VCs Back Blockchain-based Startup Orchid Labs to Create Internet Free from Surveillance and Censorship

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by Andy Watson · 3 min read
VCs Back Blockchain-based Startup Orchid Labs to Create Internet Free from Surveillance and Censorship
Photo: Orchid / Twitter

While we have been discussing for years about the idea of the Internet that is completely free from surveillance and censorship, Orchid Labs aims to achieve this using blockchain technology.

San Francisco-based startup Orchid Labs is currently working on a project that could re-define the way we use the Internet in the future. The team working at Orchid Labs says that they have successfully developed a blockchain-based protocol which would allow users to access the internet free of any sort of restrictions, surveillance and censorship.

As per Steve Bell, one of the co-founders of Orchid Labs, this idea for such a project stuck him during his stay in China. As it based on the blockchain technology, Orchid Labs aims at building a decentralised network that would operate by using Orchid’s software on computers. As the entire network exists by the virtue of its multiple users, it can’t be shutdown by any single person or the government.  

Orchid Labs is backed by some of the highly renowned investors from the industry, which includes Sequoia Capital, who have pledged a total of $4.7 million for the project. Matt Huang, Sequoia partner says “I think a free Internet is a really important thing for society and they’re solving it in a very elegant way through technology. This type of network is, to us, one of the most exciting first applications of the blockchain computational sharing economies.”

Another co-founder of Orchid Labs, Steve Waterhouse said: “This is about anti-surveillance and anti-censorship, the ability to not be tracked. We see this not just in China or the Middle East, but in this country, in states that are considered to be free. If you go back in history, there was a lot more concern about privacy on the internet before Facebook.” 

“Orchid is building what could become the most resilient and reliable tool humanity has to ensure content on the Internet remains accessible globally,” said Olaf Carson-Wee, Founder of Polychain Capital.

How Orchid Project Works? 

The major idea behind the Orchid Project is to incentivise people for sharing their unused bandwidth and to share it with others, especially in place of restrictions, in exchange for payment through Orchid’s Ethereum-based tokens. Orchid believes that its network will be a better option over Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Tor which have become quite difficult to access in places like China.

One of the major differentiating factors wherein Orchid differentiates itself from other decentralised internet attempts. Orchid would offer its own software for routing or exiting nodes from the network without any sort of alteration within the underlying infrastructure.

Users will be able to use the internet in a similar way as the do today. In exchange of the orchid tokens (CHI) users can use the Orchid network nodes for protecting their information from ISPs (Internet Service Providers). 

On the other hand, users also can dedicate their available bandwidth and earn tokens for running a node on the network. When such users want to hide the search activities on the internet they can also do this in exchange for these tokens.

The Orchid Project is most likely to go live by next year once its network and tokens will be made available to the public through a public sale.

Blockchain News, News
Andy Watson
Author Andy Watson

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