Skycoin

Skycoin “Provides Hope” for Net Neutrality and Eliminates 51% Attacks?

Skycoin, like many other crypto platforms, has the bold ambition of decentralizing the internet. Visiting their website shows that they aim to deliver “the new internet for the new world.” Much in line with somewhat similar crypto ventures like QASH, who claim they want to “democratize” and decentralize finance,  the selling point of this platform is:

“The Skycoin Platform is the most advanced blockchain platform in the world. Developed by early contributors to both Bitcoin and Ethereum, Skycoin’s platform is completely secure, infinitely scalable, and ISP independent. Backed by bandwidth, storage, and computational power Skycoin is built to fulfill Satoshi’s original vision.” – (according to official website)

If this platform will truly be scalable, then that would help solve many of the common and major problems plaguing major crypto platforms like Ethereum and Bitcoin. The claim that it will be “infinitely scalable” seems to be quite far-fetched at this point, considering the present stage of development of blockchains. Former head of blockchain efforts at JPMorgan Amber Baldett and a number of other crypto technology experts have pointed out that the blockchains of today can be compared to the dial-up version of the internet from the 1990s or even much farther back to 1960s – according to Baldett. 

If Skycoin wants to tackle the problem of eliminating the problems that blockchains of today face, then there’s PLENTY of competition out there for its developers, such as Aelf. The Aelf whitepaper has accurately specified the current problems plaguing existing blockchains, one of them being scalability of course.

Also, if these platforms want to really compete, then they have their work cut for for them, because Vitalik Buterin recently revealed that the Ethereum blockchain will eventually be scalable to 1 million transactions per second. Given the impressive network effect that Ethereum now has under its belt, it would be a very difficult battle to fight if newcomers want to actually dethrone Ethereum. Tron and EOS are two heavily financed multi-billion dollar projects that have yet to deliver on their tall claims and promises. 

The obvious edge that Tron and EOS have over Skycoin and similar projects is that massive amounts of funding and resources they have available to them to help further improve and develop their platforms. Despite this, let’s still take a brief look, objectively, at Skycoin and what it aims to offer. The Skycoin website starts with the usual promotional pitch such as “find us featured on Forbes” and well-known news media publications, presumably to target those investors who might not know that by simply paying money to these news outlets, almost any company can get their brand/product related article published – regardless, in many cases, of the legitimacy of the project.

 Skycoin Promises

Admittedly, net neutrality and consumer data privacy are heavily debated and serious issues that have been brought to the forefront due to the growth and expansion of the internet. However, the claim that users are paying “ridiculous” fees to ISPs seems to be bit of an exaggeration.

I’ve, like numerous other people on this planet, been using the internet since the mid 1990s. Throughout my internet usage during these years, which has been in pretty much in all corners of the world and using many different ISP providers, I can tell you that using the internet is becoming more and more affordable, along with dramatic improvements in terms of the increasingly high bandwidth packages provided by giant ISP providers.

Clearly, they operate in a capitalistic environment where they are forced to compete and offer excellent services, because otherwise they will have to give way to better services provided by other ISP providers. So, basically they are incentivized in almost every conceivable manner to offer the best quality services they possible can to simply remain alive.

Let’s see what else Skycoin promises…

Meet the Skyminer:

Skyminer

  So, here we have the company’s proprietary Skywire infrastructure which is supported by their Skyminer. They’ve even created it appears their own special hardware to do the usual: robust security, efficiency, etc. Interestingly, each node own Skycoin will be able to offer its own “independent service.” As explained above, nodes will not be susceptible to “attacks on peripheral devices.” To further help ensure security, this platform uses an OpenWRT router to secure communication being transmitted on internet conduits. 

To compensate the Skyminers for their services, payment is made in “Coin Hours.” 

Now, meet the Skycoin Consensus Algorithm:

Obelisk

So, apparently here Obelisk will be “reconfiguring the inner workings of blockchain.” Not sure what that would actually entail, but I suppose we will just have to trust the Skycoin to do that for us. The website further states:

“Its web-of-trust style consensus prevents the development of centralized power. Skycoin requires no mining, is immune to 51% attack, and transactions occur in seconds. Decisions are made through community consensus, not based on the wishes of a few majority stakeholders.”

It might be a sign of relief if this crypto is truly “immune to 51% attack”, considering that fairly large cryptocurrency platforms like Verge (XVG) and Bitcoin Gold have succumbed to 51% attacks recently. This, basically allows a bad actor to control the majority of the computing (hashing/mining) power on a crypto’s blockchain, and then possibly using his control to engage in double spending – which is what basically happened with Bitcoin Gold and several other cryptocurrency platforms and led to millions of dollars worth of digital currency being stolen. 

Interestingly, Bitcoin Gold team members argued that there was nothing inherently wrong with their blockhain. Their justification for this claim was that even the Bitcoin blockchain is theoretically susceptible to 51% attacks. While this is true, although almost logistically impossible at this point with Bitcoin, the actual question is that should it be ACCEPTABLE that a blockchain is susceptible to 51% attacks simply because of the nature of this design? If you’re like me, the short answer to this would probably be NO.

Skycoin – Not a Great Way To Reach Consensus

Furthermore, Skycoin promises to  reach consensus on its network through its community members. That isn’t exactly a great solution either considering that the community members could themselves begin to operate in a centralized manner like they have begun to do so with the blockchain-powered Steemit social media platform. 

For other notable features, the interested reader can visit the official website:

https://www.skycoin.net/

Please note that is article is not meant to be a comprehensive explanation of what this platform is about. Please refer to the company’s official communication channels to learn more.

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DISCLAIMER: This article is not meant to influence any investment related decision. It’s purely for information purposes and to spread awareness about cryptocurrencies and blockhain.