Skycoin – Need for Skywire

Skywire
SKYWIRE
09.06.2018
FIVE REASONS FOR A NEW INTERNET
CHRISTIAN OTT
AUTHOR
Introduction
The Internet has been one of the most influential disruptive innovations in human history. It has revolutionized the way and speed people and companies can interact with each other all over the world and has therefore created a complete new economy. Apart from the early years where bandwidth was so slow, that you could only send mails or see only text-based websites, this revolution came along rather quickly after higher bandwidth througput became available. However, the current infrastructure behind the internet has some major flaws. From surveillance and censorship to low speed, unavailability and high costs, the internet’s infrastructure offers room for optimization. The Skycoin project wants to solve these problems with their flagship project Skywire. In the following, I will describe five problems of the current internet in detail and will explain, how Skywire aims to solve them.

1. Surveillance
The first and most oppressive problem is that the internet in its current form can be used for mass surveillance. Each of a user’s website visits can be connected to his/her IP address. While this IP address on its own can hardly be used to identify users, a user’s internet service provider (ISP) can connect the tracked website visits to the personal data the user has transmitted to the ISP in the contract he or she signed with them. This enables ISPs to monitor users and create detailed personal profiles about them. Skywire aims to prevent surveillance in two ways: First, Skywire promises to encrypt traffic, so that website visits cannot be tracked.1 Second, users don’t have to sign a contract that includes personal data with a company to access Skywire, because the access to Skywire is paid with either Coin Hours or Skycoin,2 meaning that personal data cannot be combined with website visits.
INFORMATIONTRACKED BY ISPWEB VISITSPERSONALLOCATION
PRIVATEREASONS FOR SKYWIRE BEINGNO CONTRACTENCRYPTEDPAYMENTS
2. Censorship
The second core problem of the internet’s infrastructure is, that it facilitates censorship. With internet service providing being a monopoly in several countries or ISPs cooperating with governments or other influential actors, censorship is fairly easy to establish. It can take place either by deleting content or by redirecting users to a modified site, tricking them into thinking they access the website they wanted, but apparently, they are not. Skywire wants to deny centralized censorship by using decentralized internet service providing. Their vision is that a vast number of users all over the world become internet service prosumers, meaning they do not only consume internet services, but also provide other users with them, by hosting their own nodes which offer services or forward traffic to other nodes.3 Certain nodes can of course block or censor other nodes, but because of the decentralized nature of the Skywire network, a node can just use a different path via other nodes to access this blocked content.
CENSORSHIPCENTRALIZED HOSTING
CENSORSHIPDECENTRALIZED HOSTING
3. Low Speed
The infrastructure of the current internet also suffers from low speed. The underlying internet protocol routing is not the best solution available, because it lacks path control. Data is mostly transferred through a path that is longer than the shortest path available, which will reduce the speed of a transmission. Skywire targets to use an approach similar to multiprotocol label switching as their networking standard,4 which will be faster than the current internet, because packets are forwarded based on a predefined path, preventing unnecessary hops between nodes.5
ROUTINGHOT POTATO
ROUTINGMPLS
4. Unavailability
The internet is still not available to billions of people, mostly in Africa as well as in parts of Asia.6,7 This lack of availability is mostly cost-related. Laying cables to establish internet connections or improving the existing ones requires financial and human resources as well as permissions from authorities. To reduce these costs, Skywire nodes will be easy to deploy and the traffic between them will be transmitted wirelessly.8 For short ranges, users can use a router, transmission over longer ranges up to 3 miles can be achieved by antennas, that are plugged into a Skyminer.9,10

5. High costs
While prices for high-bandwidth in several first-world countries like in the USA or Germany are already high (but can be mostly compensated by a higher wage level), the internet can be not affordable at all in third-world countries, where costs for an internet connection can range from 20% up to over 100% of a person’s total income.11,12 Skywire solves this with affordable nodes. They are developing small nodes, that can be used to provide the Skywire network and have a one-time purchase cost of about 15 US Dollars, which the team might reduce to 3 US Dollars a piece in the future.13 This very low-cost internet providing will not only result in a growing network, but also in very low costs for consumers.

Wrap-up
As outlined in this article, there are five major flaws associated with the infrastructure of the current internet, that the Skycoin project wants to solve with their new decentralized internet Skywire. First of all, Skywire stands for encrypted access and anonymous payments which will ensure privacy of users. Second, its vision of decentralized hosting will prevent centralized censorship. Third, the new underlying protocol MPLS will enable faster transmissions of data. Fourth, availability of Skywire can be achieved by an easy deployment of nodes and the high range of antennas. Fifth, costs for Skywire nodes will be significantly lower than the costs for accessing the internet currently.

Having the vision to solve all these problems of the infrastructure behind the current internet is ambitious, because it will require many internet service prosumers to run this decentralized mesh network. However, with blockchain and the Skycoin project’s desired long-term distribution of their currency Skycoin, it is possible to incentivize users for hosting nodes by paying them in Skycoin for providing bandwidth.14 Alongside its other goals, this monetary incentivization could give Skycoin the edge over previous mesh networks, which have failed because they could never reach wide adoption. However, with the need of mass hardware production and deployment to get the network going and more resources being used to build applications on top of it, Skywire’s success will be determined over the long-run. The general framework for a better internet will be provided by Skycoin’s team, so it will be mainly up to the users to recognize the flaws behind the current internet and adopt Skywire as the better infrastructure for their future world-wide network.
Sources
1
“With Skywire, your anonymity and the right to your data is guaranteed. Since Skywire is encrypted end-to-end at the packet level, you will never have to worry about monetization or interception and exposure of data.”
Skycoin; Medium; Skywire, The New Internet for the New World; 11.04.2018
2
“Skywire will cost pennies on the dollar compared to current methods of getting bandwidth, without any type of locked-in contract commitment. The rate you pay will never spike, as it will remain tied to the amount of bandwidth you need and consume. In fact, with the Coin Hours mechanism of the Skycoin platform, you may never have to pay a single cent out of pocket for access to the network.”
Skycoin; Medium; Skywire, The New Internet for the New World; 11.04.2018
3
“Skywire is composed of thousands of interconnected hardware nodes, set up by everyday people around the world. These nodes are called Skyminers. These nodes link together to encrypt and trasmit internet traffic across borders and around the world, quickly, efficiently and privately.”
Skycoin; YouTube; Channel of Skycoin; 29.05.2018
4
“The Skywire communication protocol uses Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS), rather than TCP/IP, to enable highly-scalable and high-performance transport of any data across any medium.”
Skycoin; Medium; Skywire, The New Internet for the New World; 11.04.2018
5
“IP routing lacks flexibility, path control and has some performance issues. Some of the issues with IP routing can be resolved in a pure MPLS network infrastructure. MPLS is more flexible, traffic engineering is easier to implement and packets are forwarded on a predefined path, based on the assigned label to the packet.”
Cisco; YouTube; Introduction to Segment Routing; 23.11.2016
6
“In 2017, we will pass a significant threshold: 50% of the world will be online. This milestone will mark the first time the scales have been tipped toward more people connected than not, and speaks to the impressive growth of the internet — just ten years ago, barely over 20% of the world’s population was online. But for the other half of the world that remains offline — mostly women in developing countries — this means being left even further behind as the digital revolution steams ahead.”
A4AI; Official Website; 2017 Affordability Report; February 2017
7
“The fact that nearly 4 billion people globally remain offline and that the internet is only accessible to 40% of people in low- and middle-income countries is testament to the challenge of connectivity for all. The ability to go online via one’s mobile device or at home is one currently enjoyed by less than half of the global population, and getting online where and when convenient is not an easy task for many in under-served or impoverished communities.”
A4AI; Official Website; 2017 Affordability Report; February 2017
8
“When fully deployed, Skywire provides direct access to the Internet backbone. In order to achieve this, Skywire must provide: Short-range connectivity between nodes in densely populated regions; Long-range wireless connectivity in sparsely populated regions; Backhaul connections to the fiber backbone”
Skycoin; Business Whitepaper v1.0; Application ecosystem; 02.04.2018
9
“its mostly less than 3 or 5 km for most links; 50 km and 500 mbit/second links are expensive; 150 mbit/second and soon 500 mbit /second over 1 to 3 km is doable; with 35 Db gain highly directional antennas; and can be done cheaply”
Synth; Telegram; Skycoin Main Channel; 01.02.2018
10
“for 50 km you need a huge dish; atleast 30 cm; right now we are doing the 10 or 12 cm dishes; so people can put them on the roof and start playing with it”
Synth; Telegram; Skycoin Main Channel; 24.03.2018
11
“Sky-high connectivity costs remain one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the universal access pledge. To buy just 1GB of data in Africa, for example, costs an average citizen nearly 18% of their monthly income. Though broadband prices continue to fall, they simply aren’t dropping fast enough. Meanwhile, high and growing income inequality in many countries conspires to ensure that only the relatively rich can afford a private internet subscription, and public access solutions remain few and far between. A majority of countries are failing to take the action needed to drive prices down and enable access for all.”
A4AI; Official Website; 2017 Affordability Report; February 2017
12
“Without strong competition, [broadband] providers can (and do) raise prices, delay investments, and provide sub-par quality of service. When faced with limited or nonexistent alternatives, consumers lack negotiating power and are forced to rely on whatever options are available. In these situations, the role of good public policy can and should be to foster competition and increase consumer choice.”
Barack Obama; 14.01.2015
13
“This is the smallest Skywire node. It is just a USB stick, it has Wifi, it costs like 15 dollars … This will be three dollars in two years.”
Synth; YouTube; Koreanjewtrading interviewing Synth; 25.04.2018
14
“As a node, you are paid for the resources you provide to the network.”
Skycoin; YouTube; What is the Skywire Decentralized Internet? A Skywire Primer; 29.05.2018

Skycoin – Skywire Node Statistics

SKYWIRE STATS
03.06.2018
LOCATION OF THE SKYWIRE NODES
CHRISTIAN OTT
AUTHOR
The testnet for Skywire has been officially launched on the 22nd of May. From that point on until the 31st of May, early participants of the Skywire network could submit a document with the specification of their miner to be eligible to receive rewards. Receiving rewards also means your miner has to stay online the most of the time, since higher availability might result in higher rewards. Since we passed the 31st of May and therefore most miners should be fully configured to submit the reward applications, I assume that we have an adequate sample of nodes in the network online. Therefore, I made a snapshot of all miners that were online on June 1st and ended up with a sample size of 3936 nodes. Each of these nodes comes along with a node key, an app key and a location. Since node key and app key are both unique per node, I used the location data to process it statistically. The information I got from that is displayed in these four infographics:
1 NODE35 NODES307 NODES932 NODES1318 NODES1343 NODESNORTH AMERICAEUROPEASIAAUSTRALASIAAFRICASOUTH AMERICACONTINENTS RANKED BY NODES
REMAINDER1111 NODES172 NODES234 NODES244 NODES299 NODES720 NODES1156 NODESUSACHINAAUSTRALIANETHERLANDSGERMANYCANADACOUNTRIES RANKED BY NODES
Wrap-up
Extracting the location from about 4000 nodes delivers some interesting insights. We saw, that the majority of nodes is based in the US, China and Western Europe. Nodes can be found in a total of 50 countries, although the six countries with the most nodes equal 75% of all nodes in the network. When you consider the relatively high node density in certain regions like Shanghai (399 nodes), California (316 nodes) or Provincie Gelderland (80 nodes) in comparison to other regions or countries, that do not feature a single node (Turkey, Poland or whole South America), we can conclude that there are local network effects that make the network grow. I can’t tell if this is coming from people who motivate their friends to build miners or people build them on their own and place them in various residences, but local network effects seem to be existing. Furthermore, the regions with the most nodes right now might also be the ones that grow the quickest, if there are already enough people at this point to spread the word about Skycoin. Overall speaking, I think 4000 nodes are a good number to perform a first statistical look at the location of the nodes in the network and it is also a great number for the Skycoin project, meaning they could motivate their userbase to run about 4000 nodes all around the world after the first week of the official Skywire testnet.

Skycoin Infographic Ecosystem 05

SKY ECOSYSTEM
22.05.2018
SKYCOIN ECOSYSTEM IN ONE GRAPHIC
CHRISTIAN OTT
AUTHOR
Introduction
My newest infographic about Skycoin has a different look than the previous ones. I placed different types of displays in the middle of the picture, going from a smartphone and a tablet to a notebook alongside a big screen. The notebook shows the Skycoin logo on a blue background, while the other displays (except the smartphone) extend the picture on the notebook. The displays are surrounded by different icons. On the right side, you can find the icons associated with Skycoin and Skycoin Fiber. They are not placed seperately, because Fiber tokens use the same technology as Skycoin and therefore share some of the same functions. In the upper left corner, you can see icons associated with Skywire. All icons that are not directly associated with Skycoin were placed in the lower left corner of the picture. Check it out:
Wrap-up
This infographic is more diverse than the previous ones. The infographics I posted before had a clear structure and everything was aligned, while I tried a more ‘chaotic’ design approach this time. To my eyes, it makes the picture look more interesting and it is a type of graphic I haven’t seen used for Skycoin so far.

Infographics
I also made downloadable versions of the infographic displayed in this article, which you are more than welcome to share, to spread the word about Skycoin. Download them here:

Download
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High Quality – Width: 1920 Pixel
Very High Quality – Width: 3000 Pixel
Ultra High Quality – Width: 4000 Pixel

Skycoin Infographic Ecosystem 04

SKY ECOSYSTEM
21.05.2018
SKYCOIN ECOSYSTEM IN ONE GRAPHIC
CHRISTIAN OTT
AUTHOR
Introduction
I created a new infographic about Skycoin! This time, I experimented with displaying the different parts of the project in a circle. I divided the project in three core parts, where each of them was assigned one third of the space in the circle. The circle itself contains different layers. The white Skycoin logo on a blue background in the middle is the first layer. It is surrounded by a second layer, that contains images for the three parts Skycoin, Skywire and Fiber on a grey background. To outline, which part of the project is displayed in each part of the picture, I included a third layer with a description of the different parts. The fourth layer is on the outside. It contains several icons associated with the different parts of the project. Whereas I considered specific icons more important than others, I made them bigger. I also differentiated the colors per project. Icons describing Skywire are white on a darker blue background, icons associated with Fiber are in a dark blue on a lighter blue background and icons displaying Skycoin are held in blue on a grey background. Check it out:
SKYWIRESKYCOINFIBERFEES
Wrap-up
The above displayed infographic is multifaceted, yet easy to overview. Its three parts can be identified immediately because of clearly distinguishable colors. The three transparent icons in the middle add some style to the infographic. In general, the colors in the graphic range from black and white in the middle to a variety of colors on the outer layer. In opposite to that, the Skycoin logo is placed on a colorful blue background in the middle, which makes it the focal point of the picture.

Infographics
I also made downloadable versions of the infographic displayed in this article, which you are more than welcome to share, to spread the word about Skycoin. Download them here:

Download
Good Quality – Width: 1200 Pixel
High Quality – Width: 1920 Pixel
Very High Quality – Width: 3000 Pixel
Ultra High Quality – Width: 4000 Pixel

Pine64 Skyminer

We wanted to create a more compact version of the Skyminer, which should be equal in terms of computing power to the official Skyminers. The PINE64 clusterboard suited perfectly for that. We could use it as a basis for the miner and just plug seven modules into it, with each of them powered by a Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit Processor with 2G LPDDR3 RAM memory and an integrated MicroSD slot. Therefore, each module possesses the same computing power as the Orange Pi Primes used in the official Skyminer. However, in our miner there are just seven processors built-in, while eight are used in the official Skyminer. We also bought seven SanDisk Micro SD cards with 16 GB storage capacity, that were plugged into the modules. As a case, we chose the Chieftec IX-03B-OP, which fitted perfectly. As operating system, we used Armbian for SoPine64.
PINE64 SKYMINER
14.05.2018
BUILDING A SKYMINER WITH SOPINE MODULES
CHRISTIAN OTT
AUTHOR
CHRISTIAN’S FRIEND
MINER + SOFTWARE
EDOARDO COEN
3D PRINTABLE CASE
Introduction
Skywire is Skycoin’s vision of a new internet, which is private, fast and without censorship. During the testnet, which is fast approaching, Skywire will run on top of the current internet. After that test phase, the Skywire mainnet will be launched, which means that Skywire will run as an independent mesh network. To realize this vision, Skywire needs to run on top of a multitude of servers, spread all over the world. These servers can either be bought directly from the Skycoin Project, who aim to develop the best hardware possible for Skywire or they can be built by users themselves, who want to participate in the network. I chose the second option and created a so-called DIY Miner.

Official and DIY Miners
The first generation of Skyminers, that were built by the Skycoin Project, contain eight Orange Pi Primes.1 In the first batch of production, only 300 Skyminers were built,2 due to bottlenecks in the production process.3 The demand is certainly higher, by the end of March already 4000 people have registered in the official mailing list to purchase a Skyminer.4 Fortunately, you can participate in the Skywire network with your own custom-built Miner.5 However, there is a manual whitelisting process for DIY miners, if you want to be eligible for rewards.6,7 The only requirement for the DIY miners seems to be, that they need to use solely 64 bit processors, since this is a core requirement of Skywire’s underlying programming language Golang.8

Pine64 Miner with Sopine Modules
So, since I registered way too late in the official mailing list, I sat together with a friend and we decided to create a DIY miner. We wanted to create a more compact version of the Skyminer, which should be equal in terms of computing power to the official Skyminers. The PINE64 clusterboard suited perfectly for that.9 We could use it as a basis for the miner and just plug seven modules into it, with each of them powered by a Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit Processor with 2G LPDDR3 RAM memory and an integrated MicroSD slot.10 Therefore, each module possesses the same computing power as the Orange Pi Primes used in the official Skyminer.11 However, in our miner there are just seven processors built-in, while eight are used in the official Skyminer. We also bought seven SanDisk Micro SD cards with 16 GB storage capacity, that were plugged into the modules. As a case, we chose the Chieftec IX-03B-OP, which fitted perfectly. As operating system, we used Armbian for SoPine64. If you are looking for pre-configured images for the Pine64 Skyminer, Skyguy from skywug.net has something for you. With just a size of 22.0cm x 19.7cm x 6.3cm,12 we created a very compact custom Skyminer. Take a look:
3D Printable Case
A few weeks after the first release of this article, Edoardo started with the build of a 3d printable case for the Pine64 miner. At first, he measured the clusterboard and combined that information with a general scheme of a Mini-ITX motherboard. Then he made a few test prints, until he had found the perfect size for the case. As material, he chose high temperature plastic, that can endure temperatures up to 80 degrees Celsius alongside 4 woodscrews. Since the case and the hardware itself should be able to endure high temperatures, he didn’t include a fan. Speaking about the design, Edoardo included the Skycoin logo and the term ‘Skyminer’, written with the Skycoin font, on top of the case. Since each SoPine module on the clusterboard itself signals its execution for the outside world through constant blinking, he placed the numbers 1-7 directly above the blinking indicators to make it visible from outside the case, if everything is running correctly. And that’s about it! The final result is an absolute beautifully designed case! If you want to print the case yourself, just download the source file on Thingiverse. Take a look at a picture of the case below, you can also find a video about it on YouTube:
Wrap-up
With thousands of people in the official waiting list for purchasing an official Skyminer, we realized it would take months until we were eligible to buy an official one. Since we wanted to participate in the Skywire testnet, it was necessary for us to build a custom miner. After looking at the specification of the official first-gen Skyminer, we went on to build a more compact one with the use of Sopine modules on top of a Pine64 clusterboard. Except for one node less, our miner contains the same computing power than the official Skyminer and can therefore definitely compete with other nodes in the network.

Parts List
1x
Pine64 CLUSTERBOARD With 7 SOPine Compute Module Slots
Mainboard, ~100$
7x
SOPINE A64 compute modules
Modules, ~29$ (each)
7x
SanDisk Ultra 16GB microSDHC
Storage, ~12$ (each)
1x
Chieftec IX-03B-OP
Case, ~40$
1x
Ethernet LAN Cable
Cable, ~10$
1x
Clusterboard Power Supply (depends on your region)
Cable, ~16$
1x
Armbian for SoPine64
Operating System, free
Sources – Official Skyminer
1
“Yes. Actually 8. And they are orange pis. They are 64 bit processors, not 32 bit like raspberry pi.”
Synth; Telegram; Skycoin main channel; 10.07.2017
2
“Shipping schedule: – 50 miners are available for shipping immediately- 250 miners should be available by the 2nd week of February.”
Steve Leonard; Telegram; Skycoin main channel; 10.01.2018
3
“We are trying to launch the Skycoin Skywire miner, which is the hardware platform for doing this decentralized internet. We are trying to ship the first units within a month. We have a supplier and we want three thousand CPUs, but they only have one thousand CPUs so we have to wait three weeks for the factory to produce more. So we are dealing with supply chain and how do we ship it and things like will customs reject it because they are electronics.”
Synth; YouTube; Coin Interview with Skycoin; 30.10.2017
4
“we are past 4000 people on the skyminer mailing list”
Steve Leonard; Telegram; Skycoin main channel; 27.03.2018
Sources – DIY Miner
5
“While Official Skyminers will be on the whitelist by default (upon submission and receipt of their public keys), DIY Skyminers will be allowed to join the whitelist based on the benchmark set by the Official Skyminer’s hardware configuration. DIY Skyminers will be required to provide detailed specifications and photos, submitted to the corresponding team for review. Qualified DIY Skyminers will be added into the testnet whitelist.”
Skycoin; Official Blog; Skywire Testnet FAQ; 05.04.2018
6
“Note that any computer can become a node on the network, however, only whitelisted Skyminers (all Official and selected DIY) will be participating in the economic model testing program, and eligible for rewards.”
Skycoin; Official Blog; Skywire Testnet FAQ; 05.04.2018
7
“the purpose of the whitelist is to stop 3000 nodes from joining the network before we have scaled up the backend and testing it”
Synth; Telegram; Skycoin main channel; 17.02.2018
8
“its not just orange pi, but is orange pi prime; but yes you can build your own cluster and for technical users we will register theri public keys etc for the test net – it has to be 64 bit processors that can run 64 bit linux because golang garbage collector does not work well on 32 bit”
Synth; Telegram; Skycoin main channel; 15.10.2017
Sources – SOPINE Miner
9
“The PINE64 clusterboard can host up to 7 SOPINE A64 compute modules, expanding its functionality as a fully featured cluster server. The clusterboard has and inbuilt 8 Gigabit Ethernet port unmanaged switch.”
PINE64; Official Website; CLUSTERBOARD With 7 SOPine Compute Module Slots; 31.01.2018
10
“SOPINE A64 is a compute module powered by the same powerful Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit Processor used in the PINE A64 with 2G LPDDR3 RAM memory, Power Management Unit, SPI Flash and integrated MicroSD Slot (for bootable OS images microSD card). SoPine module has 5 years LTS (Long term Supply) Longevity: committed supply at least until March 2022. There is one year warranty period for SoPine Module.”
PINE64; Official Website; SOPINE; 08.04.2018
11
“CPU | H5 Quad-core Cortex-A53 – Memory (SDRAM) | 2GB DDR3 (shared with GPU)”
Orange Pi; Official Website; Orange Pi Prime; 08.04.2017
12
“Dimension (DxWxH): 220mm x 197mm x 63mm”
Chieftec; Official Website; IX-03B-OP; 08.04.2017
Updated Version
This article was originally published on 10th of April, 2018. In this update, I inserted the description of Edoardo’s case as well as a picture of it. If you want to read the original version of the article, you can find it here: Pine64 Skyminer

Skycoin Infographic Ecosystem 03

SKY ECOSYSTEM
09.05.2018
SKYCOIN ECOSYSTEM IN ONE GRAPHIC
CHRISTIAN OTT
AUTHOR
Introduction
The Skycoin team stated recently, that there is a lack of infographics floating around, so I decided to create some! This infographic therefore represents the first one in a series of new infographics about Skycoin, although it is already the third one I created about the Skycoin ecosystem. It divides the project in four different parts. Skycoin (the currency), Fiber (the platform), Skywire (the new internet) and Skycoin (the ecosystem). Three icons were assigned to each of the different parts. The currency Skycoin was associated with zero fees, Coin Hours and the hardware wallet. The platform Fiber is described by the blockchain (blockchain provider), custom (customizable) and 300+ TPS (transactions per second). The three icons assigned to Skywire are nodes, privacy and antennas. In addition to these three core parts I also wanted to outline, that Skycoin is not only a platform, but also develops applications. That’s why I assigned the three icons exchange, apps and games to the ecosystem Skycoin:
COIN HOURSWALLETFEESSKYCOINCURRENCYSKYWIREINTERNETPRIVACYNODESANTENNASSKYCOINECOSYSTEMGAMESEXCHANGEAPPSCUSTOMBLOCKCHAIN300+ TPSFIBERPLATFORM
Wrap-up
In my opinion, the result is visually appealing. All elements are in-line and the color scheme is consistent. Overall speaking, it has a great modern design and shows all relevant aspects of the project in a compact manner, which makes it my favorite infographic this far.

Infographics
I also made downloadable versions of the infographic displayed in this article, which you are more than welcome to share, to spread the word about Skycoin. Download them here:

Download
Good Quality – Width: 1200 Pixel
High Quality – Width: 1920 Pixel
Very High Quality – Width: 3000 Pixel
Ultra High Quality – Width: 4000 Pixel

Skycoin – Skywire VPN

SKYWIRE VPN
01.05.2018
VISIT THE WEB ANONYMOUSLY
CHRISTIAN OTT
AUTHOR
Introduction
Back in February we created the Pine64 miner, who has witnessed great interest among the Skycoin community ever since.1 However, when we set everything up back then, it was not possible to connect the miner to a network after we installed the Skywire software. That has changed a few weeks ago, when we could connect our miner to a network for the first time. I was not sure, if this is a beta testnet prior to the ‘real’ testnet, but it seems like this is indeed the long awaited testnet of Skywire.2 Since the start of the network, an increasing number of nodes went online and connected to the two discovery addresses. During the last few days, there was a total of about 600-700 nodes online. While this network is still in a very early stage, one function that is already available is the possibility to gain access to the internet via VPN using other nodes in the network.

Skywire VPN for Providers
In case you want to participate in the Skywire network, you need to connect a node to the network. You either need an official Skyminer or a so-called DIY miner, that can be plugged into the network. As soon as you have either one of those, have set up the operating system and the Skywire software on your node(s), you can connect to a discovery address. Currently, there are two discovery addresses working.3 In case the connection to the discovery address has been successful, your node(s) are now part of the Skywire network. As of right now, every node in the Skywire network can be used as a node to gain access to the internet. That means, that other nodes can connect to your node and use your node as a VPN.
AS PROVIDERSKYWIRE VPNUSERSINTERNETSKYMINER
Skywire VPN as a User
Your nodes do not only act as a provider of bandwidth, you can also use the VPN by yourself. The easiest way is probably to install the Firefox plugin Foxyproxy and add your node as a proxy in there.4 In the Foxyproxy menu, you need to go to “Add” and insert the IP address of one of your nodes. As a port, number 9443 was working for us. For encryption, choose SOCKS5. After that, you need to click save and then enable this proxy address in Foxyproxy for all URLs. Then you need to head over to the Skywire manager and connect the node you want to use as a proxy to another node in the discovery list, that you want to use as a VPN.5 And voilà: When you are going back to Firefox, you are now accessing websites through the node you have connected to. You can quickly verify this by visiting myip.is with enabled Foxyproxy. The site should now no longer show your IP address, but the IP address of the node you connected to, which means your internet service provider can no longer track your online behavior.
AS USERSKYWIRE VPNINTERNETVIA VPNNODE CONNECTSTO OTHER NODEUSER TOFOXYPROXY
Wrap-up
Once you have set up your Skywire node with an official Skyminer or a DIY miner and connected the nodes to a discovery address, you are now available as a bandwidth provider to other nodes in the network. Every node in the network has the possibility to connect to your node and use it as a VPN. Consequently, it is also possible for you to connect to every other node in the network and use it as a VPN. Right now, there are about 600 nodes online, but when you consider the 300 miners being shipped with each containing 8 nodes as well as the growing number of DIY miners, we might see 3000 nodes very soon, which will give every user in the network numerous possibilities to stay anonymous online.
Sources
1
“After looking at the specification of the official first-gen Skyminer, we went on to build a more compact one with the use of Sopine modules on top of a Pine64 clusterboard.”
Christian Ott; Official Website; Pine64 Skyminer; 10.04.2018
2
“Testnet has already been running for months … No one announced it; it was supposed to be announced at the shanghai conference but was not announced because of marketing fail.”
Synth; Telegram; Skycoin main channel; 25.04.2018
3
I am not going to post the discovery addresses here, since they might be already outdated when you are reading this article. You can find them either in the Skywire telegram or on the Skywire Github page.
Christian Ott; 01.05.2018
4
“Use Firefox Browser – Install FoxyProxy Standard”
Skycoin/Skywire; Github; Readme.md; 12.04.2018
5
It can be a bit tricky to match the public key of your node(s) to the IP addresses of your nodes. As a quick solution, I noted the public keys and IP addresses of my nodes and unplugged one after the other to see, which IP address and public key disappeared and were therefore matching.
Christian Ott; 01.05.2018

Skycoin Infographic Ecosystem 02

SKY ECOSYSTEM
23.04.2018
SKYCOIN ECOSYSTEM IN ONE GRAPHIC
CHRISTIAN OTT
AUTHOR
Introduction
This approach to visualize the Skycoin ecosystem is different to the first infographic I created about Skycoin’s ecosystem. Instead of visualizing only the three core parts of the project, I wanted to include all important aspects of Skycoin. Therefore, I placed the Skycoin logo in the middle and identfied seven core parts of the project with Skycoin, Coin Hours, Skywire, CX, Fiber, Applications and Hardware. I placed these seven parts in an ellipse around the logo and labeled them with their functions:
LanguageCXPlatformCurrencyAppsHardwareCoin HoursInternetSKYCOIN
Wrap-up
This graphic is a nice alternative to the first infographic. I decided to rather include the functions of the different parts of the project than the names of it (e.g. Platform instead of Fiber), to display the overall scope of the project for people new to the project. It shows, that Skycoin really is an ecosystem consisting of several elements.

Infographics
I also made downloadable versions of the infographic displayed in this article, which you are more than welcome to share, to spread the word about Skycoin. Download them here:

Download
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Skycoin Infographic Ecosystem 01

SKY ECOSYSTEM
23.04.2018
SKYCOIN ECOSYSTEM IN ONE GRAPHIC
CHRISTIAN OTT
AUTHOR
Introduction
The scope of the Skycoin project is enormous. The team behind it aims to develop an ecosystem of hardware, platforms and applications. Their motivation is to find applications, that are popular among consumers and also to identify use cases for blockchain. However, in a market where most cryptocurrency projects focus on the development of just one application, Skycoin can seem overwhelming to newcomers, who just found out about the project. Moreover, it is hard to grasp all the different parts of the project and the connections between them. This is why I decided to develop graphics, that show the complete scope of the Skycoin project.

Three different parts
Keeping it simple, the first graphic only contains the, in my opinion, three most important parts of the project. The starting piece is Skycoin, the cryptocurrency. By the way, it can be a bit confusing that Skycoin is the name of the cryptocurrency as well as the name of the project. That is why I wrote Skycoin in capital letters in the graphic. Alongside the cryptocurrency, the two other parts are the blockchain platform Fiber, that can be used as an underlying layer by applications and the independent mesh network Skywire, which is basically a new internet. Here we go:
SkywireFiberSKYCOIN
Going into detail
While these three parts are pivotal, the graphic itself is not self-explanatory. People new to the project will not know what Fiber is, or what the features of Skycoin as a cryptocurrency are. That is why I went more into detail with the second graphic. I added two attributes to the three core parts of the project, to underline what their purpose is. I also made the background of Skycoin softer, so that its edges are not as rough as in the first picture. You can see it below:
SkywireOpenAnonymousAppsFiberICOFastFees0SKYCOIN
Fine-tuning
However, some fine-tuning could still be done. First of all, I further modified the blue background of Skycoin and gave it the same shape as the Skycoin logo, which makes the picture look way more interesting. With the resulting additional space of that action, I added Coin Hours as a feature to Skycoin. Speaking about Skywire and Fiber, I placed both in the corners of their respective areas and inserted lines to outline the connection between them and their corresponding attributes. Take a look:
SkywireOpenAnonymousAppsFiberICOCoin HoursFastFees0SKYCOIN
Wrap-up
Visualizing the whole Skycoin project in one graphic is not an easy task. With my first three graphics, where the third is the most advanced one, I included just the three core parts of the projects, with Skycoin as cryptocurrency, Fiber as blockchain platform and Skywire as a new internet.

Infographics
I also made downloadable versions of the infographic displayed in this article, which you are more than welcome to share, to spread the word about Skycoin. Download them here:

Download
Good Quality – Width: 1200 Pixel
High Quality – Width: 1920 Pixel
Very High Quality – Width: 3000 Pixel
Ultra High Quality – Width: 4000 Pixel

Skycoin – Slideshow

SKYCOIN
Coin HoursFastFeesSkycoinis a next generationcryptocurrency.
AppsSkywireTransactionsIts parallel currencyCoin Hourshas different use cases:
Skycoin is buildingSkywire,a new internet.InternetSkywire
CustomizableBlockchainProviderExchangeListingSkycoin offers a blockchain platformFiber,that can be used by other applications.
Social MediaGamesMessengerSome of theseApplicationsaredeveloped by Skycoin itself.
AntennasSkyminerWalletThe backbone of this ecosystem is dedicatedHardware, produced by the Skycoin project.
PlatformCurrencyNew InternetAs a summary, Skycoin is an independentecosystem of next generation applications.