Orchid Labs Inc. has unveiled itself publicly today, along with the launch of the private alpha version of its Orchid Network accompanied by a whitepaper. The Orchid protocol is an open-source network intended to end internet surveillance and censorship, while protecting users’ personal data from being harvested by ISPs or other entities. Early in 2018, the blockchain-based Orchid network beta will launch to the public, enabling people across the world to freely communicate, collaborate, and access information.
According to Freedom House, two-thirds of all internet users live in countries where censorship and surveillance limit their ability to access information and communicate. For these individuals, a click or a share can mean imprisonment, or worse. And wherever you live, ISPs and VPNs are profiting from the sale of users’ most sensitive and private information.
Like many other dedicated people around the world, the founders of Orchid Labs are fighting to end these practices and bring an open and liberated internet to everyone in the world. The Orchid protocol is their contribution to this movement for internet freedom—meaning internet that can’t be controlled by corporations or governments and is open and accessible to all. The co-founders share more of their vision and the mission behind the open source technology project that contributes to this cause in the statement they published today.
Founding Team and Leadership
The Orchid founders, an established group of technologists, entrepreneurs, and blockchain experts, have been working in stealth since early 2017 to bring the technology to life. Collectively, the team has extensive expertise in security, networking, blockchain, and open-source software.
- Stephen Bell: Steve started companies in Europe, the U.S., and China before founding Trilogy VC China, where he spent 10 years backing Chinese seed stage startups.
- Brian J. Fox: Brian is an entrepreneur and open-source advocate, the first employee of the Free Software Foundation, and the author of the GNU Bash shell.
- Jay Freeman: Jay is a software engineer and the developer of the Cydia software distribution platform used on millions of jailbroken iOS devices.
- Gustav Simonsson: Gustav is an engineer and developer who helped launch Ethereum in 2015, working with core protocols, clients, and security auditing.
- Dr. Steven Waterhouse: Steven is an experienced investor and entrepreneur, having co-founded RPX Corp, led cryptocurrency projects at Fortress and Pantera Capital, and the Honeycomb product at Sun Microsystems.
An Internet with Encrypted, Decentralized Architecture, Incentivized on the Blockchain
Orchid is building a new, surveillance-free layer on top of the internet. It’s fully decentralized, meaning that rather than traffic being routed through central authorities—like a user’s ISP or VPN—it’s instead routed randomly through a network of nodes as bandwidth contributors sign up to share their surplus bandwidth. Users that want to access surveillance-free internet pay the bandwidth contributors in Orchid tokens in a free-market ecosystem. Orchid’s technology also ensures that central authorities can’t monitor traffic or payments, so it’s fully anonymous, for both the bandwidth consumer and the bandwidth contributor.
Advisors and Investors
To help provide counsel, Orchid Labs has enlisted a team of advisors with experience in cryptography and mission-driven projects. Orchid’s advisors include Gavin Wood, Founder & CTO at Parity Technologies; Dr. Dan Boneh, Professor and head of Cryptography at Stanford University’s Computer Science Department; and Alexander Lloyd, human rights advocate and Managing Director of Accelerator Ventures.
To support Orchid Labs and its mission, Orchid has raised a $4.7M seed SAFT (Simple Agreement for Future Tokens) from investors including Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz, DFJ, PolyChain Capital, Metastable, Blockchain Capital, Crunchfund, Struck Capital, Compound VC, European Investor Richard Muirhead, and several other funds and angel investors.
To learn more about Orchid Labs, read their whitepaper, or sign up for more information, visit orchidprotocol.com.
About Orchid Labs Inc.
Orchid Labs Inc. is an open-source project committed to ending surveillance and censorship on the internet. The Orchid protocol uses an overlay network built upon the existing internet, which is driven by a peer-to-peer tokenized bandwidth exchange, creating a more inclusive, liberated internet. Orchid Labs was founded in 2017 by Stephen Bell, Brian J. Fox, Gustav Simonsson, Dr. Steven Waterhouse, and Jay Freeman. Orchid Labs is headquartered in San Francisco, California.