Deeper Network: The Demise of VPN Services

Key Points

  • “Unquestionably, the digital landscape has become a dangerous environment that must be navigated with the utmost caution.”
  • “Deeper has a three-part solution to accomplish this through a decentralized private network (DPN), decentralized web, and decentralized gateway.”
  • “Deeper Network’s hardware and software solutions seek to combat the internet status quo and add exciting decentralized Web 3.0 features through blockchain enabled technology.”

Government encroachment on civil liberties is a part of the political status quo whether you live in developed or developing nations. Every few months or so headlines can be read with a tone of astonishment that another nation has shutdown internet connections, intruded on its citizenry’s data privacy, or limited the way capital flows into and out of it. Locally, internet service providers are bemoaned for inconsistent performance and cyber thieves continuously hunt for another victim’s personally identifiable information. Unquestionably, the digital landscape has become a dangerous environment that must be navigated with the utmost caution. Deeper Network (“Deeper”) seeks to “build a Web 3.0 infrastructure and an accessible gateway for everyone to join it” to gird consumers’ digital loins.

Deeper has a three-part solution to accomplish this through a decentralized private network (DPN), decentralized web, and decentralized gateway. The DPN is the flagship of the three and shares many similarities with The Onion Router (TOR). In the words of Deeper, a “Decentralized Private Network is a P2P decentralized bandwidth sharing network for bypassing censorship and ensuring privacy. The network is server-less and distributed; user data can never be logged, leaked, hacked, or subpoenaed. Each node operator is empowered to be both a client and a server; node operators earn mining rewards for contributing bandwidth to the network. Mining incentivization ensures the robustness of the network compared to traditional P2P networking models.” To currently access this DPN, users must possess one of Deeper’s decentralized gateway devices.

The decentralized gateway centers around the Deeper Connect hardware device family that ranges in size and bandwidth capability. These hardware devices serve the purpose of network nodes. “Each Deeper node is a next-generation firewall (NGFW) serving to prevent network attacks via network scanning: overflow attacks, injection attacks, denial of service attacks, and so on.” As previously mentioned, node owners also earn mining rewards for maintaining their hardware’s connection to the internet. This decentralized gateway also has a software component in the form of a decentralized app (dapp) store. This dapp store will offer Web 3.0 and Polkadot ecosystem-based services that include decentralized finance, non-fungible token minting, decentralized data storage, data identity management, etc.

The final part of this solution is a decentralized domain name system and content delivery network (dDNS/dCDN). DNS and CDN are protocols utilized by today’s internet infrastructure. However, this infrastructure is centralized and therefore “makes the internet extremely fragile, and prone to censorship and attacks.” In addition to a more robust infrastructure, dDNS/dCDN provides faster edge access to cached content via storage in localized cloud servers which results in a much faster web browsing experience.

To support the implementation of this three-part solution, Deeper Network has created an economic incentive for its node operators. It accomplishes this through Deeper (DPR) tokens. The basic use case for DPR tokens is they can be earned and spent via sharing or consuming bandwidth on the network. In addition to this, DPR can be used and earned through a variety of means that are beyond the scope of this article. In essence, the DPR token goes beyond a simple financial incentive system by having multiple use cases for interacting with and improving the network’s three components. To effectively facilitate network operations, Deeper has developed a core technology stack comprised of: Atom OS, Deeper Chain, Proof of Credit consensus, Trident Protocol, and Deeper SoC. Put simply, these core technologies are the machinery behind the curtain and to explain each one would once again be beyond the scope of this article.

Due to Deeper’s solution being highly technical in nature, the current 32,000+ node operators (adopters) are most likely tech/privacy enthusiasts and/or crypto mining hobbyists. However, per Deeper’s roadmap and social media engagement, the company does seek to reach average households and enterprise-level users. To achieve this goal, the company has made the setup of the network’s hardware and software components no more difficult than setting up a WIFI router or anti-virus software. This is essential if the company is to scale the network to maturity measured in the millions of nodes.

Provided that network milestones are achieved, there will be at least three impacts on the global blockchain ecosystem. The first and most obvious are the additional layers of transaction privacy. Currently, there are only a handful of truly private cryptocurrencies in circulation with Monero and Zcash being the most prominent. However, even Zcash allows for the option to transact publicly or privately depending on the intent of the involved parties which has called into question Zcash’s ability to protect privacy for its network. Deeper’s solution ensures that at a minimum the transactions between parties, public or private (aka shielded), cannot be traced back to them in any way from a network security aspect. This greatly decreases the probability of governing bodies and bad actors gaining access to funds stored in users’ wallets.

The second impact is greater accessibility and adoption of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. While there are dozens of exchanges that offer markets for thousands of blockchains and cryptocurrencies, many people in third, developing, and even first world nations cannot fully participate on these exchanges. By utilizing Deeper Network, individuals can freely participate in everything blockchain technology and its supporting services have to offer without being restricted by laggard regulations.

The third impact is Deeper will serve as a shining example of a more practical use case of blockchain technology. Saying blockchain technology can be used to decentralize financial services would be an understatement. The technology continues to be defined by its most obvious use case as a multi medium of exchange. Deeper will serve as a fresh example of how blockchain technology can be applied to inefficiencies outside the financial services industry. In theory, this should draw more interest from investors, developers, and consumers who have yet to adopt this technology into their personal and professional lives which will prompt further innovation.

Modern internet infrastructure has largely fallen short of what many believe to be its full potential. Governmental and private organizations frequently take action to censor content and invade privacy all in the name of national security or consumer protection. While there currently are virtual private network solutions that are intuitive and widely available to consumers, all of them fail in one way or another to circumvent these actions. According to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s (CSIRO) report titled An Analysis of the Privacy and Security Risks of Android VPN Permission-enabled Apps published in 2016, up to 84% of VPN user data was leaked to third parties and two thirds of VPNs used third-party tracking libraries. Additionally, in a recent internal letter to ExpressVPN employees, Chief Information Officer Daniel Gericke explained that charges filed against him by the Department of Justice were in regard to his involvement in helping the United Arab Emirates government illegally surveil its citizens. This unfortunately has called into question the integrity of VPN services at large. Deeper Network’s hardware and software solutions seek to combat the internet status quo and add exciting decentralized Web 3.0 features through blockchain enabled technology. 

Bustle Rack

17 comments

  1. It’s really cool to learn a little bit more about potential future roadmaps for Web 3.0 and the internet in general with these posts. Thanks all of the insight, Chris. It is interesting seeing the inclusion of hardware required for consumer-level decentralized private networks, unless I’m reading this incorrectly. With the mining aspect I completely understand the need to have an ASIC, but do you see this sort of hardware as a necessity for this service to become widely available? With the advent of further decentralized data and moving away from physical reliances, I would be concerned with how well-received another piece of required in-home hardware would be for the average future Web 3.0 end-user.

    1. It will be a necessity for a decentralized private network because of the extra layer of security provided by a proprietary chipset instead of relying on PC/MAC manufacturing. However, I know the Deeper team is working on a software gateway for people who simply want to purchase the token and access network services. In some ways a hardware component makes crypto technology more credible for skeptical consumers because it becomes material aka they can touch it and feel it. If I remember correctly I think that is how consumers viewed the web before they began installing dial up in their homes.

  2. Thanks for blogging about such technical insights. I literally had no idea about the vast majority of the information you seem so passionate about, but its great to learn something! On a much lighter note, I wonder what will happen to geographic based pricing with an ever increasing privacy concern from people and tech. I believe a VPN disrupts that process, but certainly a DPN seems like it would. (An aside- I once saved about $300 trying to book a flight out of Geneva by using a VPN instead of the cafe wifi…)

    1. You are absolutely right Karl. VPNs can disrupt geographic based pricing. I have seen marketing materials published by affiliate partners promoting this as an advantage of using VPN services. So it did not surprise me that you were able to accomplish this. I’m not sure DPNs provide any marginal advantages to this shared benefit other than the required level of privacy to prevent legal consequence. I think VPNs are still working towards mainstream adoption. So, we will see if and how international businesses fight to prevent this price disruption.

  3. You are really owning this “choose your own topic and run with it” aspect of the blogging portion of the class. I think it’s great, and exactly one way how I hope students use it. I hope you are getting something out of it as well. Another great, substantive post.

    1. This course is the academic equivalent of the German Autobahn.

  4. I can’t think of a better application of blockchain technology than VPNs. Digital and transactional privacy as the key components to internet freedoms, and after reading your post, blockchain appears to provide the technology to solve this problem. I can’t wait to have the comfort of knowing that third-parties cannot trace activity back to the user in any way from a network security aspect. Blockchain capabilities continue to impress me and it Web 3.0 does appear to be the future.

    1. A good thing to remember when reading about cool projects such as this is external parties get a vote. The state and non-state actors that lose control due to this tech won’t just shrug their shoulders and go home to binge Netflix.

  5. Excellent blog! I wonder how long it will take for everyone to jump into this trend. Working on a bank, I see people concerned all the time about how the bank is protecting their money, but then customers go and log in to every free Wi-Fi they can find. I feel like your blogs are the most informative and technical—great supportive videos for better understanding. Excellent option to get rewarded for sharing your bandwidth and getting rewarded for it (All about that mining life). I love the video about AWS and Polkadot.

    1. I am glad you liked the post Carlos. Yeah, I thought the gentleman who presented the AWS analogy did a great job simplifying Polkadot into a business model everyone is familiar with.

  6. I will subscribe to the future Tanker2Banker podcast on this topic! So much to learn from your posts. You mentioned earning tokens via sharing or consuming bandwidth on the network, which can then be traded or spent. I assume that network effects are a key part of growing this service. What could you spend the tokens on? Is there a limit for how many tokens can be in circulation?

    1. I am glad you liked it Parker. Gaining and maintaining a network effect is crucial to a project like this one and the Deeper team has so far delivered on growing the network.

      DPR can be used for various means such as: purchase Deeper nodes on-demand as a cloud firewall to hide IP addresses and prevent various network attacks; websites paying in DPR to be hosted on the Deeper Network infrastructure without needing to worry about being scanned, blocked, or attacked; purchase of AtomOS updates, threat database updates, and security subscription services. On the flip side, DPR tokens can also be earned for contributions to network security, such as discovering and reporting malicious behaviors on the network as well as, becoming a resource provider on Deeper’s decentralized CDN network for providing faster edge access to cached content. Additionally, DPR has utility within the Deeper dapp store. Third-party developers need to stake a certain amount of DPR tokens to have their dapps hosted within the Deeper ecosystem. At the same time, third-party dapps must be able to accept DPR as a means of payment for services. Lastly, DPR provides Web 3.0 domain owners with some essential tools for launching on the next generation of the web. DPR can be used to purchase decentralized domain names anonymously on the Deeper chain. Domain owners will have complete ownership over it instead of leasing it through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Domain owners can also use DPR to obtain their own cryptographic keys for digital signatures, essentially eliminating the need for third-party certification authorities.

      Token supply is capped at 10 billion.

      1. Thanks for the detailed reply! Really interesting to see the different uses for spending a token.

  7. Thanks for the post, I enjoy reading some of the more technical blogs that go the extra effort to peel pack a few additional layers. The stats in final paragraph were striking: permission-enabled Apps published in 2016, up to 84% of VPN user data was leaked to third parties and two thirds of VPNs used third-party tracking libraries. People are often too quick to accept additional cookies and tracking without fully understanding the ramifications (myself included). There is an inherent area of gray with VPNs, which provide security to the user, but may also be circumventing established laws or regulations. For example: Living abroad, but you want you access USA – Netflix so you employ a VPN to show your IP address in the US.

    1. Glad you liked the post. I agree with you on all counts.

  8. Great blog post. I wasn’t aware of much of the information posted, so appreciate you sharing. Given the de-centralized nature of Deeper, blockchain solutions for the sharing economy will provide much more protection on this network. The increased security makes me think of Uber and AirBnB and specifically how they reap huge profits from intermediating the sharing economy, leaving smaller companies with little to nothing. I wonder how Deeper could be used to build a P2P Ride-Sharing Business Model built upon blockchain. (Disclosure: don’t think this would happen, but definitely worth pondering).

    1. Good point Shannon and I am sure there are folks working on a blockchain enabled solution as we speak. Something to remember is market middlemen like Uber and AirBnB do a lot more than coordinate and secure payments for service. If this was the case, then services like PayPal, Zelle, CashApp, etc would kill them. However, I think blockchain could find a home at Uber if it is able to secure a fleet of self driving vehicles.

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