The Death of Net Neutrality Could Also be the Death of Blockchain
The Internet is great. It has music, video games, cat videos, more cat videos…, etc. However, the Internet is only as good as it is because it is open and free. Anyone can access the Internet (not exactly, but that’s another issue) and everyone can contribute. Unfortunately, this is changing.
As many of you already know, the FCC has voted to overturn Net Neutrality rules and will begin rolling back crucial protection for the internet.
If you don’t know what Net Neutrality is, watch these videos!
Net Neutrality ensures that large corporations and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t control the internet. For example, let’s say that you started up a small store to sell artisan donuts. Of course, you want to easily reach a large and global audience. So, you start a web commerce store and start selling your donuts online. Sadly, there’s a big existing company, DonutsRUs Inc. DonutsRUs Inc. does not sell artisan products. They sell factory made chemical donuts that are terrible for the environment. DonutsRUs Inc. sees you as a threat to their business. Because Net Neutrality doesn’t exist in this dystopian world, DonutsRUs Inc. is able to go to internet providers and pay to slow down your site or pay for their site to be faster. Customers that wanted to buy your donuts would get bored waiting and leave to DonutsRUs Inc.
With Net Neutrality in place, the Internet is “neutral” and “fair”. No website is able to get preferential treatment. There’s been a lot of videos, blogs, and opinion articles done on why Net Neutrality protects companies. However, there has not been a lot of work done about Net Neutrality and Blockchain.
(If you’re reading this, I hope you have a good understanding with the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Token Sales, transactions, etc. However, it’s ok if you don’t. Check this out, you’ll thank me later.)
Recently, there have been a lot of token sales and ICO’s. Without getting into the arguments about the benefits and drawbacks, it is obvious that these are important and a very large part of the crypto ecosystem.
Net Neutrality forces internet traffic to be treated the same. This would include blockchain transactions. It’s estimated that 30% of the Bitcoin network is hosted by 13 ISPs. 60% of all Bitcoin transactions cross only 3 ISPs. (ETHZ) It’s not impossible to imagine a world where ISP’s could slow down the transactions to a certain address or smart contract. If one company, (we’ll call it TastyDonutCoin) had a crowdsale to fund their donut company, another company (EvilDonuts) could pay ISP’s to slow down or block the transactions to TastyDonutCoin, which would prevent TastyDonutCoin from raising any money.
It could get even worse. Looking beyond ICO/Token Sales, many blockchain companies are running or considering running operations on Smart Contracts and blockchain-based code. If a competitor was able to tamper with these transactions in any way, it would be a disaster. Imagine a traditional hosting system (AWS, DigitalOcean, Google Cloud, etc.). Now, imagine if other companies could mess with the connections hosted there. Companies would be forced to pay out large “protection fees” just to ensure that their market had access to their content. How is this a good free market system?
There’s already been some research done on how ISP’s can interfere with blockchain. Basically, when a crypto transaction goes through an ISP, that ISP can interfere with it and do a partition attack (separates the network) or a Delay Attack (delays the block). This interference would destroy any attacked blockchain.
So, now you’re thinking to yourself, “How can I help save Net Neutrality?” (If you’re not, look at this and think about how your Internet experience would be destroyed.)
There’s a few very simple and easy ways.
- Share this article and the videos linked in this article with your friends. The more people that know about this, the better.
- Go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/ and fill out the form to send an email directly to the FCC.
Let’s save the Internet. #BetterTogether