Category

payments

Mysterium Network begins token migration

Mysterium Network begins its official token migration today, 31st August 2020. This will be a 1:1 token migration, so no new tokens will be created. Legacy tokens will not be supported in the network, so you will need to migrate your tokens before topping up in-app.

Here’s the new MYST token address: 0x4Cf89ca06ad997bC732Dc876ed2A7F26a9E7f361 

اكتشف المزيد about how the Mysterium Network token migration moves the project towards peer to peer payments on the Ethereum blockchain.

What is Mysterium BetaNet?

Mysterium BetaNet is the first iteration of peer to peer payments within Mysterium Network: 

  • MYST as a means of value exchange in the network 
  • Payments are settled on the Ethereum blockchain 
  • It’s our second stage towards Mysterium Mainnet.

Mysterium Network is running an opt-in BetaNet. Mysterium Network will not be migrating TestNet users to BetaNet at this stage. VPN services continue to be accessible on Mysterium TestNet.

Sign up to take part in Mysterium BetaNet.

What should MYST token holders do?

MYST token holders are encouraged to migrate their tokens at their earliest convenience.  

Though there is no deadline on the migration, you will not be able to access VPN services within Mysterium Network using legacy MYST. 

If your MYST is held in a decentralised exchange or in a wallet, you will have to migrate your tokens yourself. Please follow the token migration guide. 

If you have your tokens stored on HitBTC, they will be migrated for you. The Mysterium Team is currently working with their team and will provide updates as we progress.

MYST token migration guide

Migrating a token is simply to upgrade the smart contract of that token. In the case of Mysterium, we are upgrading legacy MYST (pure ERC20) to new MYST (ERC20 with `permit`: 712-signed token approvals).

This is a 1:1 token migration so there will be no new tokens created.

How will MYST token migration work? 

From 31st of August, MYST token holders will be able to start migrating their tokens into the new token standard. This will become the standard MYST token used within Mysterium Network’s payment system. All exchanges are informed and are preparing for the upgrade on their end. If you are holding MYST on HitBTC exchange, the migration will be done automatically and you will not need to do anything. 

If you are storing your MYST tokens outside the exchanges, you will have to conduct the migration yourself. In essence, you will need to initiate a transaction from your wallet address which holds MYST tokens into our current token smart contract address and call an upgrade function upgrade(uint256 value) there.

Note:

  • While there will be no time limit for migrating tokens, please be aware that only the new token standard will be used in the Mysterium Network payment system and actively traded on exchanges. However, you will not lose your original MYST tokens if you do not migrate within a specific deadline. This means you can perform your token migration at a convenient time to you. Your wallets which are supporting ERC20 tokens will work fine with the upgraded MYST token as well. 
  • During the upgrade transaction, legacy MYST tokens will be burned and new MYST will be created and sent to the same address.
  • You can do migration in parts, so no worry if after migration someone sends you legacy MYST tokens. You will be able to migrate them as well.
  • The MYST migration process has no time limit. If anyone in the future sends you legacy MYST, you will be able to migrate them at any point in time.

Do I need to have ETH on the address where my MYST tokens are in order to migrate them successfully?

You need a small amount of ETH on the same address where your MYST tokens are in order to pay for gas fees on the Ethereum network. Due to high transaction fees on Ethereum blockchain, we recommend having at least 5 USD of ETH there. You can check average gas fees before starting the migration here.

Token migration steps

Where should I store my MYST tokens and how do I manually migrate them?

The token migration process includes several options – MetaMask, Etherscan or MyEtherWallet (MEW). Through MyEtherWallet you can use:

  • Ledger (also possible to use with MetaMask and Etherscan)
  • Trezor (also possible to use with MetaMask and Etherscan)
  • Digital Bitbox
  • Secalot
  • Keystore / JSON File
  • Mnemonic phrase / seed
  • Private key

Token Migration using My Ether Wallet (MEW)

If your MYST tokens are stored in one of the above forms, please select MEW when you reach the step where you need to select the wallet that stores your MYST tokens. Once you have synchronised your wallet with MEW, you can start now with the token migration process:

  1. Go to the home page of https://myetherwallet.com
  2. Click on “Send > Send Transaction”
  3. Select ETH as a type of token to send and enter the 0 as amount
  4. Enter the address of the legacy MYST token smart contract:  0xa645264C5603E96c3b0B078cdab68733794B0A71
  5. Enable “Data & Gas Limit” under Advanced options
  6. Add your payload data (use payload generation tool)

  7. Click on “Send Transaction”.
  8. You new tokens will be visible on new MYST smart contract address: 0x4Cf89ca06ad997bC732Dc876ed2A7F26a9E7f361

 

Token Migration using Etherscan

You are also able to migrate your tokens via Etherscan and interact with the contract directly.

  1. Go to the token contract page directly https://etherscan.io/address/0xa645264C5603E96c3b0B078cdab68733794B0A71
  2. Navigate to the “Write Contract” tab on the Contract page.
  3. Connect to a Web3 provider, such as MetaMask, Fortmatic or Portis. You can connect a hardware wallet such as Trezor or Ledger to your MetaMask extension, and thus interact without MYST leaving your hardware wallet.
  4. Find upgrade function in the list and type in the amount of tokens you’d like to migrate. NOTE: legacy MYST token had 8 zeros, so to migrate 123,05 MYST, you should type: 12305000000.
  5. Metamask will show popup, adjust gas fee and make a transaction. After the transaction is mined, your new tokens will be visible on the new MYST smart contract address: 0x4Cf89ca06ad997bC732Dc876ed2A7F26a9E7f361

Building on the bleeding edge

As the Head of Product of Mysterium Network, I am charged with everything from driving micropayments research to delivery of working applications on Android, Windows and Mac.

A regular VPN application is hard enough, but it’s even more challenging when we are seeking to decentralize the infrastructure through which the service is provided. Let’s add peer to peer and blockchain payments into the mix of network security, and you’re bound to have multiple shifting pieces that you’re building upon.

Here’s an update from me as Mysterium Network transitions into Mainnet. 

I first want to quickly reiterate the goal of the MYST token migration.

We were looking to implement an easy way for consumers to top up their dVPN app accounts using ETH and for node runners to withdraw earned MYST into ETH (and maybe even DAI) automagically using a decentralized exchange. We wanted this to happen in a single transaction, so users would have the best possible experience.

ERC777 based token and their callback hooks looked like a good solution for our needs. That’s why we announced the migration of MYST into an ERC777 based token.

Mysterium Network will transition to updated ERC20 token with `permit`: 712-signed token approvals (ERC2612) at the end of August. 

Part of our process gearing up for real payments on Ethereum blockchain included the submission of two versions of our token to our security auditors (both ERC777 and ERC20 +ERC2612 versions). 

Based on feedback from auditors, and our deeper research into current DeFi projects, we are making the decision to par back the scope of our token migration for the moment. 

This is due to several factors. The ERC 777 token standard is a new technology. It was peer-reviewed for two years and finally marked as final on 7 May 2019. The token is extremely advanced and powerful. However, its use in DeFI projects can be dangerous because of some specific vectors of attacks. Even though more popular projects (e.g. Uniswap v2 or Kyber network) are taking steps to be protected against these types of attacks, there are some who may not take such precautions.

In saying that we have found an alternative and less risky solution for achieving all required peer to peer payment system functionality. 

This will involve an upgrade to the ERC20 token with the extension of `permit`: 712-signed token approvals (ERC2612).

What is the ERC2612 standard, and how does it help Mysterium Network? 

ERC2612 is standardising `permit` function which was introduced in DAI token and is now popularised by the Uniswap team.  

So first things first, for the geeks amongst us. If you’re not a developer, feel free to skip past this section. 

What is the permit functionality?

   function permit(address holder, address spender, uint256 value, uint256 deadline, uint8 v, bytes32 r, bytes32 s) external {
       require(deadline >= block.timestamp, 'MYST: Permit expired');
       bytes32 digest = keccak256(
           abi.encodePacked(
               '\x19\x01',
               DOMAIN_SEPARATOR,
               keccak256(abi.encode(PERMIT_TYPEHASH, holder, spender, value, nonces[holder]++, deadline))
           )
       );
       address recoveredAddress = ecrecover(digest, v, r, s);
       require(recoveredAddress != address(0) && recoveredAddress == holder, 'MYST: invalid signature');
       _approve(holder, spender, value);
   }

The function permit extends the ERC20 allowing for the following benefits: 

  • Transactions involving ERC20 operations won’t require ETH and can be paid for by the token itself. 
  • Approve and pull operations happen in a single transaction, instead of two consecutive ones – making the transaction cheaper.  

This means that MYST token holders who don’t own ETH are able to  give permission to smart contracts which would extend the native token functions and allow more advanced operations (similar to those provided in ERC777). This was possible before with `approve` function, but only for ETH holders. Now it becomes possible for various apps where users are not holding ether, e.g. Mysterium dVPN app.

 

Our plans ahead.

Our token migration will commence at the end of August.

TestNet

Mysterium Network is currently running on TestNet, this means that test token payments are happening on Ethereum’s Goerli testnet and node bounty payouts are managed by the Mysterium Team.

BetaNet

We will begin with an invite only BetaNet. During this point, there will be a development freeze on our TestNet. We will be working with a small group of initial testers on our BetaNet. Interested in being a part of the Mysterium Network BetaNet? Use this form to register or jump into our discord channel and let the team know!

The rationale behind an invite only BetaNet is to provide a controlled environment as we transition to real peer to peer payments with MYST on the Ethereum blockchain.

MainNet

Once our team has battle tested our technology during the BetaNet phase, we will merge all the code into master repository on github, deploy final version of smart contracts and update all the apps and services. This will become Mysterium Network MainNet.

Looking into the future

After the token migration and a successful transition onto Ethereum Mainnet, we are planning to integrate with a decentralised exchange, most probably Uniswap v2. This integration with Uniswap will open up app top-ups with ETH for consumers and direct withdrawal to ETH or DAI for node runners as we will have liquidity pools there.

PS: We code golang, and are hiring. If you’re a golang whiz, I’d love to hear from you. Ping me on our discord or send me a message on twitter

Mysterium Network Pre-Mainnet AMA

ICYMI…

We put some Mysterium faces front and center for a pre-launch AMA special. Answering all your questions was founder Robertas, product owner Jaro and head of marketing Sharmini. 

We covered everything from our financial runway to why we sometimes release “broken” software. We also pulled apart the network on a technical, commercial and social level, explaining our processes and why we do what we do. 

As we prepare for our launch, Mysterium’s mind is on few things: 

  • Keeping our node pool strong and diverse, with the right incentives to maintain network health and scalability
  • Plans for rewarding loyal and long-term users, including staking opportunities 
  • Preserving the utility, stability and liquidity of MYST via world-first micropayments architecture 
  • Testing, testing, testing 
  • Effective marketing to onboard new users and make as much noise as we can about this decentralized, permissionless VPN
  • And keeping our ultimate promise; delivering a platform where you can not only access privacy and anonymity on your own terms, but own it fully. 

Watch the recorded video and see for yourself what’s to come. We’re sure there are questions that might not have been asked, so please reach out to us on النقاش or via our support. 

MYST, migration and mainnet – what you need to know

Update: 13/08/2020 – See the following blog post to see how our token migration and launch processes are changing.

 

**

We are fast approaching the official launch of Mysterium Network. This will be the realisation of our founding whitepaper and the crowning of our world-first peer to peer VPN. 

In preparation, the network will undergo some big technical updates and transitions. This includes an upgrade of our native token MYST, which is a core component of Mysterium and which keeps the network sustainable, secure and permissionless.

Read our blog about our unofficial launch timeline and breakdown of how we’re taking Mysterium global. 

What is MYST?

MYST is a utility token (a type of cryptocurrency) at the heart of Mysterium Network. It acts like digital fuel, serving various functions and keeps the network humming along.

Transfer of value – MYST is used as the network’s native currency. If you’re using the VPN (consumer) you will pay using MYST. If you’re a node (provider of the VPN service) you will receive MYST. While additional tokens could be introduced in the future, this is the network’s reserve currency and standard for the time being. 

Identity registration – when you first sign up for the network, you will need a little MYST so you can receive and verify your unique identity. The registration is processed as a transaction, so it’s permanently “on-chain”. Once you receive your unique ID/address, you can start to receive and send payments. By committing a little financially, this proves you have skin in the game. It’s also designed to prevent lots of people signing up for free and creating spam accounts, which will help protect the network against DDoS attacks. 

Staking – nodes (providers) should stake MYST (lock it up as collateral) to prove they are even more committed to the network’s longevity and success (even more skin in the game). Staking is particularly necessary due to how our P2P payment infrastructure works (more on this in below sections). While nodes can start providing their service even with 0 tokens at stake, a stake of at least 12 MYST must eventually be committed. If the user doesn’t stake anything at first, the stake will be accumulated and collected automatically by the network over time as they provide ongoing value and continue to earn. The network will take 10% from each settled payment until the full 12 MYST is received.

Why use cryptocurrency?

Mysterium Network is a decentralised system, meaning its users can be located anywhere around the globe. These systems are also designed so that all users can be anonymous. As a censorship-resistant and anonymous virtual currency, cryptocurrency provides a way for all these participants to interact and trade with one another without trust and without third parties being involved (permissionless). 

While we could have used other (or even more popular) cryptocurrencies for payments within Mysterium, we needed an in-built protection mechanism for the network’s many different actors. MYST is not just used for payments – as a token unique to our system, it’s a representation of your active involvement and intention to participate within Mysterium Network. In this way, MYST enables more than just P2P payments. When network actors have skin in the game, they help increase the overall security of the network, protecting against various types of attacks. It also establishes a community around a purpose, so the network can grow and evolve with its token holders. 

This also gives us the flexibility to use MYST over several blockchains in the future (e.g. similar to Tether).

Hermes protocol, our P2P payments infrastructure

Mysterium Network is a peer-to-peer VPN service, made up of consumers and providers. For us to remain a permissionless network, we need to ensure that all payments must also be peer to peer. This will be facilitated by the Hermes Protocol, our unique infrastructure we designed to enable fast, frequent micropayments on a global scale. 

In brief, it creates payment channels (a special type of smart contracts) between network participants (consumers and providers) and a selected Hermes hub during their registration. Hermes will verify “payment promises” made by consumers to nodes and smart contracts will ensure that tokens are calculated correctly and are safe. Instead of users constantly paying nodes in high volumes (by doing expensive blockchain transactions), consumers can make “promises” to providers, similar to IOUs. When providers (node runners) decide they want to settle (get a payout) their income, the final tallied record is executed on the blockchain and sent as a single transaction. 

Related: Learn more about how micropayments works in Mysterium Network

Additionally, providers (node runners) must stake a certain amount of collateral. While you can stake nothing at the start, as described above, you can stake any amount of MYST to guarantee the size of your payment channel. This will be the amount of tokens you can earn before settling your earned token and confirming this final tally on the blockchain. It will also guarantee faster withdrawal of these payments sent to your personal wallet. 

EXAMPLE: I run a node and want to provide the VPN service. I stake 20 MYST to open up a payment channel with the network’s smart contract. This ensures that consumers in the network can start using my service, and I will keep earning MYST until I reach my staked amount of 20. When I’ve reached my maximum, I have to settle them into my ethereum wallet (ethereum will charge a transaction fee). After that, I can keep earning MYST again until I reach my channel limit and will have to settle again. If I will decide to stop providing services on Mysterium Network, I can get my initial 20 MYST stake back.

Here’s how it works in action:

  1. Use MYST to pay for your identity registration 
  2. If you’d like to use the VPN service, top up your account balance with MYST 

If you’d like to provide the VPN service, stake a certain amount of MYST tokens

  1. Consumers pay providers using “Payment Promises” (off-chain transactions)
  2. Providers can choose to cash-out these promises at any time

Staking is necessary for the function of payment channels. There needs to be an amount of tokens locked in a provider’s payment channel to keep it active and ensure that the smart contract can pay the amount corresponding to their Payment Promises. If your Payment Promise tally is higher than your tokens at stake, for example, then this could lead to a situation where there are not enough funds to pay you out. This protects users against the threat of double-spending. Similar locking tokens mechanisms are also implemented among other payment channel-based networks, such as Lightning Network, Lumino and Raiden. 

In the future, the staking component could change. Staking more MYST, and therefore having more skin in the game, opens up a few possibilities for loyal network participants. It could enable higher traffic (higher position in ranking = more users  = more income)   for providers, or even allocate a percentage cut of network transaction fees. 

What is token migration?

Migrating a token is simply to upgrade the smart contract of that token (its “standard”). In the case of Mysterium, we are migrating from the ERC-20 to the ERC-777 token standard. This is a 1:1 token migration so there will be no new tokens created. 

Why are we upgrading MYST?

Different smart contract token standards offer different functionalities. The ERC-20 standard is the oldest and most common standard, initially developed in 2015. However, this token standard has not aged well. For some time now, its limitations have been exposed as more complex smart contracts have emerged which offer more functionalities, and are therefore better suited for more use-cases.  The ERC-777 token standard was approved last year following collaborative, community-driven discussions that began in 2017. 

ERC777 is an extension of the ERC20 standard. This new standard brings greater benefits to Mysterium Network as it plays host to some important features and multiple quality of life improvements. It adds token receive hooks which are used in our payment system, enabling the auto-conversion of MYST to other tokens during settlement. This opens us up to all kinds of crypto communities, even alternative blockchains such as Bitcoin. It also reduces the number of transactions required for the registration of a Mysterium ID, therefore reducing the cost of fees.

As we create more liquidity for the MYST token through its listing on various exchanges, we also require a full audit of the token. With an ERC777 MYST token, we will perform an audit with aims to also reinforce trust in its security.

How will token migration work?

At the end of July, MYST token holders will be able to start migrating their tokens into the new token standard. This will become the standard MYST token used within Mysterium Network’s payment system.

All exchanges are informed and are preparing for the upgrade on their end. If you are holding MYST on exchanges such as HitBTC, the migration will be done automatically and you will not need to do anything. While the token migration is planned for the end of July, it may take some days for exchanges to complete the upgrade, so please keep this in mind. Trading inside exchanges is unaffected by this migration.

For those who have the technical capacity and knowledge to conduct the migration themselves, our developer tooling will be available. Taking a DIY approach, users will be able to use our custom tooling to migrate their own tokens. We will publish written and video tutorials on our website in advance, so check back for updates. 

While there will be no time limit for migrating tokens, please be aware that only the new token standard will be used in the Mysterium Network payment system and actively traded on exchanges. 

However, you will not lose your original MYST tokens if you do not migrate within a specific deadline. This means you can perform your token migration at a convenient time to you.

Your wallets which are supporting only ERC20 tokens will work fine with MYST token.

Our token will support both ERC20 and ERC777 interfaces. This means that any wallet which supports ERC20 can be used to hold MYST token.

We’ll be publishing more important details in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, join our Discord channel and download the app for Android, Windows or Mac to get a taste of the free version before we move to the pay as you go model.

The Launch of Mysterium Network

Update: 13/08/2020 – See the following blog post to see how our token migration and launch processes are changing.

 

***

We are fast approaching the official launch of Mysterium Network. This will be the realisation of our founding whitepaper and the crowning of our world-first, peer to peer VPN. 

The past few years have been spent building technology from scratch. We had an idea, but no blueprint for it. This means solving riddles in a backwards way; we only know the answers, but not which questions to ask. 

But after three years of building, breaking, and questioning, it’s time to release Mysterium Network into the wild. 

Here we share our official launch timeline and breakdown how we’re taking Mysterium global.  

 

Read our blog about the role our native token MYST will play in keeping the whole network running, and its planned upgrade from an ERC20 to an ERC777 token. 

What is Mainnet?

Mysterium Network is currently running on its own testnet (has no real payments on the “live” blockchain). This BETA process has helped us to test our product in parallel network conditions and configurations. After a couple of years in this development stage, we have been able to refine, iterate and learn invaluable lessons along the way.

Now we’re ready to finally launch on the mainnet Ethereum. First, we will transition onto the Ethereum Goerli testnet to stress test our P2P payments. Once we’ve monitored and are satisfied with the results, our network will then plug into the mainnet (the “actual” blockchain) with the peer to peer payments system built into the protocol. 

How will the launch work?

The release on mainnet will happen in 3 stages, and during this time several network forks will occur. We understand that this will be difficult for node runners as it will create a temporary state where the app and nodes may run on different networks. This is an unfortunate and inevitable pain we must go through as a community. We will work to make this transition as smooth as possible for both node runners and users. 

Stage ONE (Middle of July): 

  • We will first issue some newly upgraded MYST (ERC777) token on Goerli testnet. We will also upgrade the payment system to prepare it for the Ethereum Mainnet launch. This will create the first network fork.
  • Following this, the ERC777 tokens will be deployed on Ethereum mainnet and token migration will begin for MYST ERC20 token holders. We are aiming for the end of July.

Stage TWO (Middle of August):

  • Mysterium payment system smart contracts will be deployed on Ethereum Mainnet. New discovery, transactor and Hermes services will also be deployed. This will cause the launch of a parallel network (beta net). Not all users will be required to switch into it. And our official dvpn and node apps will still be using testnet. 
  • On betanet transactions will be done on Ethereum mainnet but we will still be using MYSTT test token. No MYST token usage at this stage yet.
  • The Mysterium Node Pilot will not apply for betanet users, but it will be possible to convert MYSTT token into MYST tokens using our special “MiniDEX” smart contract. 

Stage THREE (Middle of September): 

  • We’ll release 1.0 version of nodes and mainnet ready dvpn apps which will begin using and accepting MYST token. This will introduce a 3rd network fork. There are no further forks planned or anticipated after this stage.
  • The Mysterium Referral program launches, bringing consumers and paid traffic into the network.

What changes for nodes?

During the second stage, the node registration process will be changed. 

Currently, users can plug in a Raspberry Pi, which is “found” by the host My.Mysterium.Network. Users turn their Pis into nodes and become a part of Mysterium Network. We will introduce a new onboarding flow. This includes setting a beneficiary/payout wallet during first node run; setting your staking amount to determine your settlement thresholds and maximum amount of tokens during one withdrawal; create your own password; set the price that you’d like to offer your VPN service. Only once the above has been set up, nodes can start providing their services.

We’ll be publishing more important details in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, join our Discord channel and download the app for Android, Windows or Mac to get a taste of the free version before we move to the P2P payments model.

Introducing our decentralized VPN for Mac 🎉

Mysterium VPN app for Mac is now live.

This means anyone with a Mac computer or macbook can use the Mysterium dVPN to power an anonymous and uncensored web experience – all while rebuilding the web from the inside out.

Download the free VPN for Mac here.

Available for macOS versions 10.14+ and later

What is Mysterium VPN for Mac?

Mysterium dVPN is an anti-censorship, anti-surveillance tool. It is more similar to Tor network in its philosophy and infrastructure, but preserves the essential functions and ease of use of a VPN. You can easily connect to the Mysterium VPN and run it while browsing online, no matter where you are. This will protect yourself against cyberthreats and help you bypass firewalls and geoblocking. It’s free to install for a short time only, and its simple user interface helps you get started in minutes. 

Under the hood, Mysterium is very different to other VPNs for Mac. While regular VPNs connect you to servers owned or managed by businesses, our VPN is powered entirely by its users. Mysterium’s P2P, decentralized (distributed) network is made up of people all over the world who share their bandwidth and IP address with each other in exchange for crypto. So you can be in dVPN mode to use it, or in node mode to power it and earn. Note that you need to have a node set up to start earning in the network. You can learn how to become a node in our guide, and we’ve even made a dashboard for nodes which lets you track your earnings each day. 

Just like Tor, when you use the dVPN your encrypted traffic is sent throughout the network in an unrecognizable form. We also use various security protocols such as OpenVPN and WireGuard® to ensure the network is safe. The decentralized nature of our network means we can’t store logs centrally, even if we wanted to. 

What’s new with our VPN for Mac?

We added new features such as advanced filtering, auto-updates and a seamless onboarding experience. 

Advanced filtering allows you to select your connection type, country and even price. 

As with our Android app, you’ll be able to select from a dropdown menu of residential IP addresses located around the world. You can curate your VPN experience, unlocking content from countries based on your browsing needs.

The app also has an inbuilt in auto-update functionality, so you’ll always have the latest and best version. 

Our new onboarding process is fast and seamless, so you can register your identity (MystID) in a matter of seconds. Your identity is linked to a unique Ethereum address generated for you, where you can top up your MYSTT balance. MYSTT is our testnet version of our native MYST token. You can use MYSTT to activate the service and begin paying by the minute or amount of data transferred.

What’s coming next?

Mysterium wants to open up the internet to everyone, ensuring every web user has equal and secure access. We released our dVPN for Android last year, and have been working hard to make the Myst VPN compatible with all devices and systems. This new macOS release lays the foundation for our upcoming Windows version. Our user interface code is shared among platforms, so you’ll have the same experience across every device.

Discover our VPN for Mac

Mysterium Network 2020 Q1 round up

Mysterium is building a decentralised VPN. What is a VPN? And how is a dVPN different? اكتشف المزيد.

Related: What is internet censorship? 

The last quarter for Mysterium Network has been an eventful one, to say the least. We grew our node network to an unprecedented scale, resulting in many adaptations and changes, especially to our bounty rules.

Related: The definitive guide to becoming a Mysterium Node

We have now pivoted our focus away from node acquisition and started working on various implementations of our decentralised VPN application to attract more users and businesses to the network. We also launched our first developer bounties, encouraging entrepreneurs and programmers to take advantage of our infrastructure and build new privacy-focused Web3 tools and products. 

As always, there has been an ongoing process of testing, learning and iterating.

how to build a vpn

Here are the latest updates from our team

First, a little info on our March release (v0.22):

  • We have added a “pay for traffic” functionality. This means all transactions made in the network are now paid ones. We also tested our micropayments system, using the “pay for time” feature. 
  • An even more advanced NAT hole punching was implemented. After this fix, about 80% of all nodes are able to work out of the box. This is an increase of 50% from previous implementations. 

 

What we achieved in April 

We released version 0.31 which introduces one big change and adds a couple of smaller enhancements:

  • P2P communication after establishing tunnel #1797
  • Providers should be able to set own price #1962
  • Store payout address on blockchain #2040

 

Developing the desktop dVPN app

We’re also actively working on a new desktop macOS dVPN app and are going to release the public BETA soon. You can see the progress of app development in this repo or watch related tasks here.

We also did some work towards reopening our Windows app. You can already download the Windows build and use it as a consumer via CLI. Building the Windows desktop dVPN app is our next task and we’re aiming to complete it by the end of May.

 

Refining our free (for now) dVPN Android app

Our latest version of the Android app is much more stable and should have much better connection times with nodes running v0.31.

By the end of May, we’re going to add more filtering options (e.g. by node IP type) and have some UI enhancements.

 

Fine-tuning our payments 

Thanks to our community, we have found many bugs in our payments implementation. Many of them are already fixed.

We’ve been testing our micropayments solution from the end of December 2019. During the last 4 months we implemented almost all the features of the Hermes protocol (our in-built payments solution) and are going to open source the code at the beginning of June. From then, the network will be able to operate with several Hermes hubs, as we aim to decentralise the network further. This will push us closer towards becoming a fully distributed network, launching on the Ethereum mainnet and utilising MYST as the major payment method.

 

The logic behind these releases

As we draw closer to mainnet, we have changed our release process. We have scheduled a couple of RC (release candidates) before our final release, with planned upgrades to the whole network. With this change we expect to have more stability and speed, with less things breaking with additional  minor releases (e.g. 0.22.1, 0.22.2 …).

 

Why are we jumping straight from 0.22 to 0.30?

In our last release we added a huge change, making communication between consumers and providers even more P2P, while avoiding centralised communication servers (such as our message broker service).

What's next?

We’re still working hard towards a mainnet release this Summer. This means you can use the P2P dVPN service, and earn when you rent your bandwidth to others. It will be the launch of our unique micropayments infrastructure which enables everyone in the network to pay and be paid in a secure, efficient and private way. It’s also an open invitation to developers who can see our open source code in action and would like to plug into our global node network to build some exciting new use cases themselves. 

You can already try our free VPN for Android here.

VPN for Android

Decentralised VPN (dVPN) Comparison 2020

dvpn comparison

Decentralised VPN (dVPN) Comparison

The following is a continually dVPN comparison is a resource tracking the differences between emerging decentralised virtual privacy networks in the market.

Last updated: 19 May 2020

If you would like to see an additional dVPN compared here, please do get them to reach out to us, we’d love to continue to develop this as an educational resource for end-users to make educated decisions on their digital lives.

Related: Tor vs VPN vs dVPN – what are the differences?

Network Design

Mysterium Network

A global collection of nodes power a VPN network by sharing bandwidth P2P in exchange for cryptocurrency.

Users can easily become a node and also download the free VPN app to select from a global menu of IP addresses/bandwidth providers.

Orchid

VPN users connect to bandwidth sellers (nodes) using a directory. Node providers stake tokens to advertise these services.

Users install the Orchid VPN, add OXT to their wallet, and can then access the internet through their preferred path (single or multi-hop).

Sentinel

P2P VPN network also functioning as an SDK. Allows anybody to become a “resource node” by selling their unutilized computing resources in the marketplace.

Users mask their Internet traffic through a series of nodes.

VPN

A global VPN service which can provide Dedicated IP address, Double VPN, Onion Over VPN and connection to the Tor anonymity network. 

As well as dedicated data centre servers around the world, centralized VPNs also allow P2P traffic on certain servers  – there are hundreds of them in different locations around the world, optimized for file sharing.

How are nodes incentivised or rewarded?

Mysterium Network

Pilot program
Monthly bounties for UK, US, Italian and German participants, earning up to $600 in ETH per year. Only an email and IP address is required.

P2P payment network
(coming soon)
Nodes set their own price based on supply and demand. This unique micropayments system utilises cryptocurrency payments, so nodes can sell their bandwidth in small intervals, ensuring security and convenience.

Orchid

Stake-weighting
Anyone can operate an Orchid Node, but must first stake (lock up as collateral) the native OXT cryptocurrency. The more OXT that is staked, the more traffic they can receive, and the greater the chances of reward in the Network.

Orchid uses an advanced payments architecture known as probabilistic nanopayments for per-packet network payments.

Sentinel

Resource Nodes can earn the native $SENT token in return for contributing network bandwidth and other resources by hosting a Service Node for the dVPN Service.

VPN

Nodes are not incentivized in centralized VPNs as these businesses own the infrastructure and charge end users for the service.

Node Onboarding

Mysterium Network

Anyone can run a node using their computer, mining equipment or compatible hardware such as a Raspberry Pi. Link your node to your Ethereum wallet address via an easy to use dashboard, My.Mysterium.Network to track your earnings.

No staking is required to be a node – sign up is free.

Orchid

Anyone can run a node by signing up to the stake registry and provider directory on the blockchain.

However, all new nodes must purchase and stake OXT to start receiving traffic.

Sentinel

Running a node requires technical knowledge of how to install a docker and configure a node. At present there is no user-friendly dashboard or application for download.

VPN

No need to onboard. By paying for the service, users get access to the VPN service, but do not help power it.

Costs & fees

Mysterium Network

While on testnet, the VPN is currently free to use.

Once live, users will pay in cryptocurrency for only the bandwidth they consume on a pay-per-use model.

Nodes pay no fees and earn cryptocurrency directly from users of this VPN service.

Orchid

Users pay for the bandwidth in OXT.

Nodes pay OXT to advertise their services.

Sentinel

Using their on-chain, inbuilt ‘Token Swap’ feature, users can privately purchase $SENT tokens to access any service on the Sentinel network.

Running a node is free.

VPN

Monthly subscription model, rather than a pay-as-you-go structure. Users get access to a VPN service where they can select from IP addresses based all over the world to suit their browsing needs.

VPN Security

Mysterium Network

Layered protection protocols built to protect any individual or organization. Mysterium is a fast and scalable transport security layer to reinvent privacy via VPN. Traffic is encrypted and sharded into separate pieces, filtered in an unrecognisable form through the distributed node network — without the possibility of being traced or censored.

Orchid

Users can select single- or multi-hop onion routed circuits by selecting nodes randomly weighted on stake and filtered by price, location, etc. A single hop route has the benefits of a normal VPN connection, creating a tunnel to route your traffic over a public network or your ISP, while a multi-hop connection provides additional privacy benefits by securing your network data from any one provider.

Sentinel

Swixer is Sentinel’s first utility that allows anybody to simply convert their cryptocurrency tokens online while keeping their data away from prying eyes.

User’s privacy is enhanced by Swixer’s cross-chain swaps between the Ethereum chain and other blockchains which possess a working zero-knowledge protocol or privacy layer within the protocol.

VPN

Traditional VPN services route all users’ internet traffic through a remote server, hiding IP addresses and encrypting all incoming and outgoing data. For encryption, they use the OpenVPN and Internet Key Exchange v2/IPsec technologies in their applications.

One company admits their servers were hacked due to an expired internal private key being exposed, potentially allowing anyone to spin out their own servers imitating their own.

Logging policy

Mysterium Network

no logs! Mysterium protocol removes any technical possibility for collecting or storing logs centrally.

Orchid

No logs.

Sentinel

No logs.

VPN

In theory, a centralized VPN *could* keep logs, but most state they are committed to a zero-logs policy.

Node Security

Mysterium Network

Mysterium allows users to select whitelisted traffic only, designed to protect nodes. However nodes can choose to accept any kind of traffic and increase their earning potential. They’ll soon identify and block bad actors from the network through the use of registered identities and reputation system.

Orchid

Users can prevent certain kinds of attacks from malicious exit nodes by using a default exit node whitelist consisting of trusted VPN partners. Users can use their own whitelists, and eventually well known third parties will emerge as whitelist curators.

Sentinel

Sentinel is developing a relay network, where participants in the network can choose to be a relay or an exit node on which encrypted tunnels traffic between the VPN paid user and an exit node.

It will also involve the use of governance nodes which will dictate path of packet transmission between user and exit node.

VPN

Nodes are protected as the centralized VPN assumes all security and legal risks.

Ease of Use

Mysterium Network

VPN is a simple to use and free desktop or mobile application.

New nodes can get set up in just 5 minutes and 5 steps via a simple, user-friendly dashboard. There is a knowledgebase and support team on hand to help.

Users will need to have some basic understanding of cryptocurrency and must have an Ethereum wallet set up to receive payments.

Learn more about upcoming features.

Orchid

VPN app designed for mobile and desktop. People wishing to be nodes must register and have some prior knowledge of cryptocurrency and staking.

Sentinel

Sentinel is not user-friendly and is better suited to more technically proficient users or those intuitive with Ethereum DApps and blockchain platforms.

VPN

Smart algorithms automatically select the best VPN server for you based on location, loads, or your special requirements.

They also have a dedicated support team.

Scalability

Mysterium Network

As with most P2P infrastructure, the more participants which join the network, the stronger and more robust it becomes.

Mysterium’s micropayments system is a homegrown Layer 2 solution. It was built to handle large volumes of users and transactions, making the network faster and more scalable.

Orchid

Orchid uses a probabilistic payment system which scales to millions of transactions per second, enabling a highly liquid bandwidth market without a trusted central party.

Sentinel

Sentinel’s “multi-chain architecture” secures data exchange between people and both centralized and decentralized applications meaning. This is meant to solve problems with infrastructure and scaling.

VPN

Depends on high bandwidth throughput and fast connection speeds to provide an optimal service for their users. Often use multiple tunneling protocols to ensure their network can scale and can adapt to various needs.

Social following

Mysterium Network

11.3K Twitter Followers

2000 Medium Followers

2088 Telegram Members

Orchid

27.1 K Twitter Followers

235 Medium Followers

4381 Telegram Members

Sentinel

3,392 Twitter Followers

336 Medium Followers

2946 Telegram Members

VPN

Not applicable.

Compatible with

Mysterium Network

Android, Mac, Windows, Linux.

Orchid

iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, and (soon) Windows.

Sentinel

Mac, Windows, Linux, Android.

VPN

Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, Chrome/Firefox extension, Linux.

Decentralised?

Mysterium Network

You bet.

Orchid

Of course.

Sentinel

Of course.

VPN

Nope. Decentra-what?

Network status

Mysterium Network

Testnet live – 900 residential nodes, with more than 300 live at any given point.

Orchid

Between five and 10 node providers at launch, including players from both the traditional VPN world and “new entrants from the crypto space.”

Sentinel

83 nodes in the network, with an average of 28 at any time

VPN

Choose from over 5200 servers in 59 countries.

Also – several cases of being hAcKEd

Open Source?

Mysterium Network

Transparent and collaborative from Ground Zero – check out Myst codebase.

Orchid

Duh. Everything to see here.

Sentinel

Yep. Peek under the hood here.

VPN

No – centralized VPNs are proprietary and closed source.

ما هي شبكة مستيريوم؟

Mysterium Network is one of several emerging networks enabling decentralisation of the internet. Find out how you can contribute by running a node. Or download our dVPN and give it a whirl.

Related: Tor vs VPN vs dVPN – what are the differences?

Introducing micropayments on Mysterium Network

micropayments

We are excited to announce we’re drawing closer to launching payments on Mysterium Network. How will micropayments work within a decentralised VPN?

Payments are a crucial element of Mysterium Network. As such, we needed to design a solution which was capable of meeting real-world requirements of scalability and affordability. This system also had to comply with the ethos of decentralised ecosystems. These are two opposing forces, with no solution fit for Mysterium Network readily available in the market.

There was no easy way around it for us. But we believe we found a solution that fits these requirements.

This is more than just an exciting milestone for Mysterium Network We have worked extensively towards this moment for the better part of the year and are almost ready to deploy it. 

Core challenges in designing payments for Mysterium Network:

Payments in Mysterium Network need to be lightweight and fast while honouring the core fundamentals of blockchain-systems: transparency, fairness, openness, protection from double-spending and fraud. It has to do all of this without relying on any centralised entity – making it trustless.

This trustless element has been the hardest goal to achieve by far, yet the most crucial.

Once deployed, payments will ensure that users can transact with one another autonomously, without a need for an intermediary (including us). If our attempt is successful – users won’t have to trust each other either. Instead they will trust in the network’s built-in economic game which is designed to incentivise everyone to cooperate. (Learn more about the distributed trustless ethos here)

Very soon we will start to introduce various components of Mysterium payments onto the testnet, so you can experiment and become familiar with how it’s all going to work (more on this later in this blogpost). Eventually the goal is to launch on the Mainnet with MYST tokens.

We work relentlessly towards such high standards because we believe it will help achieve our mission – to provide a secure and open internet for all. We understand the potential power of decentralized technologies to bring value and opportunity to people everywhere, but making them actually usable in real-world conditions is a challenge not solved by many so far. 

Our quest to find the best P2P payment system

The architecture of our micropayments system is a fusion of research and experimentation with existing Layer 2 solutions. This eventually led to us building a home grown one, based on all our findings.

It first began as a research and development project as we strived to find the best design for fast, secure and trustless P2P payments. While blockchain payments are (generally) secure, censorship resistant, and have an open and permissionless APIs, they’re still relatively expensive and slow. And that just didn’t work in our case. 

This lack of scalability – a network’s ability to grow and handle a growing number of users – means at a certain size the network will get clogged up by all the transactions being processed. Due to this, an Ethereum transaction could cost up to one dollar and take a couple of hours to be ‘settled’ in a block. These transactions get even more expensive when the network’s processing capacity becomes saturated. These limitations are unsuitable for the VPN service provided by Mysterium Network, which require fast, frequent and very small transactions – known as micropayments – executed on a global scale. 

We analysed various Layer 2 solutions – independent networks or chains running ‘on top’ of the original blockchain to avoid it becoming too crowded. But none of these fit our particular use case. They were either still in their very early stage of development, too insecure or overly complex, or built for general use cases, making them non-optimal for Mysterium Network’s use case. These barriers led us to start working on a completely new payment system from scratch. 

Developing a unique P2P payment system is not an easy task. Our goal was to create infrastructure which best serves the needs of both consumers of Mysterium Network, and nodes in the network. 

Here are the main requirements of our proposed system:

  1. High throughput – the network’s ability to handle frequent and small payments (eventually thousands per second)
  2. Support for our native utility token, MYST
  3. Anonymity while also being secure, such as through the use of identity registration and reputation system
  4. Great user experience, removing as much complexity as possible for the end user. 

Going back to the trust conundrum, we also had to consider that consumers won’t pay a large amount up-front and the service providers (nodes) are unlikely to offer their services without prepayment.

This is why we use a micropayment system, which lets nodes offer their service in short intervals, such as 20 seconds or 5 minutes. This pay-as-you-go model means that participants can start transacting straight away. A user can pay for a VPN service a couple of times per minute, sending (and therefore risking) only tiny amounts of tokens in exchange for the bandwidth they are renting.

The “Mysterium Accountant” concept and an introduction to payment promises (digital IOUs)

Our proposed solution fuses together the technologies and methodologies used by other payment solutions, such as State Channels. However, we are introducing a new party to the network called “Mysterium Accountant”. The Accountant will verify ‘payment promises’ made by consumers to nodes. 

Instead of users constantly paying nodes in high volumes, consumers can make ‘promises’ to providers, similar to IOUs. These promises are “verified” by Accountant. The Accountant has a record of each consumer’s actual balance and funds, as well as a record of all of the promises made. When node runners decide they want to settle the account, the final tallied record is executed on the blockchain and sent as a single transaction. 

Mysterium Accountant plays a similar role to a ‘hub’ between consumers and nodes. In saying that, it cannot use or freeze user funds. It’s only function is to verify the payment promises. This introduction of the “Mysterium Accountant” also takes our network one step closer towards becoming a trustless service. 

As these micropayments are ‘promises’, rather than on-chain payments, we reduce the amount of transactions sent to the blockchain. This allows the network to handle much larger volumes of users and transactions, making our network faster and more scalable. This is our lightweight solution for micropayments. With it, we aim to provide hundreds of thousands of transactions per second! 

To make sure we still honour decentralization, we designed the system in a way so there can be multiple Accountants existing in the network at the same time. It’s a very broad concept to explain within one post, so more will follow with much deeper explanations.

You can also dive deeper into specific concepts in our micropayments whitepaper.

What happens next?

We’re currently working to implement this payment solution on our tesnet. You will gradually see payment options in our various interfaces and applications. At first, as we migrate to this new payment model, nodes and users won’t have to do anything. Eventually you might see various engagement elements, such as a ‘top up’ button in a Mysterium app, new functionality in SDKs and so on.

Upon launch, we will assign newly minted tokens to each user on the testnet so heyou can experiment and play with this system. As with all new technologies, there will be an ongoing process of revising and iterating. We hope to learn a great deal about possible use cases, edge cases, abuse angles and on and on. We welcome your play and feedback, as it will be vital for us in getting ready to release usable and secure payments on the mainnet with actual tokens.

With the introduction of micropayments on mainnet we aim to create an incentive for both consumers and nodes to meet on the Network on fair terms. 

Eventually Node runners will begin to receive tokens as they rent their bandwidth, applying pay-per-use model, moving away from monthly bounties. Future payment and charging models may be adapted as our network starts to operate in real-world market conditions. Nodes will be able to withdraw funds to their personal wallets.

As the whole network will be open in nature, it will open up the possibility for anyone to create better user-oriented apps, incorporate privacy into all sorts of services, create a better user experience for withdrawing earnings, add more use-cases for nodes, and more.

A big thank you to our current node runners, who are the backbone of our network and are helping us to build the foundations for an open and uncensored internet. 

If you’re not yet part of our network, learn more about becoming a node runner, or download our software here.