Althea is a decentralized web stack aimed at creating an open marketplace to enable individuals to create their own ISPs and provide bandwidth to end users in local communities. The project consists of open-source hardware specifications, routing software, and blockchain-based registration and payment systems. A local Althea network is a radio mesh that includes end users, intermediaries who forward packets, and gateway nodes that connect to exit nodes internet. Gateway nodes connect to exit nodes located in nearby data centers and accept legal responsibility for content trafficked over the local network. The exit node may be run by the owner of the data center or an individual who leases bandwidth from the owner of the data center Packets are encrypted to prevent relay and gateway nodes from seeing what they forwarding and shifting the liability of trafficked content to the exit nodes. Payments are made to intermediary nodes using cryptocurrency and are paid on a per-packet basis using a semi-automated escrow system. Users are required to top-up their escrow accounts regularly to maintain their balances, and fees are automatically transferred from the escrow account.
Because there is no single provider of internet access, each Althea node can switch connectivity by constantly searching for the cheapest bandwidth provider. Users can benefit by paying for the cheapest internet service available, while equipment owners are compensated for their contributions to the network. Althea has implemented mesh networks in various localities across the world, many of which have limited internet access and can benefit from alternative ISPs. Althea networks have been established in communities such as Medellín, Colombia, Clatskanie, Oregon,and Abuja, Nigeria.
Every local Althea network is considered an independent Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). Althea subnet DAOs are Token Curated Registries that run on the Aragon Network and are maintained by bandwidth providers. Subnet DAOs identify all participants in the local network by pairing an IP address with a blockchain address. This gives providers the ability to accept new nodes into the network and remove bad actors.
Although Althea currently has functioning networks with payment support for the Ethereum and xDAI blockchains, a dedicated chain is planned to launch in the future. The Althea main net will launch as a Cosmos side chain and will use Proof of Stake consensus. The native token will be ALTG (ALThea Governance Token) and will be staked by validators who process transactions. ALTG will also be required for bandwidth providers to stake in order to create and maintain their own Althea subnet DAOs. ALTG is not intended to be a payment token for end-users, who are likely to opt for using less volatile stablecoins instead.
In order to garner community interest and incentivize early adoption, Althea began an airdrop campaign in conjunction with startup incubator Republic on August 1st, 2019 and planned to run through May 1st, 2020. 1,000,000 ALTG tokens were allocated to the airdrop, of which 93,844 ALTG have been claimed as of March 15th, 2020. Participants are able to earn up to 20 ALTG for watching educational videos and passing quizzes, and up to 560 ALTG for starting their own local Althea network with an additional 20 ALTG for each onboarded subscriber.
Althea White Paper
Documentaries, videos and podcasts
Althea Network: How Ethereum Is Used in the Real World - Unchained Podcast
October 11, 2019
Crypto Stories: Using Blockchain To Find Real-World Consensus with Ryan King and Jehan Tremback from Venture Stories
August 1, 2018
- CryptocurrencyA cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are a subset of alternative currencies, or specifically of digital currencies.
- Cosmos NetworkA blockchain network architecture consisting of various independent blockchains called zones which are connected to each other by the Cosmos Hub.