suffer during an internet shutdown. Businesses that rely on the internet, especially e-commerce websites, were adversely impacted. As a residual effect, shutdowns prevent investment opportunities; if businesses operate in a country with frequent shutdowns, investors are not likely to back them, as they can’t continuously run their business operations. 

If a website is hosted in a particular country that experiences a blackout, this means the rest of the world also loses access to that service. This could disrupt or cut off supply chains, financial transactions, interpersonal communication, and enterprise workflows. It may also have a localisation effect, as the internet no longer becomes a reliable platform for business, forcing companies to turn inward, rather than outward and join the global economy. 

Aside from the economy, most people depend on the internet in some way in their daily lives. Without a functioning internet, fundamental services like healthcare, education, banks, and other public services are slowed down or come to a standstill. Quality of life is greatly diminished and the risk to livelihoods and health increases, especially when people can’t contact emergency services.

A local internet shutdown can also have a significant technical impact on the rest of the internet. The web is an interconnected network where everyone contributes to the system as a whole. Internet shutdowns can undermine the network and generate systemic risks.

How to Bypass Internet Shutdowns?

The United Nations Human Rights Council condemned internet blackouts for breaching your human rights. And while internet shutdowns are still becoming more commonplace, there are ways to arm yourself now in case you experience one. 

Here are some ways to bypass internet shutdowns; 

Use a VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates a secure portal between devices, providing an encrypted connection to the internet no matter where you are. When you use a VPN, your computer or phone is connected to a VPN’s server, located overseas. This hides your IP address and enables you to visit websites that were restricted before, as you’re “tricking” your ISP into thinking you’re somewhere else. VPNs are regarded as the easiest and safest way to bypass internet shutdowns. 

Laws around the use of VPNs vary by region. It’s important to understand the security aspects of each network before you use them. You can read through That One Privacy Site to learn about these different virtual networks.

Mysterium Network offers a decentralized VPN, which is built on the world’s largest P2P network. You can easily select from a list of locations around the world to connect to, unblocking content. It’s open-source and available for Mac, Windows, and Android. 

Also ensure that websites you visit are running over HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), even when using a VPN. This means you will always access the original website and not any modified version of it. You can install HTTPS Everywhere extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, to guarantee you’re browsing the encrypted version of the website. 

Circumvention Tools and Proxies

Circumvention tools help you bypass censored websites and anonymously browse the internet. They can help you become undetectable to ISPs and governments. Users channel their traffic via a different computer – called a proxy. 

Psiphon is an award-winning circumvention system that leverages open-source web proxies, helping you skirt around content-filtering systems. 

Lantern is another open-source proxy software application for desktop and mobile. It provides users access to the open internet. Lantern is different from other tools as it leverages peer-to-peer connections for internet connectivity when servers are not available. 

Tails is an operating system that allows you to browse the internet on any computer. It uses cryptographic tools to encrypt email messages and files.

Tor Browser is a tool for accessing blocked websites without being tracked. It routes your traffic through a global node network run by volunteers, much like a decentralized VPN. This prevents surveillance of your browsing habits or tracing your location. It is very popular among journalists and privacy advocates. It’s available for Linux, Mac, Windows, and Android. 

Whonix is a free and open-source desktop operating system (OS) that is specifically designed for advanced security and privacy. The software helps you run your apps anonymously, anonymising everything you do online. The project suggests it’s the best way to use Tor, as it provides the strongest protection of your IP address. Whonix is available for Windows, macOS and Linux.

The Guardian Project also offers apps such as Orbot that help you access the internet anonymously by encrypting your internet traffic.

Use censorship-resistant websites and networks

Unstoppable Domains is a platform to launch uncensorable websites. The domain runs on the blockchain (decentralized and permanent) and is stored in your cryptocurrency wallet, so no one can take it down but you. You can also use their chat and email functions, so you can communicate directly peer-to-peer. 

I2P is an anonymous network built on top of the internet. It allows users to create and access content and build online communities. It is intended to protect communication and resist monitoring by third parties such as ISPs. All data is wrapped with several layers of encryption, and the network is both distributed and dynamic, with no trusted parties. 

Freenet is a peer-to-peer platform for censorship-resistant communication and publishing.

The software lets you anonymously share files, browse and publish “freesites” (web sites accessible only through Freenet) and chat on forums. Freenet is decentralised to make it less vulnerable to attack, and if used in “darknet” mode, users only connect to their friends, making it very difficult to detect. Communications by Freenet nodes are encrypted and are routed through other nodes to make it extremely difficult to determine who is requesting the information and what its content is.

Communication Tools - encrypted and offline

There are messaging tools that are designed for private and censorship-proof communications. Popular apps like Telegram encrypt your messaging, including client-client encryption with Secret Chats. Signal is also well-known for its encryption and security.

Vuvuzela is a private chat application that hides metadata, including who you chat with and when you are chatting. Vuvuzela supports millions of users and is secure even if the network and a majority of the servers are compromised.

There are also offline communication tools that don’t require any internet access, but you’ll have to download and set them up when online.

Tools like Briar and Firechat are encrypted messaging platforms and rely on peer-to-peer networks. Moreover, they’re free and open-source.

Another project is Bridgefy.me that works on a mesh network (more on these below). This helps you use applications without an internet connection. Available on both iOS and Android, it covers thousands of users at the same time. 

While you’ll be unable to browse Facebook and Google, you can create a chat room and voice your message there during an internet shutdown.

Mesh networks

In certain scenarios, governments can also shut down central telecom systems. This can cut off all connection, or reduce its quality so much that it’s barely useable. This creates a need for an entirely new network altogether. 

Instead of connecting to the internet through your ISP, mesh networks enable direct connection between devices, without any middlemen. Mesh networks automatically reconfigure connections, depending upon the availability and proximity of bandwidth and storage.

As they are decentralized networks, it isn’t easy to shut them down. One possible way to do it is by shutting down each node, which is near impossible. Hence, mesh networks are robust and resistant to internet shutdowns.

Mesh networks are a relatively new concept and haven’t been implemented on a wide scale use yet. However, projects like Commotion are accelerating the adoption of mesh networks. You can easily set up your own network using their technology.

More Resources

There are lots of great resources that can link you to even more tools. Check out these guides and lists, but note some of these apps and software are a bit more advanced to set up and require more technical knowledge;

Internet Blackout Toolkit – Mysterium Labs

GitHub – Danoctavian – Awesome Anti-Censorship

GitHub – Kevin Coleman Inc – Awesome Privacy 

GitHub – Lissy93 – Personal Security Checklist

Along with all this knowledge, also be sure to install antivirus software. This guarantees that there is no malicious software on your laptop. Ephraim Muchemi, who conducts training in digital security with the US-based non-profit International Research and Exchange Board, states that antivirus is the key to everything. Some suggested options are MalwareBytes and HitmanPro.

Organisations

There are also many organisations out there fighting for your digital freedom and human rights. You can learn about the work they’re doing, and often collaborate or get involved in advocacy work; 

Access Now is a group that defends citizen’s digital rights across the globe, with an objective to abolish the practice of internet shutdown. They are a great resource for learning about internet shutdowns. 

Article19 – works for a world where all people everywhere can freely express themselves and actively engage in public life without fear of discrimination.

We do this by working on two interlocking freedoms: the Freedom to Speak, and the Freedom to Know

Human Rights Watch – We advocate for laws and policies that promote privacy, digital inclusion, and respect for human rights by social media platforms.

Electronic Frontier Foundation – leading nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation

Internet Society  – a global nonprofit organization empowering people to keep the Internet a force for good: open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy.

Unblock the future

Recently, students from London’s Imperial College and Royal College of Art have developed a system, called Fallback, which offers access to news coverage through a portable satellite modem during internet shutdown. 

The tool is a subscription-based model that enables users to pre-select the news websites they usually read. During a shutdown, news articles can be encrypted and delivered to them via satellite. 

A portable server helps decrypt the data, and viewers can read on any Wifi-enabled device using a simplified user interface. Fallback works on a forecasting algorithm that can anticipate which nations are most at risk of an internet shutdown. Right now the team are trying to get the system up and running in countries where it’s needed most. 

An internet shutdown can be very daunting. But you rejoin the digital world by using the above tools and platforms. 

If you have a project or application that should be added to this list, please get in touch! We will be constantly updating it. 

Roadmap Update: no more free VPN, nodes get paid in $MYST

mysterium VPN

Has that gotten your attention?

 

Mysterium Network is maturing, alongside our wider ecosystem. With the freedom of speech online being debased, a global pandemic and other macro forces in play  – we see it as a priority to enable peer to peer payments in the most frictionless way possible. 

As we have written previously, transaction fees on Ethereum have proven to be a problem. But we have found the workaround.

To dive deeper, read these blogs:  

1. Layer 1, 2, 3 – and beyond: The search for the cheapest and fastest microtransactions. [2020]

2. Mysterium Network’s Head of Product, Jaro Šatkevič breaks down a lightweight solution for Mysterium Network payments

3. Mysterium Network micropayments whitepaper [2019]

 

Mysterium Network Updated Roadmap Q4 2020

What does this mean?

 

Step one: Network Fork 1

 

All users and node runners within Mysterium Network will have to upgrade into testnet version two (Testnet 2.0).


What is Testnet 2.0?


a) New smart contracts on Goerli testnet – Mysterium Testnet 2.0 will be using new test MYSTT token, same code as new MYST token, with `permit` function and 18 zeros (instead of 8) after the comma. We will also be using a new set of payments smart contracts which will halve settlement of collected funds and add support for being used in multiple chains.

Read more in our deep dive on Layer 2 solutions so as to avoid ETH transaction fees.

b) Payment processor integration into apps  – this will provide the possibility for dVPN consumers to top-up via their Mysterium account with a set of different cryptocurrencies (such as BTC, LTC, ETH, BCH, DAI or USDT). Paid funds will be converted into MYST (or to MYSTT while in testnetv2) token and be sent into the user’s payment channels (top-up address) on the blockchain.

c) 1 MYSTT will be equal to 1 MYST. Also, bounty payouts will be done in MYST tokens. Previously we have pegged 1 collected MYSTT to 1 USD and did node runner bounty payouts in ETH. To take us closer to MainNet environment conditions, the time has come to implement pay-outs in MYST tokens. We will be still using our ETH bounty fund reserves, but we will be buying MYST token on the market to do payouts for node runners.

Users will have to update their applications. You will be given a starter kit of MYSTT. Following this users will need to top up using BTC, LTC, ETH and other cryptocurrencies.

Existing Node Runners will need to upgrade their node into the newest version, network upgrade will be done under the hood. For further updates specific to Node Runners check out our regularly updated network fork guide. 


Please note: 

  • Node runner bounty will be paid only for Mysterium Node Runners running on Testnet 2.0 
  • Node runners will begin to receive payouts in $MYST. 


A month after the transition begins, testnet 1.0 will be completely destroyed. Network fork ends.

Step two: 

 

We will be releasing BetaNet (silent launch for a limited set of test users) and upgrading Testnet 2.0 to use some of Ethereum’s sidechain and cross-chain payments (consumers will be on a sidechain testnet, and node runners will have their accounts on Ethereum Goerli testnet).

This upgrade will happen under the hood and users may even not recognise that such change happened.

This will mean cheaper on-chain transactions for users and node runners as account registration and top-ups will happen on the sidechain instead of Ethereum Blockchain, once on MainNet.

Stay tuned for exciting integration partnerships coming very soon. Subscribe to our newsletter to hear it first. 

As you can clearly see, the nature of the service we are offering and the emerging markets that we are a natural ally to, make Ethereum’s current transaction fees a lock out when onboarding new customers. 

As such, like many other Ethereum-based projects, Mysterium Network has had to reroute our roadmap in search of scalability solutions to give our users the cheapest and fastest service possible, while maintaining decentralized and noncustodial architecture. 

In the following sections, we will review existing Layer 2 solutions in relation to Mysterium Network’s use case, explaining how they offer both opportunities and limitations.

Step three:
Testnet as we know it is going to be destroyed.

Step four:  

 

All users and node runners within Mysterium Network will be upgraded onto Mysterium MainNet in 2021.

 

What is MainNet?


MainNet is Mysterium Network on Ethereum Blockchain. All internal payments will be done using real MYST tokens.

Users will pay as they go for VPN service on Mysterium Network. Mysterium Network will run a few free nodes so that new users can test the service before topping up their account. This is also when we will look to roll out our much-awaited referral program, and other user-focused bounties. 

Node Runners will continue to be paid in MYST. This marks the end of the Mysterium Node Pilot No provider bounty is needed at this point and node runners can settle collected funds any time you like.

What happened to our Mysterium Pro plans?


As we had previously written, we were considering Mysterium Pro as our solution to high Ethereum transaction fees

Thanks, to Multichain support and the ability to use sidechains for consumer payment channels (top-up wallet management), we can avoid releasing a custodial MysteriumPro solution and instead merge its best features (such as pay in different cryptos, or one-click connect) into the default Mysterium VPN application itself. 

Onward to MainNet

 

Mysterium has been hard at work getting peer to peer payments implemented within the network. This has meant the navigation of a quickly shifting technological landscape. We wouldn’t be here without our community of node runners, users and token holders. 

We thank you for your ongoing support and are excited about the new changes to come as Mysterium Network grows to meet the new and very real challenges of our times. 

If you haven’t already, download Mysterium VPN or start to run a node.

Layer 1, 2, 3 and beyond: The search for the cheapest and fastest microtransactions

How many layers does it take to get cheap and fast microtransactions?

Building on top of a quickly iterating Layer-2 scaling ecosystem has meant murky navigation of several new technologies. This is especially difficult for builders looking to find workarounds for high transaction fees on the Ethereum blockchain. 

The recent DeFi boom has led to users cramming into Ethereum Network and creating a large backlog of unprocessed transactions. This has meant network congestion, and high transaction fees – both of which are natural killers for decentralized applications and networks. 

Why are cheap and fast microtransactions important for decentralized networks? 

In Mysterium, a decentralized VPN, payments are peer to peer. Consumers of VPN are directly paying exit node runners for VPN service. As such, there is no middleman with the power to freeze payments. This means that payments happen minute by minute, with transaction values as small as 0.0001 USD (in our native token MYST).

The nature of the peer to peer, and second by second service consumption mean that decentralized VPNs, and other incentivized distributed networks depend on microtransactions as a means of reducing risk within their network economy. Learn more about peer to peer technologies.

Earlier this year, we released our own Layer 2 solution (based on payment channels) on Testnet. This enabled users to transact with one another autonomously, without a need for an intermediary (including us) and without touching Layer 1 (Ethereum blockchain). This introduced super cheap and instant transactions, and allowed paying with values as small as $0.0001.

However, one of the challenges with payment channels, our protocol included, is the need to have specific on-chain transactions. In the case of Mysterium Network this is seen in two events, dVPN account creation and top-up. 

Onward - the search for scalability

User story: As a user in Nigeria, I am looking for a VPN solution that lets me pay for what I consume. I am unable to afford the expensive subscription pricing of traditional VPNs. I try Mysterium VPN, which allows me to stream a video for $0.05 USD in MYST on their freemium version. I run out of free MYST and want to add an additional $1 USD (in MYST). I try to top up. It costs me $2.25 in ethereum tx fees to top up my Mysterium Account. I delete the app.

See our how our userbase is growing in Nigeria.

As you can clearly see, the nature of the service we are offering and the emerging markets that we are a natural ally to, make Ethereum’s current transaction fees a lock out when onboarding new customers. 

As such, like many other Ethereum-based projects, Mysterium Network has had to reroute our roadmap in search of scalability solutions to give our users the cheapest and fastest service possible, while maintaining decentralized and noncustodial architecture. 

In the following sections, we will review existing Layer 2 solutions in relation to Mysterium Network’s use case, explaining how they offer both opportunities and limitations.

Methodology: An Overview of Existing Solutions

Recently at Mysterium we did more research on various Layer 2 solutions and conducted an overview of the most recognised and trustworthy ones in 2020. In this overview, we looked at different sidechains, taking into consideration the differing motivations and user personas of actors within Mysterium Network – [Consumer/ User; Provider/ Mysterium Node Runner]. 

1. Sidechains or alternative blockchains with bridges to Ethereum blockchain

These types of solutions are characterised by xDAI, MaticRSK (RSK is creating bridges into Ethereum, meaning that you can technically move Ethereum based assets onto this Bitcoin sidechain).

The main value proposition of these solutions is they are scalable, capital efficient and offer fast withdrawal into Layer 1. The main drawback is that validators control the network and are able to freeze and confiscate funds with consensus.

This make sidechains unattractive to DeFi (who lock hundreds of millions) offerings, while they remain relevant for a decentralized VPN use case such as Mysterium Network. This is due to the fact that DeFi carries with it different risks when compared to a dVPN.

Matic Network

The following two examples, Plasma and Rollups are different articulations of sidechains, built more specifically for the Ethereum ecosystem.

2. Plasma

Plasma is a framework proposed for scaling Ethereum using hierarchical sidechains. Plasma type sidechains (also referred to as child chains) allow a majority of transactions to occur outside of the Ethereum blockchain. Only deposits and withdrawals, and points of entry and exit are handled on the main blockchain smart contract.

To make sure that transactions are final, Plasma operators run a “state commitment”. This is a cryptographic method for storing a compressed version of the state of sidechain inside the Ethereum blockchain. This storage of a compressed version of the state impacts the user experience of Plasma as it makes it challenging for users to withdraw their tokens. Users are required to be both online frequently and to download data.

While offering significant speed (up to 1000 transactions per second) and latency improvements over Ethereum, Plasma cannot offer the near-zero latency and near-free transaction fees required for a decentralized VPN micropayments solution.

One of the differentiators, and drawbacks of Plasma as a Layer 2 solution is it allows users to leave the network at any time – an action referred to as “exiting”. This means that users can safely withdraw their funds from Plasma even if it is shut down by validators. But this has to be done in a certain period of time and done by everyone. Read more about the mass exit problem in Plasma.

Another drawback, Plasma is not 100% EVM compatible. This would mean any decentralized application building on Ethereum would have to update their smart contracts or it might even not be possible to build on Plasma

Dive deeper into Plasma and its potential applications within distributed networks in Mysterium Network’s Micropayments Whitepaper.

Plasma network

3. Rollups

Rollups are Layer-2 scaling solutions similar in form to Plasma in that a single mainchain contract holds all funds and a cryptographic commitment to larger sidechain state. This state is maintained by users and operators offchain, providing an independence from Layer 1 storage. This is the biggest scalability benefit of Rollups.

 

    1. Optimistic Rollups


      Optimistic Rollups are constructions which enable autonomous smart contracts on Layer 2 using OVM. Borrowing heavily from both Plasma and ZK Rollup designs, Optimistic Rollups trades of some scalability to enable running fully general smart contracts on Layer 2, secured by Layer 1.

      It promises an easy way to migrate existing decentralized solutions and services with a reasonable degree of security/ scalability trade offs. Karl Floresch goes into more detail on Optimistic Rollups and OVM.

    2. ZK Rollups


      ZK Rollups is a Layer 2 solution where data is placed onchain.

      With ZK Rollups operators generate Zero-Knowledge Proof (SNARK) for every state transition, making it impossible for operators to commit an invalid or manipulated state.

      ZK Rollups should theoretically be able to process up to 2,000 transactions per second. 


ZK Rollups solution differs from Plasma as it solves the mass exit problem, meaning that validators are unable to freeze funds and users have no time limit to move funds out of Layer 2 even in case of emergency This makes ZK Rollups a great fit for both DeFi or cold wallets for Hodlrs. 

Its most known application is Loopring, a next-generation high-performance decentralized exchange and payment protocol also focused on scalability.

The challenge with ZK Rollups is the fundamental limitation in transaction amounts [2000 transactions per second], with current real world implementation, Loopring, achieving 500 transactions per second. 

Also, while transaction costs are lower than Ethereum, they cannot in theory be more than 100 times cheaper than Ethereum’s transaction costs. Most like 20 – 50 times cheaper according to our math.

Also, ZK Rollups are the more sophisticated and long term answer. Which as always, will take a longer time to implement. 

zKRollup

4. Payment channels

We have written extensively about payment channels both within our micropayments whitepaper released in 2019, and in several of our more recent updates:

    1. Introducing micropayments on Mysterium Network
    2. MYST, Migration and Mainnet
    3. Mysterium Network begins token migration

TL;DR

Payment channels fuse together the technologies and methodologies used by other payment solutions such as State Channels.

With payment channels parties exchange digital value without committing transactions to the blockchain. Only channel opening and closing are logged on the blockchain.

To open payment channels both parties have to lock some funds into a multisig smart contract. This allows both parties to update channel balances without the fear that funds will be double spent or stolen.

As these microtransactions are “commitments” rather than on-chain payments, we drastically reduce the total amount of transactions sent to the blockchain.

We dive deeper into what payment channels are, and how we envision them functioning in our micropayments whitepaper. Read more.

How are payment channels different from Plasma, ZK Rollups and Sidechains?

Layer 2 solution

From a technical perspective, Plasma and zkRollups – all fall into a wider umbrella of sidechains. Sidechains are fundamentally different in nature from payment channels. We highly recommend “Evaluating Ethereum Layer 2 Scaling Solutions: A Comparison Framework” for a deeper dive into the distinct differences between sidechains.

In our comparison of Layer-2 solutions, we saw that while Rollups are great in terms of security and give significant scalability over Layer 1, they do not completely solve for the challenge of micropayments needed for Mysterium Network. They have a limit of 2K tx/sec, and they don’t give users instant finality. Also the transaction price is still too expensive for $0.001 transactions.

In the following section we will explain how payment channels, and more specifically unidirectional payment channels are the best fit for the peer to peer decentralized virtual private network use case in Mysterium Network.

Payment channels are different as they are:

  • Flexible – i.e. able to live on layer 3, or 2 
  • Cheapest solution when it comes to transaction fees.
  • Most scalable in terms of peer to peer payments.
  • Could be used for cross-chain payments (e.g. from one side-chain to another, or from Layer 1 to Layer 2).

Sidechains (broadly speaking to include Plasma and ZK Rollups) bring with them limitations on transaction amounts. Payment channels on the other hand, could be foundational to cross-chain interoperability as they allow payments to move from one chain to another without custody – with zero costs, and in seconds. Don’t take my word for it, hear it from Vitalik himself.

Unidirectional vs Bi-directional payment channels

Why unidirectional payment channels?

In the case of Mysterium Network, most network actors are either consumers or providers (nodes) of VPN service. Payments are always going in one direction. There is only a need for providers (Mysterium Nodes) to rebalance the payment channel and settle earned tokens on Layer 1. 

Bi-directional payment channels are more complex and do not give Mysterium Network’s use case much value. Also, thanks to unidirectional payment channels our consumers don’t need to have apps online all the time to ensure that their funds will not be stolen. 

 

Payment Channels as Layer 3, on top of Layer 2 

As we continued to take apart different Layer 2 solutions, we came to the same conclusion. Payment channels – as described in our micropayments whitepaper – should be on Layer 3. 

  • Consumers of VPN service need at least one onchain transaction to top up their funds. With payment channels on Layer 3, we can capitalise on cheaper channel openings (account creation) and top-ups on Layer 2. So adding $1 to your dVPN app account will cost users 2 cents, not 2 dollars. This would greatly reduce friction in onboarding new users.
  • Providers of VPN service need at least one onchain transaction once in a week or so to receive their funds. In payment channels, once the value of the offchain commitment is bigger than the channel size, a settlement onchain is required. By offering flexibility we can let providers choose whether they choose to settle on Layer 2, or Layer 1.

    Why is this important? Some providers may send their funds to DeFis or exchanges often, this will mean moving from Layer 2 to Layer 1 regularly. As such being on Layer 1 makes more sense for providers with this particular profile. 

In a world of zkrollups, payment channels can be used as bridges within networks. – Vitalik Buterin

In conclusion: Multichain, cross-chain and the future of interoperability

We did all that research to find a solution for our own problem. We believe that we found it! 

Just to recap:

  • Ethereum transaction fees are killers for decentralized applications and services which depend on cheap onchain transactions
  • ZK Rollups seem to be a promising Layer 2 solution, but unfortunately, it is new and smart contract support is only on testnet. We will need to wait for at least half a year or longer. 
  • There are good sidechains such as xDAI and Matic network, but no one knows which will gain mass adoption or how they will evolve. Being tightly connected to one blockchain is a risk to Mysterium Network, or any decentralized service. It may mean a hard and complex migration in the future. 
  • Payment channels are able to be used in cross-chain transactions – this means that consumers of VPN services can hold their wallets on Layer 2, while a provider is on a different Layer 2 or even on a Layer 1 blockchain. 

Mysterium Network will be deployed on multiple chains and we already are working on cross-chain payments support. We see this as the future for most payment channel-based solutions. 

Exciting updates to our roadmap and partnership announcements coming soon. If you haven’t already – Get Mysterium VPN: Free on Testnet.

Mysterium Network Product Updates – October 2020

Mysterium Network is building a decentralised VPN. Our global network is open, permissionless and distributed. Last year we focused on finetuning our node software, and understanding dynamics in incentivised networks. This year, we’re balancing out the marketplace with focus on consumer applications. If you haven’t already, please make sure to download Mysterium VPN for Windows, Mac and Android. Let us know what you think on النقاش or تويتر.

The past few months at Mysterium has seen us reroute our roadmap as we head towards mainnet launch. As with all new technologies built from scratch, we’ve encountered some unexpected challenges, which are shared with the entire industry! Building on top of a quickly evolving Ethereum ecosystem has been especially difficult for teams like us, who need workarounds for high transaction fees and network congestion. 

Aside from this renavigation, there have been some exciting developments and initiatives. Check out our latest product updates;

 

Networking research spikes: China and Iran

Our networking team is hard at work finding better ways to make us censorship-resistant. This includes overcoming the ban of our node discovery in certain parts of the world. The plan is to make our node discovery distributed, and as such, harder to block by firewalls. Increasing and securing this undetectability is an important step if we’re to reach vulnerable communities who need internet freedom the most.

 

Payments research spike

Our payments team dove deep into the various L2 scaling solutions in the market. Many of these solutions have emerged due to consistently high GAS prices on Ethereum mainnet. The goal was to evaluate both opportunities and possible limitations for Mysterium Network. We will be publishing a revised product roadmap in November. Our technical deep dive is also coming shortly.

 

Implementation of Coingate

We have made major headway into a Coingate integration. This will enable top-ups in your Mysterium account with various different cryptocurrencies (BTC, LTC, ETH, etc). Under the hood, the app will convert these cryptocurrencies into MYST and top up your Mysterium account (payment channel) with those MYST tokens. This is an important step towards lowering the barrier to entry, enabling a wider spread of adoption and more seamless access into Mysterium Network and its VPN services. This will be deployed and tested on Mysterium testnet in November.

 

Automated identity manager (Pilvytis)

Pilvytis “watches” the payment channels of given users and automatically tops them up when needed. This is important for potential B2B clients who have expressed demand for paying for VPN services in fiat. This is so that they can access Mysterium via network as a service (NaaS), guaranteeing that their consumer applications are never out of balance.

 

New WebUI

This effectively changes the node on-boarding process. Stay tuned for some changes in live environments (my.mysterium.network, node onboarding).

 

Top up flow for Android, Windows and Mac applications

In preparation for BetaNet launch and paid testnet, we have added new top up flows to our Android and desktop applications. Previously users were getting accounts for free, but in BetaNet (and mainnet in the future) they will have to top up their Mysterium account first. More detail on this in our roadmap updates in November.

 

Added referral program support

Users will be able to share referral links and receive rewards. These referral codes will give free account creation and some initial MYST to test the system. We want to reward our community and leverage their support to reach more people who need our dVPN.

 

Updated documentation for node runners (new docs coming soon)

This has been an ongoing project to clean up our documentation. We have started with node runners but this is a wider project to add more detail and clarity to our developer documentation in the future. #OpenSource

 

Want to get involved in Mysterium Network today?

Mysterium Network is a decentralized VPN, with a growing global residential IP node network. There are versions for  ذكري المظهرMac and Windows, currently free before our full launch.

Stay tuned for more updates. If you are interested in participating, running a node, or generally have any questions, jump into our discord channel and speak directly with our core team.

 

 

Introducing the dVPN Alliance

An alliance to make every netizen untraceable, unblockable and unhackable

After months of planning and collaborating with Sentinel, we’re excited to reveal the decentralized VPN (dVPN) alliance to the world. The new alliance is open to all Web 3 projects who want to build a better internet and create a unified standard around how censorship-resistant, privacy-focused platforms and tools are built.

Both Mysterium and Sentinel developed some of the first decentralized VPNs in the world. This initiative is more than a passion project – it’s time to step up the game. The alliance continues our commitment to protecting all online users from personal data hacks, cybercrime and surveillance. 

The internet continues to crumble in the hands of governments and corporations, as the first quarter of 2020 became the worst in data breach history with over 8 billion records exposed. Targets include high profile organisations and companies such as the United Nations, Twitter and Easyjet. Just this week, over 400,000 users of food delivery app Chowbus had their personal data leaked.

The news of our launch was syndicated in various global news publications, including Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, Digital Journal, Crowdfund Insider, Blockonomi and Daily Hodl.

Marcel Velliux, a member of the SNT Foundation, a core supporter of the Sentinel network, spoke about the need for a decentralized alternative to regular VPNs. These common and popular VPNs hide the risks and flaws of their technology, such as logging and centralized storage of user data.

“There are very few enforced standards when it comes to building the platforms and tools which make up the internet today, said Velliux.

“This means that businesses, including VPNs, are free to track their users and store their data insecurely. While new legislation such as GDPR is a step in the right direction, it does nothing on the infrastructural level, which is why data hacks occur on a weekly basis.” 

dVPN alliance

This new digital collective hopes to bring more projects to the table to help shape policy and public understanding of how decentralized internet technologies make a significant social impact. The alliance has already produced an in-depth guide on dVPN exit nodes, to inform and protect users who run them. 

Our own product owner Jaro Šatkevič had this to say about the alliance;

“Fixing our broken internet is a mammoth challenge to take on. If we’re to undo decades of centralization and corporatisation, we need typically competing projects to work together. Just like decentralized, peer to peer technologies depend on people coming together for a common purpose, our cause unites teams who are dedicated to making the internet a more accessible and safe public space for every netizen.”

The alliance is founded upon a dedication to the following principles in Web 3 development; open source, permissionless, distributed logs, peer to peer and privacy. A collaboration on multi-network relays and multi-hop solutions is currently in development.

Explore the alliance here, and read the manifesto.

What is Mysterium BetaNet, and why you should join

best cybersecurity tips

We are fast approaching the official launch of Mysterium Network, a world first pay-as-you-go crypto VPN. But before that, we’ll bring you BetaNet. Read on and learn why…

Mysterium is very different from your regular VPN. Download Mysterium VPN for free (for a limited time). Try it for yourself! Download on ذكري المظهر, Mac, and Windows.

Thanks to its peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture, there are no contracts, no subscriptions, and no locked-in costs. You get direct access to a global list of residential IP addresses, provided by everyday internet users around the world, so you can teleport anywhere online. 

Our custom designed payments infrastructure lets you stream, connect, share and socialise by the second. Switch on and off whenever you need, and only pay for what you actually use, minute by minute.

And because you pay with cryptocurrency (the future of money, it’s here to stay!), these micropayments are as untraceable as your browsing habits. Paying with crypto means that you’re paying for your privacy the fastest, cheapest and most anonymous way.

Mysterium VPN is the evolution of cybersecurity. It’s integrated OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, so everything you do is protected by the highest industry standards. 

And thanks to our decentralized architecture, it’s technologically impossible for us to log anything. We connect you to residential IPs only, so there are no giant servers for us to store any kind of data. While regular VPNs claim they don’t do any logging, you just have to take their word for it. 

VPN vs TOR vs dVPN

What’s the deal with BetaNet?

We’ll soon move Mysterium onto BetaNet, a brief stopover between our free version and our full launch. During this phase, we will collaborate with our community to battle test the code and make sure everything’s working as it should. When it comes to your privacy, there’s no room for error.

We will begin with an invite only BetaNet, working with a small group of initial testers. The rationale behind invite only is to ensure a controlled environment as we transition to real P2P payments with MYST on the Ethereum blockchain.

Interested in exploring the Mysterium Network BetaNet? Use this form to register or jump into our Discord channel and let the team know.

With your help, we will make Mysterium VPN even BETA than you can imagine 😉

Following a successful BetaNet, we will transition Testnet users onto MainNet, and release Mysterium VPN into the wild for the whole world to play with.

And if you’ve made it this far through the blog… make sure to enter the MYSTEARLYACCESS code in the Gleam widget to unlock your extra points in our giveaway competition!

What is a peer-to-peer network?

What is P2P (Peer-to-peer) technology?

For centuries, human connection has never been a simple equation. 1+1 often equals 3, sometimes more. We had messengers who carried sealed letters, phone operators who connected our calls, and now Internet Service Providers who hook us into a matrix of other businesses, platforms and infrastructure owners just to send a simple email.

Perhaps the most perplexing and inconvenient way of communicating – the singing telegram…

Yet with the dawn of peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, the role of these middlemen (and women) has perhaps become obsolete.

P2P networks (and P2P software) allows 2 devices (and therefore, two people) to communicate directly, without necessitating a third party to ensure it happens. The technology has often been rejected and buried in the darker corners of the web, especially as corporations have taken over our communication channels. These businesses have dictated how we connect and communicate with one another for decades.

But before the web was ruled by the corporate letheans of today, it was once powered by the people who used it. This P2P ecosystem meant that users could connect and communicate with each other directly. The bluetooth in your phone functions similarly to this – you airdrop files directly between devices, with no need for any intermediary to facilitate or even see what files you’re sharing.

Maybe you remember Napster. They popularised P2P music file sharing. While you were downloading and sharing files from this platform, you were also spreading a new phenomenon which the internet made possible – community-powered, governed and owned technology that stretched into our social and economic realms.

Vintage P2P network. A window you recognise, even if you never used it. Source.

But first - what is the client-server model?

The internet that we know today is mostly made up of the client-server model. All machines or devices connected directly to the internet are called servers. Your computer, phone or IoT device is a client that wants to be connected to the web, and a server stores those websites and web content you want to access. Every device, whether client or server, has its own unique “address” (commonly known as your IP address), used to identify the path/route for sending and receiving the files you want to access

How does the internet “work”? A look at the client-server network model.

Servers store and control all this web information centrally. The biggest and most widely used ones are owned by companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon. These possess the computing power, memory and storage requirements that can be scaled to global proportions. It also means that a single server can also dictate the consumption and supply of resources and websites to users (clients), like you and me.

What is a peer in networking? How does P2P work?

Peer-to-peer infrastructure transforms the traditional role of a server. In a P2P system, a web user is both a server and a client, and is instead called a node. (Your computer or device technically acts as the node.)

Related: The ultimate guide to running and earning with a Mysterium node by sharing your bandwidth.

Nodes power the network by sharing their resources such as bandwidth, disc storage and/or processing power. These can be shared directly and information is distributed evenly among all nodes within the network. These sorts of decentralised systems use shared resources more efficiently than a traditional network as they evenly distribute workloads between all nodes. Together, these computers equally and unanimously power web applications. Because there is no need for a central host or server, these networks are also less vulnerable from a security and network health standpoint, as there is no single point of failure.

What is an example of a peer to peer network? what is P2P used for?

“Peer-to-Peer mechanisms can be used to access any kind of distributed resources

There are many uses for peer-to-peer networks today. P2P software have characteristics and advantages that are missing from the web today – trustless and permissionless, censorship-resistant, and often with built-in anonymity and privacy.

P2P file sharing BitTorrentsync-and-share P2P software which allows users to download “pieces” of files from multiple peers at once to form the entire file. IPFS has also emerged, where users can download as well as host content. There is no central server and each user has a small portion of a data package. IPFS is the evolution in P2P file sharing and functions like BitTorrent and other torrent protocols. IPFS mimics many characteristics of a Blockchain, connecting blocks which use hash-function security. However, IPFS does support file versioning, while blockchain is immutable (permanent).

P2P knowledge – Decentralised Wiki (Dat protocol)an article is hosted by a range of readers, instead of one centralised server, making censorship much more difficult. 

P2P money – Bitcoinwhere value is digitised, encrypted and transparent – and as easily transferred as an email. Computers or machines (nodes) with enough GPU power maintain and secure the network. Peers can store and maintain the updated record of its current state. 

P2P computing power – Golemdecentralised supercomputer that anyone can access and use. A network of computers combine the collective processing and computing power of all peers’ machines. The connection grows stronger as more computers join and share resources.

P2P communicationSignalperhaps the most popular communication app with end-to-end encryption and architecture mimics P2P tech. Their server architecture was previously federated, and while they rely on centralised options for encrypted messaging and to share files, this facilities the discovery of contacts who are also Signal users and the automatic exchange of users’ public keys. Voice and video calls are P2P however.

Peer-to-peer in many ways is human-to-human. These virtual and collaborative communities hold us accountable to each other and the technology we’re using. They offer us a sense of responsibility and comradeship. They have been called “egalitarian” networks, as each peer is considered equal, with the same rights and duties as every other peer. If we’re all helping to keep something sustained – a living digital community where responsibility is equally shared yet belongs to no one – then perhaps we can emulate these same lines of thought beyond our technical networks and into our political and social worlds.

Can a P2P network teach us about purer forms of digital democracy? 

“In peer-to-peer networking, an algorithm in the peer-to-peer communications protocol balances load, and even peers with modest resources can help to share the load.”

Popular peer to peer networks and platforms

The theory of P2P networking first emerged in 1969 with a publication titled Request for Comments by the Internet Engineering Task Force. A decade later, a dial-up P2P network was launched in 1980 with the introduction of Usenet, a worldwide discussion system. Usenet was the first to operate without a central server or administrator.

But it wasn’t until 1999, some 20 years later, that a P2P network really proved its potential as a useful, social application. American college student Shawn Fanning launched Napster, the global music-sharing platform which popularised P2P software. Users would search for songs or artists via an index server, which catalogued songs located on every computer’s hard drive connected to the network. Users could download a personal copy while also sharing music files.

Napster Super Bowl XXXIX Ad “Do The Math”

Napsters experiential marketing tactics during the 2004 super bowl, when they abandoned their P2P network to paid model. 

Napster was the dawn of P2P networks “as we know them today”, introducing them to the mainstream. It has been suggested that peer-to-peer marketplaces – some of the most disruptive startups to grace the web – were inspired by the fundamental values and characteristics of Napster. Businesses such as AirBnB and Uber kickstarted the new sharing economy, but sold us the illusion of community. As conglomerates who are simply the middleman between our peer-to-peer transactions, we also become their hired workforces without realising it. This business model relies on us to supply our own homes, cars and time to create the sharing economy, while they simply facilitate the transactions (and take a cut).

With P2P systems, we can remove them from the picture altogether. If we decentralise the sharing economy, you become the user, the host and the network itself. As peers, we are incentivised to contribute time, files, resources or services and are rewarded accordingly, with no one taking a cut. Decentralised P2P networks are transparent, secure and truly community-run systems.

A strange sharing economy infographic by Morgan Stanely, who thinks everything can be shared – including pets? Source.

Jordan Ritter (Napster’s founding architect), was quoted in a Fortune article:

“As technologists, as hackers, we were sharing content, sharing data all the time. If we wanted music… It was still kind of a pain in the ass to get that stuff. So Fanning had a youthful idea: Man, this sucks. I’m bored, and I want to make something that makes this easier.”

Napster soon became the target of a lawsuit for distributing copyrighted music at a large scale, and was consequently shut down just 2 years later. Yet this “clever-if-crude piece of software” demonstrated new possibilities for applications, and “transformed the Internet into a maelstrom, definitively proving the web’s power to create and obliterate value…”

Corporate profit, infrastructural control

While digital networking has led to an unprecedented evolution of our social and professional lives, the potential of peer networks to power those daily interactions took much of a backseat as the web started to take off in the early 2000’s. While protocols of the early Web 1.0 were founded upon decentralised and peer-to-peer mechanisms, centralised alternatives eventually took over.

Related: What does internet censorship look like in 2020. And how can decentralisation change it?

Yet since centralised systems began to plant their roots deep into our internet infrastructure, the web has been slowly rotting away underneath shiny user interfaces and slick graphics. They make the internet less safe, with servers that are routinely hacked. It makes the internet far less private, enabling mass-surveillance conducted by cybercriminals and organisations alike. It makes the internet segregated and broken, rather than unified and democratic, with nations building impenetrable firewalls and cutting off the outside world altogether.

It’s said that P2P money poses a large threat to governments, who seem concerned that without regulation and oversight, these “anarchist” networks could grow beyond their control. The crackdown on cryptocurrency in countries with rampant human rights violations, corrupt governments and crippling economies only lends to the theory that peer to peer systems undermines the very foundations of traditional government structures.

Places where cryptocurrency seems to thrive, are often the same where censorship, corruption and economic instability. 
 

First P2P Money. Next, P2P Internet.

Yet the common, centralised standards which were born out of corporate and political needs are failing us today.

It’s time to turn the tides if we want to surf the web on our own terms.

Peer-to-peer networks have opened up entirely new philosophies around social and economic interactions. Researchers from a 2005 book exploring the potential of Peer-to-Peer Systems and Applications believed that these networks “promise….a fundamental shift of paradigms.” The applications which formed in the early 1980s “can no longer fully meet the evolving requirements of the Internet. In particular, their centralised nature is prone to resource bottlenecks. Consequently, they can be easily attacked and are difficult and expensive to modify due to their strategic placement within the network infrastructure.”

In the past decade, we have seen a re-emergence of P2P protocols. These new community-powered networks are creating entirely new systems and services, that are evolving beyond the traditional concepts of P2P. This was kickstarted in many respects by Bitcoin. Its underlying blockchain technology redefined our understanding of P2P, merging it with game theory, securing it with cryptography and expanding its network with a common CPU (in the first few years, at least).

P2P access

There are many P2P “layers” that can restructure the internet itself. A decentralised VPN is one such layer, offering P2P access to information.

This dVPN utilises a blockchain (the technology underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies). Anyone can be a part of the network; your computer becomes a node, acting as a miniature server. This means it can help power the entire network by directly sharing its bandwidth or IP address – and be paid for it. There is no need for a host or intermediary. The bigger this distributed network grows, the stronger and faster it becomes. Its democratic and self-governing architecture creates an open marketplace that serves a global community in need.

This is what a future without internet censorship looks like… An internet powered by people is the next stage of its technological and social evolution.

A community-run VPN is different to a regular VPN in a few different ways. VPNs are businesses which exist to turn profit. Common VPNs own or rent servers that are centrally owned, and which could store logs of all your traffic without anyone knowing (in theory). You simply have to trust that they won’t do anything with this info. And while your data is encrypted, there have been cases of past hackings.

A P2P VPN instead leverages a decentralised network so that your encrypted data passes through a distributed node network, similar to Tor. A single node will never be able to identify you or your online activities, nor can authorities and third parties. In its decentralised form, a VPN pays people (nodes) for providing the privacy service. And as with most P2P systems, a decentralised VPN has no single point of failure or attack, making it safer and stronger than centralised alternatives.

Related: VPN vs TOR vs dVPN. What’s the difference?

Power of the P

Often perceived as a more rudimentary technology, the potential of peer-to-peer technology has been shoved to the digital back shelf for some time. But as the internet evolves as a social and economic landscape, it’s slowly starting to take its rightful place in the online realm. In its simplicity lies its beauty. The most complex and honest human interactions are always the most direct and transparent.

A P2P VPN is just one example of these many different applications. You can try the Mysterium VPN for yourself and experience how P2P works. There are versions for  ذكري المظهرMac and Windows, currently free before our full launch.