Skyminer: A New Backbone for a New Internet.

Be your own ISP. Earn Skycoin.

Meet Skyminer, a revolutionary device built to power the Sky platform and ecosystem. More than just a cryptocurrency miner, Skyminer is the backbone of the Sky ecosystem and a tool in the fight for internet freedom. When you run a Skyminer you provide the computing power, networking resources and storage capacity necessary for Skywire to function. Its straightforward setup instructions allow you to begin earning Skycoin and Coin Hours as soon as it is running. Skyminer brings back control to regular users, allowing anyone to participate by securing the Skywire network in an affordable and environmentally sustainable way.

The Problem with Mining

Cryptocurrency mining began a decade ago, starting out as an industry where anyone could participate by using their home computer. As crypto grew in popularity and more computing power became necessary, CPUs gave way to GPUs which were then replaced by application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). Today, a financially viable mining operation may require a room full of dedicated equipment. A few large players with warehouses full of miners control vast chunks of their respective blockchain networks. This leads to centralization concerns and the risk of mining pools colluding to commit 51% attacks on the respective network that they are mining. Large scale mining operations and ASIC manufacturers also have a conflict of interest when it comes to promoting or discouraging forks that interfere with their mining protocol, as need to ensure that the hardware they’ve invested in stays relevant and profitable.

Holding the Sky Up

Skyminer serves as a set of nodes on a next generation network built on a protocol designed to solve all the problems with legacy consensus algorithms. Skycoin uses its own distributed consensus algorithm called Obelisk, which was engineered by early contributors to the Bitcoin and Ethereum projects. While other common algorithms like Proof-of-Work (PoW) consume vast amounts of electricity to solve cryptographic problems, Obelisk relies on web-of-trust dynamics to maintain the integrity of the network. Each node in the network is given an influence score based on the number of nodes it’s connected to and the density of its connections. This influence score is used to make network decisions. The result is a robust network which is more resilient to centralization and 51% attacks than other networks. Obelisk is more than just an alternative to Proof-of-Stake and Proof-of-Work, it renders them obsolete.

World Wide Web Woes

The internet itself suffers from ISP centralization, net neutrality violations, and censorship. Most of the developing world still suffers from lack of access to fast and reliable internet. Large ISPs serve as expensive access points that set rules which limit the bandwidth that users utilize and, in some cases, what uses can access. The developed world is more connected, but as usage of new technologies like autonomous vehicles, internet-of-things (IoT) and mobile augmented reality grow, so does consumption of bandwidth and the demand for quality of service. Centralized ISPs act as bottlenecks where data can be snooped and censored, service quality suffers, and deals can be cut favoring the bandwidth of large tech giants in violation of net neutrality. This was not the original vision for the internet, and Skyminer is the next evolution that aims to bring the internet to a freer, more decentralized, uncensored state.

From Connecting to the Internet to Becoming the Internet

Skyminer works as a hardware virtual private network, connecting through the current internet to provide Skycoin’s services via Skywire. The hardware consists of 8 Orange Pi computing boards, each with 100mb of bandwidth. For security, each Pi can provide its services in isolation so that if one is compromised it won’t affect the services of the others. By lending your excess and unused bandwidth, you’ll serve as one of the access points to a decentralized network. Skywire will bring about net neutrality and uncensored content sharing.

In addition, Skycoin has upgraded the communication protocol of the legacy internet. Currently, the internet uses Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP), a forty-year-old technology that is unsuitable for a large scale peer-to-peer mesh network deployment. Our answer to TCP/IP is Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) which delivers high scalability and speed with minimal data loss and low latency. MPLS means better performance for video calling, gaming, and file sharing with end-to-end encryption. The transition to a new internet will happen gradually as more nodes are activated and users begin connecting their internet devices to Skyminers. We are currently developing a short-range FCC-compliant antenna with a five kilometer range, and a long-range antenna that will let sparsely-populated communities to connect to a Skyminer up to fifteen kilometers away.

The Hardware — the current generation of Skyminer consists of:

• 8 CPU boards (Orange Pi Prime)
• 2 GB of RAM per board
• 4 CPU cores per board
• 32–256 GB of storage per board
• 64-bit Linux (Alpine Linux)
• Gigabit ethernet, 8+1 port switch

Skyminer comes as a kit with instructions provided for assembly and manual connection to Skywire. Skycoin is a platform with open-source roots and we keep our hardware open as well. Anyone can use our parts list to build their own custom nodes. Non-technical users can look forward to a future release of a true plug-and-play system.

Challenges Ahead

Following the Skywire testnet phases and limited initial release of Skyminers, we’re increasing our manufacturing capacity to meet our goal of producing 10,000 units per week in 2019. A number of hardware upgrades are planned for subsequent generations of Skyminers, including an LCD screen for displaying network information. Future generations of Skyminer will feature multi-terabyte storage arrays and specialized FPGA chips for fast decryption of high-volume traffic. We’re working hard with our suppliers in order to optimize our hardware while keeping it affordable and accessible for all.

Are You Ready to Hold Up the Skycoin Network?

Like Atlas, the Greek Titan tasked with holding up the celestial body, you can do your part to hold up the Skycoin network. By operating a Skyminer, you’ll be providing access to the new decentralized internet and can earn Skycoin and Coin Hours.

Click here to learn more about the Skyminer hardware, view the gallery, and join the waiting list to receive your own official Skyminer.

[Total: 4 Average: 5]
Show More

Related Articles

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *