College Students Co-Founded Blockchain Startup Raising Over $6 Million
RENO, Nev., Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- In December 2010, the FCC issued the "Open Internet Order", stating that internet service providers (ISPs) must be transparent, and cannot slow down or block content access for their users. This was the beginning of net neutrality legislation.
As we are approaching the FCC meeting on the subject of net neutrality that will take place on Dec. 14, the subject is making headlines again.
Net Neutrality in a Nutshell
Arguing for net neutrality are those claiming that ISPs have gained too much power, and are passionately quoting John Oliver whose show Last Week Tonight went viral in May 2017 following the FCC vote to Open Review of Net Neutrality Policy. He demonstrated a case where T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon blocked "Google Wallets" on their phones in order to promote their competing wallets, that had the unfortunate name "Isis" (later rebranded as Softcard) as an example for this. He referred to an earlier show, from three years ago, when he called for his viewers to leave comments on the FCC website. It was assumed that this flood of comments is what slowed down the FCC website, but they later stated the trouble was due to multiple DDoS attacks, and not the commentators.
According to them, regulation will help keep the neutrality of the web, preventing internet service providers from prioritizing certain content, and giving an equal chance to all content at being viewed.
Arguing against the regulation are those claiming that it will probably have a very little effect on internet users when marketing techniques and strategies are taken into consideration. They also claim that the legislation is based on an old and irrelevant rule (Title II of the Communications Act of 1934), that the internet was open before net neutrality, that regulation is not a free market solution to this issue, that the internet is decentralized by nature and there is no such entity as "the internet", and so a solution to this cannot come from regulation by a centralized government.
It was very easy to assume that the FCC site was slowed down or even crashed due to an extremely high volume of comments because it is very similar to a DDoS attack.
DDoS attacks, or Distributed Denial of Service attacks, occur when the bandwidth of a certain system, usually one or more servers are flooded by multiple systems. In other words, when unwanted traffic is occupying the access to a site, denying actual visitors from connecting to the site, like a deliberate web traffic jam. These attacks happen for various reasons, from entertainment to sabotage. The attacker simply enjoys the chaos they cause to market competition — in hopes the users will switch to their service, to demanding a ransom to stop the attack. In 2016 alone, DDoS attacks amounted to a $150 billion loss.
The Gladius Solution
Gladius is a rising startup founded by brilliant University of Maryland College Park students Max Niebylski, Alex Godwin, and Marcelo McAndrew, offering a Decentralized CDN and DDoS Protection on the Blockchain. Their goal is to create a fully decentralized, peer to peer, serverless node network to connect bandwidth and storage pools to websites looking for DDoS protection and expedited content delivery. The idea is very elegant: a light application that can be installed on any computer with any of the major operating systems (Linux, Windows or MacOS), and run in the background when it is convenient for the user, who can rent out their unused bandwidth, to earn Gladius tokens (GLA). Unlike mining, the users do not generate new tokens but are getting paid as part of their network bandwidth. Large nodes will be able to handle requests to validate website connections and block malicious activity.
CDN Is the Answer
In a similar manner to the DDoS protection, their decentralized blockchain Content Delivery Network (CDN) will also be based on the users. CDN in layman's terms is a solution for faster internet communication by content distribution that is based on geographical proximity to servers and data centers. Today, CDNs are owned by ISPs, by content providers or by third parties such as Incapsula or Akamai. The CDN market's worth is expected to grow to 23 billion dollars by the year 2021. Corporations can spend near $5000 monthly for DDoS protection, even if they never suffer an attack.
Quoting from their whitepaper, "Gladius works similarly to traditional CDN and DDoS protection companies by creating a custom proxy which sits between a website's server and the open internet. However, unlike traditional networks, the layer that sits between the website and the internet is made up of small clients that split up the traffic verification and cached files/content into thousands of tiny parts that are able to communicate with each other in fractions of seconds." And so even though each and every node has a vital role in making up and building the system, any case where a node goes down will not have an effect at all to the loss of protection or content delivery over the blockchain – allowing users to choose the networks that will best fit their location, price, and availability.
Their CDN solution, in which clients provide and use the service, makes the costs and the rewards very attractive for the users. The users can even calculate in advance and plan their earnings based on their upload limitations and daily uptime. "People who want to purchase web services will simply be able to create an account with Gladius, purchase Gladius Tokens through us, choose a website they wish to synchronize, set a base and max price for how much they are willing to spend, and then request and monitor all connections to their website," per the company's Crowdsale page.
By using a decentralized solution for maintaining an open internet, the Neutrality of the Net can be and will be kept regardless of the outcome of the vote, as the influence and power of the ISPs will eventually become insignificant, securing a fast accessible connection.
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