Category

payments

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.


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 Discord or Twitter.

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  AndroidMac 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.

 

 

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 

Find out more 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 and set at least 90.000 gas limit. 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. Set at least 90.000 gas limit.
  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

Netflix VPN

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 Discord 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