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Sharmini

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 

了解更多。 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.

High Ethereum transaction fees, and what that means for Mysterium Network

Ethereum transaction fees spike, affecting dapp user onboarding

As we all know the market is changing. The DeFi bubble has led to insane Ethereum transaction fees

But it isn’t just decentralized exchanges that are being hit by this spike in GAS prices. Decentralised applications building within the Ethereum ecosystem is having to go back to the drawing board.

As you can see in the chart above, you can see that this a problem that is here to stay. 

Take for example the impact of a $3 transaction fee with a median expected top-up value between $3 – $10. Using a dex would incur an even higher transaction fee. So in some cases transaction fee can be as big as topup value, such situation is a point of friction in our user onboarding process. 

In the long term, there will be widespread and commonly accepted layer two solutions for the decentralised community that will solve for these spikes in the transaction fees on Ethereum. This could be ETH 2.0 or a widely adopted second layer solution based on payment channels. 

But this isn’t the current case. As a team committed to user onboarding, we put serious time and thinking into how we can alleviate this friction point for users within Mysterium Network.

What about other blockchains?

We have taken time to consider other blockchains and analyse if this is a solution to the transaction fee problem. There are several EVM compatible solutions such as RSK, Tron, TomoChain, just to name a few.

In case you were wondering…

There are endless solutions which are just as promising when it comes to cheap and fast transactions, for example, EOS, Liquid, Stellar, Nano, Holo, and the list goes on…


Here are some of our reasons for our continued commitment to the Ethereum blockchain: 

  • The Ethereum ecosystem holds a large community of users who know how to use Ethereum wallets
  • Integrations with DEXes such as Uniswap, which will allow for ETH, DAI and other ERC 20 token holder communities to easily pay for VPN services within Mysterium Network
  • Proven security model 

Big and growing developer community. As builders, we want to be amongst our own. 

But does this mean we have to live with the high transaction fees? Not necessarily - Introducing “Mysterium Pro”

How does Mysterium Pro solve the transaction fee problem?

The only place where these high transaction fees touch Mysterium Network’s service offering is in the top-up function. All other transactions are happening in our own, scalable micropayment channels based L2 solution. Find out more here:

  1. Introducing payments on Mysterium Network
  2. A deep dive into payments on Mysterium Network

This is the moment where end-users top-up their payment channel so they can begin to pay for VPN services within the network. 

With Mysterium Pro, users can circumvent high transaction fees by choosing to top-up their payment channels with BTC, BCH and other low transaction fee tokens. 

Mysterium Pro will also include a solution which batches end-users tokens before converting them to MYST, therefore spreading the cost of transaction fees over users. This allow means mucheven cheaper top-ups for Mysterium Pro users.

Mysterium Pro launches after our mainnet release. See our latest update on MYST token migration.

Want to get involved in Mysterium Network today?

We’re building towards Ethereum mainnet. This is when peer to peer payments within Mysterium Network become a reality. As part of this, we are recruiting testers for our beta net, a place where we will work with our community to battle test our code.

Here’s a snapshot of our progressive migration onto Ethereum mainnet: 

If you’re interested in getting involved, sign up here!

Want to get involved in Mysterium Network today?

Mysterium網絡 is a decentralized VPN, with a growing global residential IP node network. Download our apps to browse the internet freely.

What is the Web 3.0?

Will all technology eventually become obsolete, replaced or abandoned? Or are some things so deeply rooted in our world that they can only evolve, just as we do? 

It’s hard to imagine the internet as a technology of the industrial revolution. This giant and permanently entangled web of wires, routers, servers, towers, and electric currents passes information at a speed somewhere between that of sound and light.

This internet infrastructure exists everywhere, a cloud that lets us carry “the web” in our pockets and power our homes with smart devices. It’s no longer one technology, but an undefinable mesh of countless technologies, protocols, software and hardware, interoperating and speaking to each other.

We are all now connected by the Internet, like a neurons in a giant brain.

stephen hawking
Hundreds of thousands of kilometers of submarine cables connect us, but will these age well? 

And yet the internet we know today - referred to as the Web 2.0 - is falling apart.

Over-centralization has become a threat to its accessibility and democracy. Officially governed by “no one”, the internetit has flourished into a commercial machine which serves a handful of powerful and self-interested businesses. Corrupt governments can cut off their citizens from the internet altogether. And if your personal data hasn’t been hacked yet, it’s only a matter of time

But rebuilding the internet itself seems an impossible task. Instead, we can decentralise it.

New technology can help change how we build business, how we design our governance systems, and how we operate global organisations.

Juan Benet

The decentralisation of the web is a global movement, led by many different groups all working towards the same objective; to ensure equal, free and uncensored access to the web for all. We do this by taking the same physical pieces that make up the internet today, and repurpose them so they protect and serve users.

Before, we were merely plugged into the internet. Now we can become the internet itself.

Important sidenote – the internet and the web are two different things; when we refer to the internet, we mean the physical infrastructure – the wiring and protocols governing how computers communicate with each other. The “web” is made up of websites, web applications, web browsing. It’s a platform which hosts documents and applications, with clickable hyperlinks.

Weaving the World Wide Web

Before we dive into Web 3.0 and its mechanics, let’s take a brief look at the history of the internet.

In its early stages, the internet was made up of a distributed network of computers. Its original architects, including founding father Tim Berners-Lee, envisioned it as inclusive and open. To access and be part of this network meant to contribute directly to its growth and development, with everyone sharing responsibility equally. Each user could communicate with each other directly, without the need for third parties or businesses, such as ISPs today. 

Towards the end 1990, the first web page became available on the open internet. In 

1991, this Web 1.0 was launched as a public domain, a digital and shared space like a public library or park. Users anywhere were invited to join this new online community.

In the mind of Berners-Lee, the internet was designed to be “a collaborative medium, a place where we [could] all meet and read and write.” But as more people connected and the network grew in size, Berners-Lee understood that to unlock the power of the internet, it had to be “permissionless”, meaning no one had to seek permission to join. 

Had the technology been proprietary, and in my total control, it would probably not have taken off. You can’t propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it.

Tim Berners-Lee

However, the web at this time was mostly static, offering read-only content. There were very few content creators, with most users of the internet “acting as consumers”. The internet was soon taken over by the first internet businesses like AOL and Yahoo, who became the gateways to the web.

In 1994, Netscape launched the first commercial-grade web browser, and the dot-com explosion began. 

Web 2.0 - Users at the bottom of the internet foodchain

In the early 2000s, the internet became more interactive. The evolution of the read-only Web 1.0 to the read-write Web 2.0 brought us the “web as a platform”. Users could easily start creating and publishing content themselves, even learning HTML (HyperText Markup Language, the markup language for the web) to build their own websites. 

As an interactive and dynamic system where anyone could participate, this read-write web is what catalysed the birth of many new systems and applications which today have become some of the biggest businesses in the world. Participatory social networks like Facebook and Myspace, online marketplaces like Amazon, AirBnB and Uber, content creation and entertainment – all these plug into Web 2.0, creating new economies and standards for socialising, communication and business. Social media in particular has reinvented the way we shop and consume news.

Unfortunately, the business models propping up the internet today are as exploitative as they are successful. It exists to serve those “who have something to sell”, who even in the 90’s were predicted to become the main beneficiaries of the web. Companies rely on user-generated content to keep their platforms running, yet our personal data is harvested and sold to companies we’ve never even heard of. 

And if it’s not monetized, our personal information is routinely hacked due to the insecure centralized systems that have led to countless data breaches in the past year alone, exposing millions of records. These centralized databases are gold mines, making us targets for cybercriminals who can steal our personal information, banking details or simply sell our identities on the dark web.

So despite the internet being hailed as the greatest technological advancement of all time, it turns out corporations have really made a mess of things (but earned billions in the process). We desperately need to protect users and preserve the future of the internet itself, before it’s too late to turn things around. 

There are many teams working to restore the internet to its former glory. The resurgence of decentralized, P2P technology has meant we can rewire the internet so that it becomes private, safe and accessible by default. It will protect and compensate users, instead of milking them for data and profit. 

A slight digression… what is the “other” Web 3, the “semantic web” ?

It was once thought that the evolution of the Web 2.0 into Web 3.0 would bring us the “semantic web”. 

The semantic web was to improve web technologies so they can “understand the meaning of words, rather than on keywords or numbers… In this version of the Web 3.0, computers can understand information like humans in order to provide faster and more relevant results. They become more intelligent to satisfy the needs of user.”

Tim Berners-Lee described this web as a “Global Brain” which could process content in a human-like way, interpreting the nuances of concepts and information. Though billions of dollars were invested to develop the semantic web, it has not been brought to life (at least for now).

The decentralized web - a digital rebellion

The best way to think of the Web is as a direct-to-customer distribution channel, whether it's for information or commerce. It bypasses all middlemen. And, it turns out, there are a lot of middlepersons in this society. And they generally tend to slow things down, muck things up, and make things more expensive. The elimination of them is going to be profound.

Steve Jobsin a 1996 interview with Wired, about the impact and future of the Web

The “new” Web 3.0 is often referred to as the decentralised web, as this is the main underlying technological and theoretical standard which powers it. As we shift into a new internet era, this adaptation of the Web 3.0 actually draws it closer to its original roots. 

One of the biggest problems with the internet today is that it is heavily centralized, with a small collection of companies storing and powering the web via privately owned servers. Remember Web 1.0? That was a decentralized system, with a network of computers (and their users) storing that same data. There was no long line of middlemen, queuing up to connect us and take their cut. With that version of the web, no one had to pay a company or service to join, there were no centralized nodes, servers or governance systems, no single point of failure, and no “kill switch”. These are all qualities and components that the decentralized web hopes to restore.

But how does the decentralized web “work”?

The Web 3.0… an inclusive set of protocols to provide building blocks for application makers. Present a whole new way of creating applications. These technologies give users strong and verifiable guarantees about information they are receiving, what information they are giving away, what they are paying and what they are receiving in return.

@GAVofyork

With the introduction of new technologies like blockchain and distributed ledger technology, we can decentralize many different systems that were once dependent on centralized methods. (This can also be applied to systems beyond internet protocols, such as law and economics, but that’s a story for another time.)

Blockchain technology has democratic and self-governing architecture. Take the Bitcoin blockchain, for example; as a peer-to-peer system, it is run by its own users, who are rewarded when they help keep it running. Due to its heavy encryption and clever mechanics, it is practically incorruptible. And the best part is, a blockchain is available for anyone to verify and anyone to join. 

Learning all the lessons of what Bitcoin did to money, we’re starting to do this to all other kinds of services. Torrents and other file sharing sites kickstarted the P2P revolution. Bitcoin entered the scene providing the final piece that was missing all those years ago – incentivisation. Blockchain’s economic model has changed the game, and makes it far more scalable.

And with the advent of smart contract technology, we can ensure the benefits of decentralized protocols are easily passed onto the user. (Smart contracts are pieces of code that can automate and self-execute tasks based on an agreement. And since the smart contract acts as the “middle-man”, it doesn’t need to be paid). 

Now we take these unique protocols and plug them into the web itself. Instead of centralised servers, we can create peer to peer systems which allow people, not business, to securely share and store data online. Your computer becomes a node, acting as a miniature server (node). As a node, you help power the entire network by directly sharing your excess resources, such as bandwidth or processing power. And as a decentralized system, it runs without any kind of official host or authority at all, making it stronger from a security and network health standpoint, with no single point of failure. The bigger this distributed network grows, the faster it becomes.

Learn more about P2P networks

Much, much bigger than the cloud.

You can imagine the decentralized web as a new layer, one which still utilises all the existing infrastructure of the internet today, but “rewires” it on a technical level and reimagines it on a social one. This new layer relies on people, not business, to keep it powered, open and free. In this way, the Web 3 alters the very way we access the internet, retrieve information and operate online. One of the best promises of this tech is its ability to return sovereignty over data ownership. Now we can truly own, protect and profit from our own data. 

And perhaps the most important and new property introduced by the decentralized web is verifiability. It enables any user to verify and confirm the claims of the services they are using. 

We can now check that services are being delivered in the way they’re promised, and that our data is being handled securely.

Pieces of the decentralization puzzle. 

Some Web 3.0 companies.

Much of the decentralized community is already committed to open-sourcing their code, but with Web 3 platforms and apps, this transparency is often built into the technology itself. Verifiability is embedded in the infrastructure. Users no longer have to trust the teams and spokespeople behind the platforms, as the technology itself is trustless by design. This is a far cry from the current state of Web 2.0, where online businesses hide behind terms of service and codes of ethics, and we just have to take their word for it.

P2P privacy

The Web 3.0 enables anyone to build all kinds of autonomous applications and networks. The practical use cases of blockchain and DLT have made their impact on industries from health, law, finance, energy, the sharing economy. 

Mysterium Network is one such network that is helping to weave together this second layer of the internet. As a permissionless, decentralized network with a focus on censorship-resistant web applications, it helps us reformat the web, allowing people like you and me to own and manage the internet. The first app to be utilise the network is a world-first decentralized VPN (dVPN). 

As with other decentralized apps and platforms which make up the Web 3.0, a dVPN service is powered entirely by other web users like you. Each person rents out their IP address and bandwidth to others in this P2P network, earning crypto in exchange. Due to its distributed infrastructure, none of your data can be physically stored anywhere, and all traffic being routed through these personal nodes is heavily encrypted.

You can use this Web 3.0 app to bypass unethical censorship and surveillance. Governments everywhere regularly attempt to prevent the use of encryption tools and anonymity in any form. With over a quarter (27%) of the world’s internet users living in places where they can be arrested for posting, sharing or even “liking” something on Facebook, it’s time to fight back. The Web 3.0 can protect its users, keeping them anonymous while they browse the web openly and safely. 

We don’t have to keep making new privacy tools that can be blocked – we change the very nature of being online in the first place. We’re building safer roads, not inventing safer cars. 

It’s invisible and undeletable internet infrastructure. 

The decentralized web is an equitable and open space where everyone can contribute, build and reap the rewards for themselves. 

You can join it for yourself, just by downloading this app we made just for you 🙂 It’s free to use for only a short while longer.

Learn about the upcoming launch of Mysterium Network on mainnet. 

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 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網絡. 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.

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

What does a VPN do for anonymity in the surveillance era?

Is there such a thing as true anonymity anymore?

It is an interesting time in history to delve into the value of anonymity (and privacy). With a pandemic rampantly spreading through the world, we are seeing thoughtless relinquishing of both our physical and digital freedoms. Some are warning that increased surveillance during the coronavirus outbreak may lead to long-lasting erosion of civil liberties.

But how can we remove ourselves from an ‘Architecture of Oppression’ if it is being built around, by and for us?

In the original 1993 Cypherpunk Manifesto, Eric Hughes wrote that “privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age…” – Here he’s starting to address the concepts that will help us frame the answer to the question  “What does a VPN do?”, or rather “What should a VPN do”.

People have been defending their own privacy for centuries with whispers, darkness, envelopes, closed doors, secret handshakes, and couriers. The technologies of the past did not allow for strong privacy, but electronic technologies do.

Eric Hughes

Decades have passed, yet these “electronic technologies” have not brought the salvation that Hughes had hoped for. Technologies of the future seem to have taken away much of our privacy, instead of strengthening it. The internet is becoming less free, with increased online election interference and increased government surveillance “spreading on social media platforms”.

Related: What is happening to the internet? And what does VPN have to do with it?

The more we migrate our lives into the digital realm, the harder it becomes to control our privacy at all. The line between our private and public lives has become so blurred by technology, that the online representation of ourselves is often more intimate and more exposed than our real life personas.

A continuous and permanent catalogue of our lives is inscribed in the history of the internet forever. Your life is quite literally an open book.

We’ve been conditioned to hand over personal information to every platform or service we sign up to, or we are simply locked out of “the system”. We sacrifice more and more details about ourselves unnecessarily, so businesses can manipulate us into buying more things.

This underground trade of our personal data has been commercialised and, as with all valuable commodities, weaponised. The 2019 Freedom of the Net report revealed that of the 40 countries examined, 89 percent of internet users, or nearly 3 billion people, are subject to instituted and advanced social media surveillance programs.

Related: What does anonymity in a surveillance era look like?

“It’s Facebook’s ad policy that allows politicians to spread lies or Amazon’s growing relationships with police departments that use its Ring smart doorbells and associated social media products to surveil communities.

what does a vpn do

East meets West

China’s social credit system is a real life experiment of how our own personal data can be turned against us. Citizens are each given an identity number, all linked to a permanent record – one that expands “to all aspects of life, judging citizens’ behaviour and trustworthiness. Caught jaywalking, don’t pay a court bill, play your music too loud on the train — you could lose certain rights, such as booking a flight or train ticket.”

In the time of Coronavirus, this meticulous social control means that social credit-related regulations now “include spreading rumours that disrupt efforts to control the epidemic, hoarding, upsetting market order, making fake or poor quality masks and other medical supplies.” 

Yet in the West, the pervasive monitoring of our online behaviour – in the name of national security – means our online activity can be legally tracked by our ISPs and governments. While the technology still evolves, there are “no rules” when it comes to facial recognition, with police running pilot programs for real-time surveillance monitoring before the law has time to catch up with the ethics of it all. 

As the world turns digital, it’s more critical that our online identities, privacy and freedoms remain in our control. 

Privacy is a basic human right, and our digital privacy is an extension of that right. We are not detached from our online identities – just ask someone whose life has been destroyed by identity theft. 

No matter how much information we volunteer online, privacy should be the core foundation of a strong and open internet.

Anonymity

what does a vpn do

I don’t know why people are so keen to put their details of their private life in public; they forget that invisibility is a superpower.

Banksy

The fundamental difference between privacy and anonymity

There is an important distinction to be made between privacy and anonymity. Privacy keeps your behaviour and activity hidden, yet you can still be identified. An example is your private banking, where you can send and receive money but your financial transactions are only yours to see. The same applies to your emails, your social media profiles, your text messages – you remain identifiable, yet can choose what is shared and what is not.

what does a dvpn do

Anonymity is almost this concept in reverse. Being anonymous means your identity is hidden but your actions can be seen. Others can see what you do, just not who is doing it. Blockchains are pseudo-anonymous, meaning you can view every transaction that takes place, but should not be able to link an identity to the sender nor receiver. 

Anonymity tends to be stigmatised, as anonymous behaviour is often associated with illegal activity. The dark web has emerged, home to online black marketplaces such as Silk Road, whose creator is serving a life sentence in prison.

Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit. [It] turned out to be a naive and costly idea that I deeply regret.

RossIn sentencing letter to his judge

But historically, anonymous figures have contributed much to society – artists, writers, journalists, political and human rights activists. Even superheroes are anonymous to protect themselves from evil villains and persistent ex-girlfriends. Banksy’s visual messages are louder and more profound because he refuses to let his identity hijack the narrative.

anticensorship vpn

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

Oscar Wilde

Anonymity enables this freedom of expressions and speech. It means you can speak your mind without retribution. It means you can whistleblow and expose corruption in its darkest corners. It means a free press, where newspapers can investigate and publish without fear of being persecuted

It also means hate speech and cyberbullying is harder to control, but this is the double edged sword we must accept in the ongoing battle for free and open discourse.

An idea can be the most powerful thing in the world

For many in heavily censored regions, to be anonymous simply means to be free. Part of the Charter of Human Rights is the fundamental right of freedom of expression, which encompasses the freedom to “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The UN urges the protection of anonymous expression online. To evade the grasp of “broad and intrusive government surveillance”, we must defend the online privacy and digital autonomy of human rights activists, journalists and silenced citizens. This includes “freedom from surveillance, the right to use encryption, the right to online anonymity, the right to online protest”.

Despite these universal efforts to promote human rights in the online environment, it appears that policy is not a cure. Over a quarter (27%) of the world’s internet users live in places where they can be arrested for posting, sharing or even “liking” something on Facebook. Social-media related arrests relating to political, social, or religious speech have been made in 47 countries. WIth true anonymity, words can be used to liberate people, not used against them. You can’t put ideas in prison. 

Research from ARTICLE 19 Policy Paper shows that anonymity is the vital component in protecting both the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy. It “allows individuals to express themselves without fear of reprisal, and is especially important in those countries where freedom of expression is heavily censored.”

The right to privacy is being pulled away from Hong Kong citizens in a unique, almost science fiction display. As Hong Kong is “handed over” to China geopolitically, what was once a place which enjoyed the more liberal, political philosophies of privacy, is now faced with harsh surveillance and censorship policies. The ongoing protests are an attempt to slip through “Beijing’s tightening grip on their city”, which includes aggressive measures like the expulsion of a foreign journalist, the jailing of young activists and curbs on electoral freedom.

In this ongoing battle between political protesters and police, identities have already become weapons. In the protests itself, police allegedly tracked protest leaders online, seeking out their phones and using the biometric logins to single out targets for arrest.

The age of surveillance

But censorship and surveillance isn’t just a reality found in dictatorships. Governments everywhere regularly attempt to prevent the use of encryption tools and anonymity in any form. This is to hinder unlawful activities, such as terrorism and drug trafficking. In the past decade, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has seized more than $4 billion from citizens based on their suspicions of criminal activity. Yet over 81 percent of these seizures have never led to formal charges. 

In many cases, the US government can legally request digital data held by companies without a warrant. The EARN IT Act is currently being debated in congress, and if passed, could “handcuff companies to a difficult-to-modify set of procedures. One item on that checklist could be eliminating end-to-end encryption in messaging apps, depriving the world of a secure communications tool.”

A few years back President Donald Trump passed a law which allows internet service providers to gather and share their customers personal data without their consent, like your web history and what apps you use. The UK’s Snoopers Charter grants the government the right to legally monitor the internet usage of its citizens. The general message is that if you’re a law-abiding citizen, there’s nothing to worry about.

Related: What is geoblocking?

Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

Edward Snowden
what is privacy

But it should be the government’s motive for wanting your personal information that is questioned – not your right privacy.

Use your digital freedom to fight back

In a digital utopia, anonymity, privacy, security and anti-censorship would blend together to form a perfect internet. 

But how do we make the internet safe, and your privacy a default setting? The laws which govern our privacy and help us freely voice our opinions have mostly benefited corporate needs, governments and their agencies. We can’t depend on laws to change, or for our internet service providers to serve in our interests. A decentralized VPN (dVPN) is one way to take back control.

Related: dVPN comparison – See how new decentralised technologies stack up against each other.

Over a quarter (25%) of the world’s internet users already use a VPN. The main motives for using one include accessing social networks and news services (34%), to keep anonymity while browsing (31%), to hide web browsing from the government (18%) and to access Tor browser (17%). Yet in countries where citizens need a VPN the most – Venezuela, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, UAE – naturally they are forbidden. 

A dVPN was designed for these victims of censorship and surveillance. A regular VPN connects you to data centers managed by businesses, which makes them detectable to governments and ISPs. These services are also often slow, limited and most worryingly, they keep logs of all their users’ online activity in centralised servers. A study of 62 commercial providers showed that many VPNs leak user traffic “through a variety of means.

With a dVPN, the service is powered entirely by other web users like you. You can select from a global menu of residential IP addresses, so it’s almost impossible to trace or be shut down by governments. A dVPN is a technological remedy for anti-privacy and anti-anonymity. If you live in a country which enjoys internet freedom, you can choose to rent out your IP address to others in this P2P network and earn crypto in exchange. Due to its distributed infrastructure, none of your data can be physically stored anywhere, and all traffic being routed through these personal nodes is heavily encrypted. 

A dVPN is more than just a service though – it’s a global network, a second layer of the internet that ensures it remains a public domain – a space for new ideas, collaboration and connection. This general decentralization movement empowers people to take control of their digital lives.

Mysterium’s own dVPN was the world’s first. We use layered protection protocols so anyone can browse the web anonymously. Your identity and IP are always hidden so anyone can bypass unethical surveillance. We also whitelist everyone who wants to become a node or access our VPN, protecting the network from bad players. Try out our free VPN for Android

You can also join our node network and help us safeguard anonymous expression online, protecting the identities of journalists, activists and victims of censorship and surveillance around the world.  

Related: The definitive guide to running a Mysterium Node

It’s time we vindicate the cypherpunks – the technology which allows us to build their envisioned, anonymous systems has finally arrived. After all, “we cannot expect governments, corporations, or other large, faceless organizations to grant us privacy … we must defend our own privacy if we expect to have any.” 

Onward.

Opensource VPN partnership alert 🚨🎉 Portals builds on Mysterium Network

open source vpn

Portals VPN builds on top of Mysterium Network

We’re excited to announce the first project building on Mysterium Network! Mysterium Network is building a decentralised VPN, but we are also fundamentally an open source VPN. 

Portals has built on top of our open-source infrastructure to bring consumer VPN users into Mysterium ecosystem.

To celebrate this new milestone, Portals is offering a discount to all Mysterium users who’d like to sign up and give their Android application a go.

Related: What is a VPN connection? And why is it needed as our internet splinters apart?

What is Portals?

Portals is a dVPN application that plugs directly into Mysterium Network’s pool of nodes. Yes, you heard correct – a business, building on our infrastructure and sending traffic to our node network. And it doesn’t stop there.

Portals are focused on consumer adoption. They offer a subscription service, with monthly or annual payments. This means that Portals users can pay not just with cryptocurrencies, but with cold hard credit cards. Under the hood, this will drive traffic into Mysterium Network and tokens into Mysterium node runners’ pockets. Once a user signs up for Portals, all they need to do is pick the country they’d like to connect to. Portals’ built-in algorithm selects the best nodes for them to connect to based on quality, and the service the user is looking to access. 

Portals also offer live chat, which means anyone with issues getting their dVPN application up and running will have a helping hand.

A small step for dApps, a giant step towards mass adoption.

With Portals, users will be able to access the benefits of Mysterium Network’s pool of residential IPs without having to even know what ETH or MYST is! More users and traffic will flow into Mysterium Network, without all that crypto mumbo jumbo needing to be explained to people who just want an app that’s easy to use.

Portals app is available on Android, Mac and Windows. Check them out here.

open source vpn

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Why are decentralized VPNs important?

Centralized VPNs today have full access to the history and metadata of what we consume online.

“The websites we browse, torrents we download, movies we watch on Netflix, the time we spend playing games, watching Youtube, idling on social networks – we can only imagine (and know from certain instances) how this data is used to track us and eventually influence our behaviour,” says the team behind Portals VPN.  

“This influence is so strong yet so concealed, that we have the right to replace the term “influence” to the term “control” in this context.”

Portals VPN is built on the belief that the more Internet users become aware of this control that centralized VPN providers have, the more they will turn to decentralized solutions. 

Why is this step important to Mysterium Network?

Mysterium Network is building a distributed VPN node network. 

While we have a reference implementation of our technology available, as an open-source VPN one of our goals is to help create tooling that allows for easy integration into our node network.

This means that we can continue to focus on building our node software, nurturing our community of nodes and helping developers build apps that drive traffic through the network.

Portals building on top of Mysterium is an important step for us as it will help us with the following:

  • Getting feedback on our developer documentation to ease future open source adoption of our technology;
  • Building processes to help onboard open-source talent more seamlessly into first learning about Mysterium technology, and then building on top of it;
  • Gaining a new channel through which traffic will enter our network and gets distributed across our node runners.

An open Internet for all

Portals and Mysterium are just two of the many projects pioneering decentralization. The ecosystem is made up of a range of companies, initiatives and projects all working together to create a better Internet for all. 

The magic of decentralized technology means that different platforms complement each other, merging to form a new Internet that is as accessible, interoperable and open – as if it were one. 

Related: Read our behind-the-scenes look into how networks like these are built.

Stay tuned for our developer bounties

Portals is the first of many projects that we hope will join us in building Mysterium’s wider ecosystem.

We will be announcing developer bounties on the 1st of March through our blog and community channels, so stay tuned to find out how you can contribute to a more free, more open Internet – and earn while you do it.

March 2020 updates – How to sell internet bandwidth

Mysterium Network is building a decentralised VPN. If you’re wondering how to sell internet bandwidth and earn crypto, check out our definitive guide to becoming a Mysterium Node.

Before we provide you with our latest update, we’d like to thank our growing community of nodes for their ongoing support, contributions and feedback. We value your time and effort in working with us to launch the next generation of the internet.

What’s changing in our March proposal:

A recurring piece of feedback we had from Mysterium Node Runners was to remove caps on Residential IP nodes which would be paid out monthly.

At this stage real traffic is not paid, and completely subsidised by Mysterium Network.

We are currently on test net. MYSTT is not a scarce resource as we need an abundance for testing purposes. This means that we will have a lot of users testing our mobile application (and desktop apps in the near future) with free MYSTT. This is necessary for our current stage of testing. This also means a lot of unpaid traffic within Mysterium Network, completely subsidised by us.

Before presenting our proposal one of the options we were considering was having a bounty pot that would be split by all node runners. But we came to the conclusion that this would have incited a lot of frustration as there would be no way to guarantee the exact value of earnings until the very end of the month.

We are happy to take any suggestions on board that takes us closest to a free market system. This is why we are making an amendment to our March proposal of bounty rules. 

Instead of having an individual cap of nodes per target region, we will have a total cap of 250 nodes paid out for the following regions: the UK, US, Italy, Germany, Australia, Netherlands.

The rest of “Residential IP bounties with payout caps and rolling payments + New countries  🇦🇺🇳🇱” remains the same.

To reiterate again – we reserve the right to not pay. We will be cross-checking traffic and identifying bad actors and disqualifying them from our bounty program. 

For some consumers of Mysterium Network, different types of IPs are both useful and important. This is why we are looking to grow the number of data center, residential IPs, and mobile IPs we have in our network across the globe. Nothing changes with our second bounty. 

how to sell internet bandwidth

Overarching themes from feedback gathered from you:

Fix discrepancies as to how data is calculated between my.mysterium.network and our leaderboard on test net.

We will ensure that there will be a single source of truth by the beginning of March. This will be my.mysterium.network

Ensure fair distribution of traffic across all nodes within Mysterium Network

  • Filters and randomness
  • Removal of the list of nodes with the ability to favourite nodes within our MysteriumVPN on Android.

Our bounty proposal takes us much closer to real-world environments. We are considering several means of data balancing for nodes but this goes against the ideology of a permissionless network.

A consumer will choose nodes that provide stable service at an acceptable price for them.

This quarter, we will be focused on growing consumers within the network which will directly impact the volume of traffic flowing through Mysterium Network.

Create more whitelisting tools for node runners

Longer-term (not this quarter), we are working on advanced whitelisting solutions that will be an additional tool that allows providers to grow the volume of traffic they allow through their node. This will also make it much easier for consumers to find nodes providing the type of service they are looking for.

This is a huge technical challenge as users do not only browse one service at a given time. This will mean we need multi-hops between data center nodes which provide access to the wider internet. We will also need to ensure that only specific types of traffic are sent to Residential IPs.

Another consideration is to have multiple connections to providers so that they are able to browse freely without having to reconnect to nodes based on the specific service they are looking to unblock. This is a huger technical challenge – opening several VPN tunnels to different providers and balancing between them

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on how we aim to achieve this and the challenges we expect to face.

Provide stable and working Linux software and repositories. Or just remove this platform.

Our Linux node installed via Debian packages or compiled binary on your machine has proven to be the most stable platform for the Mysterium Node.

It seems our community is seeking docker support. There are technical limitations of supporting docker due to the complexity of it’s networking set up. It is possible to run Mysterium Nodes within docker containers. This will work if it is a node with a direct external IP – most likely a data center IP. If it’s a local network set up, our docker support is at beta stage and needs advanced configuration.

Some of you are using install scripts and running it on unsupported platforms. We are only supporting LTS of Ubuntu and Debian at this stage.

We are going to work on our documentation to help our community, but cannot guarantee that this will work with each unique configuration.

Changes of the bounty system need to stabilise as no one is currently able to cost-benefit.

We are currently running the Mysterium Node Pilot as a research and development initiative to understand network dynamics before we move to main net. This means expecting rapid changes.

We will be moving to main net in 2020, and once this happens Mysterium Network will become a peer to peer system. This will mean no more bounty rules and limitations of the number of nodes which are eligible for payouts. This is because in a peer to peer system, you will be paid directly by a consumer of your service. You will also be able to set pricing as you see fit.

We understand that the changes to bounty rules of the Mysterium Node Pilot can be frustrating. If this is the case, we urge you to stay tuned and join us when we’re on main net where you will be able to provide VPN service directly to a free market.

The above is not exhaustive, and all feedback has been shared with our internal teams to help us with prioritising feature updates. 

Addressing some repeating questions:

1. What is the MYSTT / gigabyte conversion?One gigabyte will earn you 0.07 MYSTT.
You will earn 0.0005 MYSTT / minute of each session your node accepts.
This is a default setting. In the future, Mysterium node runners will be able to fine-tune and set their own pricing.

2. Will you no longer be paying for any node runner availability?No. Calculation of availability is both difficult and not a real-life scenario. It was temporarily required as our payments system was not ready for testing yet. To reiterate, Mysterium Node Pilot is a Research and Development initiative. This means we are shaping bounty rules based on quickly evolving technology and hope you will stick around for the journey.

Thank you for your contribution to an open internet for all

You can find a detailed break down of both February and March Node Pilot bounty rules on my.mysterium.network. Wondering how to sell internet bandwidth? Start running a node today, and join us as we gear up towards our main net release.

The coronavirus cover-up: A closer look at internet censorship in China

I am writing this in transit between Helsinki and Vilnius. I’ve got a mask on, and it’s uncomfortable. But I shouldn’t complain – the mask itself was a godsend – given the nationwide shortage of masks, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes in Singapore. 

Corona virus vpn

My flight taking me from Singapore to Helsinki may as well have been a private jet for the number of people on board. One of the perks when travelling while the world is gearing up for a pandemic.

The coronavirus is quickly spreading through Asia, and onward into the US and Europe. 

do I need a VPN

What does this have to do with freedom of speech? And how does this answer the question “Do I need a VPN?”

Just about everything. 

Dr Li Wenling - the coronavirus whistleblower - is now dead.

I landed in Helsinki to the news of Dr Li Wenliang’s death. 

Dr Li was one of the first people who tried to issue the first warning about the coronavirus outbreak. 

On the 30th of December, he sent a message to fellow doctors in a medical-school alumni group. In this message, he warned his fellow medical practitioners that seven patients had been quarantined at Wuhan Central Hospital after coming down with a respiratory illness similar to the SARS coronavirus. 

Four days after this, he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau where he was coerced to sign a letter. This letter claimed that he was “making false comments”. 

According to the BBC, the letter he was told to sign read: 

“We solemnly warn you: if you keep being stubborn, with such impertinence, and continue this illegal activity, you will be brought to justice – is that understood?”. 

Dr Li contracted the coronavirus himself, after treating people who had it.

After contracting the virus, Dr Li continued to post to his Weibo account. “I was wondering why [the government’s] official notices were still saying there was no human to human transmissions, and there were no healthcare workers infected,” Dr Li wrote on January 31 from his hospital bed.

Officials in Wuhan initially played down the threat and censored information on the spread of the disease. “I think it would have been a lot better. There should be more openness and transparency”, Dr Li told the New York Times. Dr Li was one of the eight people arrested for speaking out on social media.

The death of Dr Li Wenliang is a heartbreaking moment for China and a neon sign pointing at the failure of Chinese leadership. 

The following are censorship instructions on how to deal with reporting on Dr Li’s death – issued to the media by the Chinese authorities. If you’re asking yourself the question, “Do I need a VPN?”, this is an indicator you should consider.

Do I need a VPN

The rapid-fire spread of the coronavirus in China, alongside with this sad event, is a clear example of how transparency and openness can save lives, while censorship can lead to global disaster. 

Keeping a deadly disease hidden from the public consciousness only lets it fester and spread silently. Censorship has fed this infection to pandemic proportions. 

The state of the internet in China

The internet first arrived in China as a tool for the emerging “socialist market economy”. In 1998 the Golden Shield project was created. The Golden Shield project was a database project which gave the Chinese government the power to not only access the records of each citizen but to delete any comments online that were considered harmful to the Chinese government. 

https://media.torproject.org/image/community-images/

The image above showcases a simplified topology of the great firewall of China.

In a white paper, released by the government of China, it clearly states that “within Chinese territory, the internet is under the jurisdiction of Chinese sovereignty. The internet sovereignty of China should be respected and protected”. Here’s a direct link to a copy of the whitepaper.

I call bullshit. And so do a growing number of “dissidents” of the Chinese government. 

Looks like the citizens of China are finally getting woke - after decades of attempted brainwashing.

Government agencies have weakened the check-and-balance function that true journalism brings. “The local government’s tolerance level of different online voices is way too low,” wrote Hu Xijin on his social media – editor of the Global Times, a nationalist and party-controlled outlet.

“The current system looks so vibrant, yet it’s shattered completely by a government crisis…We gave up our rights in exchange for protection, but what kind of protection is it? Where will our long-lasting political apathy lead us” – writes a user on Chinese social media. This post was shared over 7000 times and liked 27,000 times. Then it was deleted [censored].

Zhang Ouya, a senior reporter at the state-run Hubei Daily wrote that “For Wuhan, please change the leadership immediately” – on his verified Weibo account. This post was shortly deleted, but not before a screenshot was circulated widely. This was followed by a leaked official document where the newspaper apologised to Wuhan officials with a promise that its staff would only post positive content. Only positive content – with a growing death count in China. 🙄🙄🙄

This outbreak is not only a national crisis – it’s a global health crisis with epic repercussions. On China Central Television, the state broadcaster shows a banquet held by leadership to celebrate the country’s successes. 

“Chinese social media are full of anger, not because there was no censorship on this topic, but despite strong censorship, it is still possible that the censorship will suddenly increase again, as part of an effort to control the narrative,” said Xiao Qiang, a research scientist at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. Critics are finding new ways to dodge censors, referring to Xi Jingping, China’s top leader as “Trump” and/or comparing the coronavirus outbreak to the Chernobyl catastrophe. 

This week, police in the port city of Tianjin detained a man for 10 days for “maliciously publishing aggressive, insulting speech against medical personnel”. He had been critical of the response to the coronavirus outbreak in a WeChat group he shared with his friends.

China’s online censorship system, unaffectionately known as the Great Firewall, is also censoring any information the Chinese government deems a rumour.

What is classified as a rumour?

  • Posts of families with infected members seeking help
  • Posts by people living in quarantined cities documenting their daily lives
  • Posts criticising the way the Chinese government is handling this outbreak

The Chinese government has even announced that anyone attempting to disrupt social order by posting information with sources that are not from state-run media, will face three to seven years in jail. What the actual …fudge.

This censorship is not just a problem for Chinese citizens. It affects us all.

The World Health Organisation has declared a global health emergency. As the coronavirus spreads it becomes clear that one governments’ actions can have a global impact. 

A choke-hold on transparency, openness and the free flow of information does not just affect the country being censored. This is one of the reasons we must take a global stance against internet censorship as more and more countries draw borders around the flow of information.

China may be one of the worst offenders but it’s not alone. Still asking yourself “Do I need a VPN?” 😭

The internet as a means for openness and transparency

This is a very personal cause for me. I grew up in a country where freedom of speech wasn’t a given. The soft power that countries with authoritarian and totalitarian governments have increasingly global impact at the speed at which globalisation is moving. 

This is one of the many reasons I wake up every day to work on Mysterium Network. You can’t put a price on the work that our community is doing to ensure an open internet for all. It’s not just so you can stream shows you like, it could save lives, prevent pandemics and overthrow totalitarian governments. 

Mysterium網絡 is building a permissionless and distributed virtual private network. Mysterium Network will allow end-users in heavily censored regions access to the open internet.

Our network is for the people, by the people. What do we mean by that? Most nodes in our network [nodes provide IPs that open up the internet for end-users using MysteriumVPN] are residential IPs, meaning they are run in the homes by our community of hacktivists across the globe.

Join us on our mission to open the internet for all. Run a node.

In a region with internet censorship? Give MysteriumVPN a whirl – it’s free while we’re in the testing phase.