Listen and Learn about Althea

While available on YouTube, this is an audio recording.


Cosmos
Price aware routing protocol

Transcript needs editing

it’s citizen cosmos we’re sergeant anna
and we discover cosmos by chatting with
awesome people from various teams within
the cosmos ecosystem and the community
join us if you are curious how dreams
and ambitions become
code yeah hey everyone it’s citizen
cosmos yet another
episode of our great podcast and today
we
have deborah simp here with us she’s the
co-founder and
ceo of althea shall i pronounce it
correctly sorry
which is basically a mesh network and
decentralized networking solution built
with the help of cosmos
sdk and i’m hoping she’s going to
correct me because i’ve probably said
everything wrong
so hey deborah hi thanks so much for
having me did i get it all wrong
well it’s always a lot of nuances
especially when we’re talking about
internet infrastructure
i’m so happy to kind of deep dive
into a little bit more about wealthia is
about and how we
interface with cosmos sure so maybe
you could start with just elaborating
what’s it all about the way you
feel like about it and the way how it’s
all interconnected just as you said
yeah so althea was born out of the need
um to basically fix the situation with
the internet right now right we have an
internet that is siloed
and sold in these sort of contracts
right you know instead of treating
bandwidth as a commodity as it should be
right so what happens is when you sell
like a subscription to access
the internet right you are the carriers
and sense of this to give you the
basically the worst possible service
they can
as long as they can still retain your
connection and in many cases
in fact it’s highly monopolized in the
u.s i think it’s something like 60
of the us is only has two choices to
connect to the internet so it’s
extremely monopolized
and in fact what that leads to is what
we see right now actually only 40
of the us does not access the internet
at broadband speeds
so there’s some really serious issues to
the way that the internet is displayed
currently
or sold currently the other sort of
issue that actually sort of led
me to working on this brought on althea
and actually anything to do with the
internet is
that it actually holds our core freedoms
right the the freedom to associate with
who we want to
the freedom of information all of these
kind of core
freedoms come down to especially in the
in the future of the internet
so i worked on kind of protecting those
freedoms from a legislative perspective
for a very long time
regulatory was very active in net
neutrality
legislation and from the kind of fcc
perspective
and realize at some point actually i
remember a very poignant moment when i
realized that this was not going to work
we were i was sitting in a working group
in my senator’s office
and we were talking about net neutrality
and it was this was like you know circa
2008 when it was really like
a big forefront issue and i said okay
well here’s what
the opposition is doing right they have
a very they have a three-fold plan
they’re going to attack this from a
legislative perspective and also from
the you know judicial branch and then i
said well what are we going to do
and let’s get our plan together they
said oh no no we’re going to react
we’re going to see what they do and then
maybe we’ll do something to react to it
and then at that moment i knew that
this was not a real in fact fights and
not
some way that we can protect what is so
essential to us
but i believe that real choices and real
democracy comes from actually
holding physical ownership of the
product so when we actually really
decentralize the physical
infrastructures when we can hold those
core freedoms
so zooming out a bit althea addresses
that
by instead of one isp owning all of the
physical infrastructure
all the towers all the fiber all the
cables that it allows people to
set up host antennas host infrastructure
get compensated automatically for that
and then set up the infrastructure of
the internet in a decentralized way
so that’s kind of our core pay for
forward innovation right so
point antennas at each other cable
connections set up a network
and then each person gets compensated uh
for upstream providers this also
for the bandwidth that’s that they’re
receiving or that they’re sending
and the other sort of function of that
too is that you can see
where it creates a bandwidth marketplace
right so other isps
can easily be and other entities that
have the excess bandwidth capacity can
easily participate in this marketplace
and sell their excess bandwidth
the other kind of core innovation that
we do is a price aware routing protocol
which is really exciting because now
that you have this sort of bandwidth
marketplace
we wanted to give the users choice about
what upstream connection they could have
right so
when you think about bandwidth as a
commodity it’s like going to the store
and buying you know your bananas you
should be able to choose
what kind of bananas you want right you
don’t have to buy a banana subscription
so on the althea dashboard there is a
cider bar on one side it’s
cost and the other side it’s quality and
so then on the second by second you can
choose which you would like your router
to prioritize for you
and if there’s time i have a little
story about how that actually works in
the real world which is pretty cool
wait wait wait wait i have some
questions to them wait wait wait i don’t
want to move on
she said so many things i wanna like
there’s so many questions to ask there
so before ana is probably gonna ask the
difficult questions
i’m gonna be the silly question guy
today so
the first thing that for anybody who’s
listening to us
and you know i mean mesh network words
themselves
have been sort of a buzzword right and
they’ve been a buzzword for a while now
to be honest not like even the past
year or two i would say well especially
in certain circles where people
like you said they care about their
values about freedoms and so on and so
forth
national artwork is mesh networking is a
little bit of a buzzword
now that you say all that i mean
wouldn’t it just be easier to
like narrow it down that a mesh network
is just a digital communication tool
where you’re in charge of who you
communicate with
and who can communicate with you is that
not like the easy way to say it
was that incorrect there’s a couple
different nuances to that i think
essentially it’s also infrastructure
like aqueducts right you know i mean we
can’t decide
how we water to route through
the the city we have to be respectful of
the sort of cooperative nature of that
infrastructure
so or if we were building roads or
if we you know we’re building sewer
systems or any kind of you know
basically you know like a municipal
utility we have to be cognizant of the
fact that it is
yes our own choice and a decentralized
infrastructure but there is a
cooperative nature to it
and one of the kind of interesting
things that we do with our technology is
we decouple that kind of customer
service and the coordination piece and
the management of the network
that really speaks to that cooperative
element of that
and those folks get like a um a set
monthly fee
as well this sort of compensates that
coordinative
coordination effort we call those folks
network operators and most often they’re
a business entity of some sort either
like a legal cooperative non-profit
or small business or llc in the u.s i
think it’s important to acknowledge
that piece of it as well and that is
also too how people are used to
perceiving and interacting in the ux of
the isp or the internet is through an
entity
so i think it’s important to acknowledge
that if we would like to get adoption or
really change
how the internet is in from a global
perspective
that is a key function of it yeah that
makes sense i guess yeah i just uh
want to understand a little bit more
about how the
system works because i think it’s for
that of us who are not so familiar about
how it works could you highlight a
little bit to your
what you communicate in technical field
with
internet providers and how all the
system works
so if i’m understanding correctly you’re
asking maybe more of a business case
is that right kind of the zoomed out
business part of it
i think more about technical part just
let’s imagine that
i want to use the technology and i want
to understand
what is the differences yeah between
using
that you gonna give me yeah and
their traditional internet provider yeah
that’s a great question
so i think in order to kind of
understand that i’d like to zoom out a
little bit into how the internet
actually
you know is connected right now right so
the internet we can think of as a series
of tubes that’s an analogy that’s used
quite a bit
so your last mile isp right now
will buy a vertical asset like a tower
and they’ll get a fiber connection to
the rest of the internet and then
actually all the the interconnections
come back to what they call an ix which
is kind of your main
hub of the internet so
in that way we’re similar we do connect
into these series of tubes at the ix
at the internet exchange and then bring
a fiber line to what we call a gateway
into that local community
and that can be an urban area um a city
or
a rural community there has to be some
interconnection to the rest of the
internet at large right and then in that
case that bandwidth is sold
wholesale like you would buy a pallet of
bananas or something you get banned with
wholesale
and then you resell it now normally your
isp is going to
sell a subscription and they’re going to
over sell that subscription
so you’re going to call up you know in
the us comcast
you know in canada maybe you call it
bell and you
they would sell you this bandwidth the
same bandwidth you would share with
maybe
10 20 100 other families or households
so the way that we differ is that
instead of getting one large tower and
then owning all of the infrastructure
we would bring in that fiber to the
community and then partner with a
business uh
for example many times it’s a like a gas
station or
we partner with a farm who has a tall
grain silo
and they get compensated for hosting
those antennas on the private property
what’s kind of cool and instead of being
limited by whatever that high
tower grain silo can see we can
hop to the neighbor’s house who can then
hop to their houses
and another house down the way and this
sort of agile
dynamic configuration allows us to build
more affordably and faster than other
legacy models
for example we have one connection here
that goes from the heart of town where
fiber and bandwidth is cheap
down to a valley to a farm there up to
the top of a hill
to household up there then back down
over the top of the trees
to a house by the river a little marina
by the river and then from that marina
over to another five or six houses down
you know down
kind of another valley area and that
that little
like valley area over there was
previously inaccessible
it was a round of ravine like i said up
around a hill and there was no economic
way to reach those people
unless we are able to sort of leverage
the you know combined
private property infrastructure that way
so that’s what’s really exciting about
it you have this really almost
um dynamic kind of agile configuration
you know failover as well
like you would describe in out of like
my way back home when i’m drunk usually
that’s pretty much it let’s keep with
that because that’s really great and
our idea when we spoke to you was to
sort of get a lot of information about
mesh for people who
really confused so i’m going to ask some
silly questions in your mind and i can
understand
it so but i want to get to the bottom of
it so especially for everyone who’s
listening to this oh we’ll listen to
this
the obvious question that springs up
from what you said
is whose is the internet or the
bandwidth to begin with like
where is it like do you know what i’m
saying right so you’re saying basically
so there’s the isps who provide like us
bandwidth okay
i we all understand the problem and then
there is like
all the mesh networks they also provided
okay i’m more
of a part of it and i can like own it
resell it whatever
but can somebody stop me from getting
that bandwidth in the first place
like where is it coming from originally
is it just out of thin air
i can’t like figure out the question but
i’m trying to like i’m sure you
understand what i’m saying
or no you don’t yeah exactly so
essentially you can think of it like
water in a pipe
bandwidth is like the psi right it’s not
like you might say
capacity so obviously you have so much
pressure or something water pressure
right then you can go to so many houses
right so that’s why you have bandwidth
capacities maybe you get a gigabit per
second or 10 gigabits or whatever
the way the internet is set up currently
is you have these submarine cables going
to internet exchanges
and then from internet exchanges you
have to get it to
that capacity to the local community so
actually
the majority of last mile isps lease
that space that wholesale space or that
wholesale capacity from a larger
provider
and then once you actually have enough
fiber capacity yourself from these like
kind of middle mile carriers you even
get into this really exciting thing
where
you can do peering and there’s peering
agreements and there’s some larger
things that happen with the
kind of backbones of the internet but
the last mile
network um there isn’t really anyone
that can like legally cut you off
obviously there’s always physical things
that can happen to cables
they can be cut radios can be interfered
with but as far as like
you know legal types of of interference
yeah no then then
once the the network has that wholesale
capacity they legally can
you know resell it within the community
itself and then it can be
distributed around as they see fit does
that make sense yeah yeah of course of
course this
makes perfect sense to me i wanted like
to get it as clear as is possible for
everybody who listens to this because i
think it’s
great material really because a lot of
people get confused about mesh networks
so the next question which is obvious to
me at least
is what about the hardware and the
software i mean is it open source
because obviously we’re using
antennas we’re using devices we’re using
some devices that may be
manufactured by third party or maybe
some of them
manufactured by yourself i don’t know so
where does this open-source hardware
software come in a picture
yeah that’s a really great question and
i think it’s kind of also core to how
we look at our business and our product
too because we use commodity-based
hardware so one of our kind of key
decisions was
instead of making our own hardware we
utilize
and re-flash routers and then we’re
radio
or technology agnostic for you know
distributing the signal so
we have a variety of routers that we
support you can actually go to
althea.net
forward firmware and you know see a
variety of
routers that you can buy on amazon that
you can set up with althea firmware we
support x86 based
you know desktops and servers so
somebody can reflash their dell optiplex
and that makes a really powerful machine
to kind of be like a gateway node
and then you can connect althea networks
with coaxial cables or
ethernet or bridged radios you can use
multi gigabit per second sea clues or
you can use
uh cambium or ubiquiti’s which are
cheaper and just bridge them together
yeah this allows us to be flexible why
we’ve been so successful in both the
places like you know africa
require a very inexpensive hardware to
you know urban areas like tacoma
washington um where we’re pushing you
know to 300 megabits per second to the
home
this is great but i’m gonna like try the
devil’s advocate here
i don’t know if you ever heard about
this i’m afraid i’m going to get the
story wrong but i’m going to try and go
ahead with it
this is the story about linux and i
think he was
either the 60s or the 70s that the two
guys
who uh when they got the prize the the
on the computer conference i can’t
remember right and
when they got it right the main guy i’m
talking about like
unix here obviously not linux sorry that
was a mistake when he got on the stage
he said okay so there’s one thing i want
to tell you
we left a backdoor to every single
computer so we know everything that’s
going on
and everybody was like no wait a minute
we know we’ve seen that it’s open source
software
so we know exactly like what’s inside he
said yeah
but you don’t know what i compiled it
with and i left the back during the
compiler and then they said well wait a
minute but
we did check the compiler right and it
was okay and then he said yeah but you
don’t know what i compiled the compiler
with
and obviously nobody until now actually
knows if he was joking or not like
it’s i’m not even sure if he’s still
alive i hope he is
the question is when it’s somebody
else’s like a third-party
hardware there might be somebody who’s
snooping on me right when i’m using it
let’s say i’m using a router
and i’m unflashed it and everything is
fine but they might have left some kind
of chat it’s obviously like a
ridiculous thing what i’m saying right
now but for the privacy orientated
people
for those who are obsessed you know with
i will have like 100 locks around my
door and nobody will go inside
that’s the kind of thing i’m trying to
get it isn’t it better
to end of the day like do it open source
completely whether to use like a third
party where
there might be some company who might be
leaving like back doors
to snoop on you or whatever or to do
whatever nasty things malicious things
they they decide to do
yeah and that’s kind of a big question
right so you have all the things that
the debate that’s right now
very hot with huawei and what they’ve
done with their radios
and some questions around that i think
that our focus
is on a practical working software that
changes the ownership model of the
infrastructure you know our core
software is open source it’s you know
available on the github
that’s the pay for forward and the price
aware so you can take a look at that we
use open work based routers that’s um
also i believe mostly open source and
then we use wireguard for the encryption
so
we do of course attempt to be as
transparent as possible but there’s a
lot of moving pieces
so ultimately though privacy is about
control right and i think that starts
with ownership
our core focus is on proving that and of
course supporting the work of other
people in security
yeah sorry for that it’s just like again
bin devil’s advocate here but you know
it’s just the kind of thing that people
do
always ask and sometimes you don’t know
what to say to them so
it’s good that you can explain all this
and to i can later use that information
and tell them
well it’s about risk mitigation right i
mean we’re all we all take risks every
day using our phones going to certain
websites
you know yeah exactly so i think that
you know kind of the core of it is you
know you have to focus the practical
application of living life
interconnecting with other people that
also use on secure software
for example we we decide to advertise on
facebook that’s
actually a really great way to interact
with rural people however you know
obviously facebook has a lot of privacy
problems so i do think we do make those
choices every day
and we try to make those conscious
choices with our software as well and
again i think the core thing is if we
can bring the ownership back and the
control back to the people to really
you know hold that kind of hard-locked
democracy of the of
holding the infrastructure the internet
then i think the other things then fall
into place
i totally agree i mean i’ll be honest
with you in our project
one of our like which is super open
source right we’re so hardcore
that we didn’t notice until one point
that we’re using ledger and ledger is
not open source
so it’s those things that you have to
decide and i totally understand
what about the scale in debate there’s
obviously the scale in debate and
the scaling debate has been sort of it’s
been since the whole idea
like of the internet i think exists and
especially with national network some
people say it won’t work
it won’t scale i’ve tried using it it’s
not going on it’s not not for normal
people
right it’s two obviously different
things one for that it’s not for the
average user and another
it’s not gonna scale so what would you
return to that what would you say to
that
i think that’s kind of interesting and i
think it also goes to really it really
speaks to the fact that mesh network is
actually or the term mesh is actually a
a really ambiguous word
and so when when some people say mesh
they mean something different than when
we say mash so
mesh in the really kind of denotation of
the word is a topology
that is interconnected and that you have
something like a distance vector routing
protocol that selects routes
automatically and has built-in you know
automatic failover essentially
but for a long time measurement like
smaller community networks that were not
as organized
so we had had folks that were setting up
small community networks which were
really admirable and amazing
but didn’t have the resonance with maybe
the average consumer
to scale or grow there’s nothing in the
actual
topology of the routing protocol or
within the network constraints that will
keep us from scaling
and in fact it is you know similar to
how any other isp would scale
and i think we’re actually able to do it
better because of the way that we
make things easier for smaller isps
actually
there’s some really kind of interesting
business dynamics to that but i think
one of the things that we’ve tried to do
is realize that many of the
network enthusiasts that started these
mesh networks that maybe didn’t scale as
well
we come in with the tools of the
marketing the crm the organization
the things that the sort of platform
that’s needed to
integrate with end users and be
successful so i think
that kind of speaks to actually the more
it’s more of a social issue than it is
a technical issue yeah and let’s speak
a little bit about social issue and your
personal story
do you have engineering background or
how your big
story with all that difficult things in
my mind
about modern network started yeah i
don’t have
formal training but i have radio in my
blood
like three generations back
my great uncle fabian very involved in
the very initial parts of radio
my father was electronics repair and ham
radio operator
from the very early days he did radio um
in puerto rico
for the navy and so i grew up very
integrated
with radios and antennas and different
types of frequencies and
i’ve definitely been resonating on that
wave like my brother actually my big
brother is um
in 911 radio communications and so for
me it came natural to really
see what we could do to broaden the
envelope with wireless communications
and i had started
experimenting with different types of
mesh networks 10 15 years ago and then
i also have a small business background
managed services and computer repair
shop for 15 years and had other small
businesses before that so
there was just kind of a natural
integration between the kind of activist
and
enthusiasts radio enthusiast and
the practical application of small
business it
says on the althea’s website in the bio
that you were
the first user as well right before you
became the ceo so how did that work out
how did you become the ceo
and what does it bring for you i mean
that’s crazy right
it’s a really great story so i have
started this incentivizedmeshnut.com and
was working on kind of the physical
hardware part of it that’s you know i’m
really the kind of boots on the ground
radio person and
was experimenting with how we could
incentivize users to
host the infrastructure of the network
itself um and then
had come across jahan trembuck’s work
and justin kilpatrick so
we had initially started talking and um
i came on board to do the pilot and then
started working together
more closely and then eventually i am
now here as the ceo
but yeah i said we’re you know it’s a
great team jahan has done some
incredible work with smart contracts
with on ethereum and really has a great
understanding of blockchain design
and justin worked as red hat and
honestly justin is much of our core
software and
he’s amazing i always feel so honored to
work with both justin and jahan
has a lot changed for you since you
became the ceo in terms of
how you perceive all of the technology
or as it became more difficult or easier
to use it or to understand it
i think that i have especially during
this last year really pivoted my focus
to system design
so one of the things i had originally
thought about when i was thinking about
this project is that
you could sort of build it you could
build the software and people would take
it
and they would you know and i kind of
don’t like unsolicited advice right
so i really had struggled with just
saying i was just with telling people
how to do things right so we had
originally thought okay we’ll just have
this beautiful software people can take
it and use it as they need in their
community and
now i’m realizing that what is actually
needed is
really streamlined easy-to-use
system so we’ve really been really
focused on funnels and systems and
approaches that make it very easy to use
so would you say that
your current work is more of like a
product work or
um i mean technically i don’t know what
a ceo of a mesh network does
so it’s i can say maybe project design
we see ourselves as a platform the new
platform for the internet the microsoft
the ios it’s the designing of a global
platform system so if you think about it
in that scale
i think that’s what’s really fascinating
about it and it really is
interesting to understand the way that
users interact with the internet because
one of the big surprising things too is
that you can really make this great isp
and deliver it to someone’s store but
people don’t interact with the router
they actually interact with your device
your laptop your
tv and your phone and so some of the
exciting work that i’m really excited
we’re doing right now is actually
managing the radios your radios on your
router
to your device and giving people more
choices there about how they want to
prioritize their usage you know
making sure that they’re getting that
full 100 megs to the
tv all of these different kinds of
things so that’s been really fascinating
as well and something i’m really excited
about
we can both really related because we
travel
a lot our lifestyle is kind of like a
traveling lifestyle
so it’s not about like going on a
holiday it’s about that’s the way we
live
and obviously we carry with us like a
suitcase of like routers of devices
of this device that device that router
third router and a lot of the times you
ask yourself so
how do i get the best local speed or
whatever
not not the speed to the actual provider
but the connection between
exactly what you’re talking about a lot
of people don’t think about it this is
where you lose a lot of your
network is that correct or yeah
absolutely one of the kind of
fascinating examples was as we had a
subscriber who
was getting three megabits per second to
their tv but we were
measuring it at like something like 70
or 80 megabits per second
to the home and i went there and they
had their router behind this you know
curio cabinet with their they had their
little spoons like on display there and
their router was behind
the curio cabinet right along with their
previous centurylink
router too so it almost makes me think
part of the reason
why we are not accessing the internet at
broadband speeds is in fact that
that experience in the home itself i
mean how many routers are behind spoon
curio cabinets
yeah and you’re typically users who they
are
well they’re people that live in places
i mean
[Laughter]
it really is everyone i mean that we
have a lot of rural
people we have urban folks a lot of our
subscribers are senior citizens or
families
it really is just everyone um a lot of
families we’ve hooked up have not had
internet
previous or haven’t had internet for a
long time
and that also is some interesting ux so
really just the full
demographic of folks and which makes it
really fun and it makes us really focus
on ux
yeah so product designer i think that
would be a good description here
back to users are carrying on with the
users rather
how do people especially outside the us
get involved with althea because
obviously i need to get the equipment in
some countries especially countries
which are
i don’t like the term third world
countries but let’s use it because it’s
like
a understood stigma by everybody like
especially
you know what let’s mention like
countries like russia for example or
belarus right
and where you see all this trouble right
now and actually part of our
dev team for example is from belarus and
we had now all the things and
something like what you do would have
been like a
huge life savior for for people there
right because and literally i’m not
exaggerating
when i’m saying life savior because
literally you have stories which are you
know on the negative side and obviously
have stories on the positive side as
well but
so how do people get involved with it
when they’re outside the us
what can they do i don’t think we have
anyone that has reached out to us from
eastern
europe but i think that that like a
poignant example of why
there is such urgency for us to work on
this now
because it’s much easier or maybe not
even quite
you know achievable once the siloing has
already been placed once the borders are
already you know closed from the
internet
so it’s very important that we build
these decentralized systems now
as we start to see the the internet
become more and more closed off and
siloed
and segmented so typically if someone is
interested in starting an
althea network in their their country we
we work out with the first kind of
community as a coordinator for that
country for example we have yakubu
and oracom who are our nigerian
coordinators they hold the isp license
in um partnership with althea which
oftentimes just even getting the isp
license is
a little bit of a burden for folks and
it’s also expensive
so we’ll work together with a main
coordinator within the
the country who then can help kind of
franchise or
have affiliate networks uh in the
localities
that person can also help with the
training we’re actually working right
now on an altea certified installer
program so that that piece of the system
is streamlined and easy and it’s plug
and play
and then we work on the supply line
issues which actually post covet have
just been even
more challenging than they were before
again we we try to support as much
hardware as possible
and really work with the community
members to figure out what’s going to
work in their area
oh we’ve got a new network we’re
launching ini spatini speaking of cool
places
oh where are boxes i didn’t hear the
name of the place
it’s east wattini it’s a country
formerly yeah known as swaziland yep
wow that’s awesome yeah excited about
that one
and again these are mostly just folks
will find us looking for a solution to
their internet
problems and then we’ll work with them
to you know figure out how to get it
connected
let’s stick like to the blockchain kind
of thing there aren’t
many projects that do similar things to
what you do but
definitely well because i’m kind of
interested in those things but i
definitely know it’s list two
at least one i remember the name of i
think it’s called helium
hnt is the thicker i think they are and
they’re doing
something a bit similar to what you do
so would you say
that currently the market from i mean
you did mention
business side of the story and the
business dynamics would you say
that market is becoming more competitive
or is it still kind of
free to go and enter the market and
conquer
the world conquer users whatever yeah
helium
has some really interesting work we
don’t really can see them
actually as a competitor necessarily
they’re very focused on iot
and they took the sort of proprietary
hardware route as well
so a little bit different use case um
you know
excited to see their expansion and their
work so
i think that we see ourselves actually
in more
competition with other sort of
management platforms and marketing
platforms for existing isps
so uh things like unm s ubiquity makes a
management platform there are other like
billing and management platform
solutions
uh sonar power code that’s kind of thing
probably more in the
niche of the work that we’re doing the
sort of interconnection
and the the pay for forward i think is
pretty novel
the kind of system build for that the
model
of paying like a farmer to host their
hardware
is actually pretty common within the
smaller isp world right this is
the hey can i use your grain silo i’ll
give you free internet and it’s usually
a handshake deal
but i think we’re pretty novel in the
fact that we incentivize people in a
kind of permission this way
talking about the incentives i did read
your write paper
but for those who didn’t what is in two
words could you
summarize the economical model behind
and here maybe you can make the
connection to cosmos as well because
obviously they’ll be speaking about the
nodes the proof of stake
and blah blah blah blah blah you don’t
have to obviously you could separate it
but
in my head i was trying to think about
two words i think it’s really tough to
do it in two words
yeah so it would be difficult to draw
the analogy i think in a way that maybe
that would be clear but essentially uh
you have your router in your home
and it automatically remits small
credits you know 12 cent increments of
at this point it’s x die at some point
it’ll be the cosmos system
so you automatically get your credits
for people
using your downstream connection as your
neighbors use the connection
and they use gigabytes as if you were
forwarding traffic to them
of course in the secure encrypted way
then you get automatically compensated
for that
one thing that resonates with a lot of
users is the solar analogy a lot of
companies will give you credit
for producing energy into the grid but i
think what’s really exciting about what
we do is it is this sort of permission
this peer-to-peer way
so there’s no 1099s or legal
documentation that has to happen there
for example someone was explaining to me
that they had done the solar program got
solar credits had to be 10.99
and then really 40 of their earnings
from that went to
back to taxes and so yeah there is a big
problem with
obviously pretty much everything where
you have a middle
man in the middle right and it’s great
but you guys
solving this but what about the cosmos
part and the proof of stake part how
does that come into the picture
and the governance and all of that the
main thing that cosmos gives us is this
really amazing way for us to build a
practical sovereign
chain that allows this work to take
place um we’ve had a lot of problems
working on ethereum obviously this
the gas prices are is that they’re a
thing
you’re looking for the right word i know
you’re not going to find it so just say
gus
prices we get it yeah i keep thinking
about that mean that the gas prices are
too damn high
yeah exactly so i think that just sort
of lies in
the difference between cosmos and a lot
of the other layer ones is the
incentives i really love how
cosmos is really being worked on right
now by a variety
of teams that are coordinating who have
practical reasons to use
uh cosmos as a layer one solution as
opposed to
other blockchains that maybe are
interested in mining incentives or
the kind of core incentives you have a
you know a developer group that really
wants to make a just works uh platform
rigorously engineered and then of course
interoperability because we feel like
that’s core
you know to creating a an efficient
marketplace talking about
how cosmos has been built i can’t not
talk about peggy because
that’s really exciting and we
actually had chain safe about aragon
that was about
a few months ago on and they told us
more or less the technical side of how
the bridge is going to work and
before i ask you that okay let’s first
of all what is peggy
and how is it going to benefit the
average cosmos user that’s the first
question that i have and then i’ll ask
you the difficult stuff
yeah i mean peggy is essentially a
bridge between ethereum and cosmos
so it allows you to use the dye for
cosmos and that’s essentially what we
want to be able to do with it is to
bridge a stable coin over to our cosmos
chain
basically also i was going to say
there’s a lot of liquidity on ethereum
and that’s also what’s exciting as well
so
you know we need to have i assume many
other projects do need to be able to
onboard users using debit cards
ethereum’s easier to get right so we
have this kind of liquidity problem
so it’s very easy to onboard a variety
of different platforms
with ethereum right now we’re using wire
pay we’ve looked at a few other
uh different solutions it’s an
integrated api debit card
um on the router dashboard itself um and
then it’ll bridge to
our cosmos chain using peggy so that’s
primarily what peggy is
bridge bridge so you probably have so
many questions about
it it’s a bridge guys just just just get
over it
it’s a bridge there’s time to let’s
bridging it that’s it
no it’s a good way of putting it sorry
but i agree i mean the simpler you say
it
the better it’s understood but i will
still ask because i mean i read
a great post and i think it was from
your team about complexity and
decentralization when it comes to
bridges especially
i’m sure it was a pause by somebody from
your team if it’s not sorry
it was a great post
so there at least like chainsaw bridge
there’s peggy
there’s one more bridge i can’t remember
the name that has been built by someone
to ethereum as well
cosmos what is the difference between
all those bridges in layman’s terms
in like the most simplest way you could
put it i’m probably going to defer
to the documentation from i mean our cto
justin has done some amazing work on
this but i am not familiar with the
other kinds of bridges well enough to
speak
on the discrete differences to that i
know that they won’t work for our
particular application so i
would assume that that would that’s
probably also the issue for other folks
as well
who would want to access the liquidity
and defy also of
of ethereum but again i unfortunately
gonna have to
refrain from no it’s okay it’s okay no
no that makes sense i mean purposes
is the main thing right you’re purpose
specific whatever that is yep but do you
have any other like side projects like
peggy that you do for cosmos
or for anyone else if it’s not a secret
i think that as we zoom out
we will be integrating of course a
hardware wallet
in our routers so perhaps something a
little bit easier
one of the things that we did with um
ethereum is that in exercise we made it
really simple to use x die wallet using
like unique emoji identifiers and it’s
really great and it’s simplicity and we
already have basically a hardware wallet
built into the routers itself
so that’s kind of another core thing
that we’ll do because we’ll also have to
have
some of our community members will have
our althea token built on cosmos that
we’ll need to
delegate so we’ll really be looking at
how the ux and the ui
is and be integrating that into our our
routers which i think will
be something that other folks might
wanna might doing some information or
some useful tooling from you did say
ex-die right
yeah that’s what we’re currently using
right now it’s quite a small world
because it’s done by one of my good
friends
igor so paris
authority yeah yeah it works for now for
sure
yeah um and we haven’t had any major
problems with it so
okay i i don’t know this guy i’ve never
heard of him
in case everything you also
been you personally i mean been named as
recently
one of the members of the technical
advisory board for the
icf is that correct yes i’m quite
honored to be a part of the cosmo system
in that way and again as i
iterated before i think what’s really
amazing about cosmos
right now is that it’s governed by
collaboration
of folks that are interested in
practically using the technology
you know also really some just some
great votes seeing ozaki and billy and
really good team members part of cosmos
and dinner chain right now
as i understand you recently received a
grant
is that correct yeah so we did
um receive a grant investment from the
interchain foundation for our work on
peggy and
also in support of our of the overall
atheia project
interchain was one of our initial
investors
and they continue to support us in a
follow-on round
quite cool and what kind of uh economy
is basically behind your project what is
your
what is the point that you feel okay or
get our goal or in the long term spirit
what’s your monetization basically like
in the project itself
our value capture is primarily within
the althea blockchain once it is built
on cosmos
and the transaction fees of the money
moving around there so
we are built on the success of our
networks if we have networks that are
grow
and sustainable then there will be lots
of money moving around the network and
then that’s where we capture the value
we do also have a supportive business
for supporting those networks right so
supply chain
some diverse revenue streams with our
network operator tools and
and some of the other kind of tooling
and support that we do
for network operators on the ground also
sort of adds
diversity to our revenue that makes
sense i mean
quite straightforward if there is
anything else that you would like to
edit we didn’t really ask you about
althea or about anything else at all i
could tell
my price or a routing story it has about
goat farmers
you have to tell it we’re waiting for it
right okay
i really like this story because it’s
it’s a really amazing example of the
kinds of choices that
um i don’t even think we you know fully
appreciated that we could have and that
have been taken away from
us by you know treating bandwidth as a
subscription model right so
when we treat bandwidth as a commodity
and and we have a choice about the
upstream provider
on a second by second basis we can
choose how much we want to pay and how
fast the connection is so
for example we have someone in our
network who has a goat herd right so he
has a herd of goats
and then he works full-time during the
day and so he has cameras monitoring his
does
as they go into the kidding season
that’s where they have their babies
and so he goes to work turns the his
internet connection to the lower cost
on the slider bar there and so he’s
still receiving that video feed
but he’s not paying as much for that
connection because he doesn’t need the
lower latency for that
and then he comes home at night ready to
play some games and
watch a movie and interact with the
internet just turns that spider bar
up to a higher quality connection and
then instantaneously is enjoying the
internet
at the higher speed and lower latency
that he would need for his
entertainment and so i think that’s
really pretty neat to be able to say hey
look you know we don’t have to be siloed
into a monthly subscription in fact we
can have choice
on speed and quality and cost is that a
real story by the way or is that
user story no that’s a really that’s a
real story yeah exactly this is
happening right now
[Laughter]
every day that is really great is it
like a small bar or what is like a
product that you have to just swipe and
then you get a better connection or a
worse connection is that all it is
that’s all it is so you
get on your computer you type in
althearrouter.net it brings you up to
your dashboard where you can see all of
your billing how much you paid last
month how much you’re paying now
how much you’re making from your
neighbors right this person actually
also makes uh he’s a relay so he makes
money as well
um so he can see that all on his
dashboard and then he goes to advanced
and right there there’s a
slider bar and he just slides that over
based on what he’s looking for that
moment
and then instantaneously trying to
imagine how to look in the future some
kind of a mobile app where you just kind
of like
up and down or whatever exactly exactly
that’s what we’re going for too yep
yeah and you can see it it’s quite cool
it’s very cool
yeah and then as more isps interconnect
to the network or let’s say we have a
university with extra bandwidth right
you can see this really creates this
amazing interoperable bandwidth
marketplace um and then people are no
longer
siloed behind connections and monopolies
i think one of the main points as well
which i think that has to be made here
is that kind of connection gives people
a lot more well at least the way i see
it first of all gives you more privacy
because i’d rather trust my neighbor
provided me the internet the bandwidth
and some isp
that i don’t know what he’s doing with
that bandwidth right and that’s kind of
like
what brings to my mind first of all and
more security really that comes with it
i think the reality is that isps
monetize our data collection
so i think it’s again it’s kind of that
risk mitigation right so yeah you have
where you have an encrypted connection
and you know that kind of neighborhood
community network
or you have a known quantity that is
actively
gathering your data there was one
conference i went to where centurylink
was keynoting
and they were describing as a sales
point they were saying centurylink is
amazing you should
install essentially connection into a
managed building or into a resort
because we’ve actually have studies that
have shown that by capturing user data
and we can shape people’s experience for
example something like disney or a las
vegas resort
if people are on their wi-fi they can um
you know shape their behavior to spend
more money or go to certain restaurants
that kind of thing
i think it’s very chilling to understand
that isps are monetizing not only the
bandwidth
but also your your data and shaping your
experiences in the way that they are
actively doing this is pretty chilling
it’s pretty scary when you get into all
of that and i mean there’s a lot to talk
here and to discuss here i think and but
talking about the
events have you ever heard of the chaos
communication congress in germany
that i’m not familiar with you guys
should check it out it’s basically an
event that’s done by the same guy
who’s doing defcon it’s the biggest
hacker congress in the world
it attracts about well defcon is
actually bigger
but it’s more about the way people say
it when they put it they say it’s more
about
the business right side of the things
whether ccc in germany which is
happening once every year
it’s like a mixture of defcon and
comic-con have you ever heard of comic
con for example
so it’s like an obscure event with
people with
switches radios self-made radios loads
of different electronics
it’s crazy you guys will you would love
it you would love it
definitely it was great i mean we’ve
been there
we went there last year this year it’s
not on because of obvious reasons but uh
it was on last it’s been on for 37 years
or something like that and it’s great
place
to i think you guys before we kind of
ask you
the regular question that we we ask
everybody which is a bit boring but we
still ask everybody
what’s your favorite frequency you’ve
been talking about radio waves
so much that i can’t not help not ask
that right now i’m joking i’m joking it
was a bad joke
you’ve been talking about radio waves so
much
[Laughter]
so the usual question that we ask
everybody to
wrap things up is are there any
blockchain projects that you’re
currently excited about outside of the
cosmos ecosystem because obviously
we’re kind of related to that i think
that like what akash is doing with a
cloud is interesting i think ipfs is
interesting for their decentralized
storage
yeah so i think some of these projects
that are working on decentralizing the
internet from a variety of different
angles are really fascinating there’s a
lot of work getting done
yeah so there’s a lot of really great
teams out there thanks really for
sharing the light on a lot of the
information i think about
the basic information especially about
mesh networks that i think is missing
out for people to get a better
understanding of
it’s like you said you know there’s a
bridge right between like what i asked
you about peggy and
essentially like the way you explain it
kind of makes sense
okay guys it’s all very simple things
there is no need to over complicate it
thanks a lot for that yeah i appreciate
the questions too i think that the mesh
has become very ambiguous and i think
that there’s
a need for a little more clarity about
what we mean when we say that
thanks for coming on and we’ll be
definitely
keeping an eye on what you guys do and
hopefully
we can have another conversation in the
future so
thanks for joining us great thank you
very much for having me
thanks everybody bye