In response to US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voting to repeal Net Neutrality laws, Net Neutrality supporters who fear the worst are looking towards Substratum (SUB) as their saving grace. SUB has seen a significant boom in the wake of the vote, rising into the top 100 on Coinmarketcap recently. It currently sits at #98 with a market cap of just over $100 million.
Substratum is an ERC-20 token aiming to decentralize the internet. In Substratum’s system, web users can access web browsing and hosting capabilities from other users in the network. These users represent individuals worldwide contracting their personal computers and physical servers in exchange for SUB. Rather than paying fixed costs, users on the network pay for the amount of bandwidth they use through web browsing or other web browsers interacting with their content. Additionally, individuals contracting their hardware decide how much of their processing power they seek to sell out and at what times of day, making the process as comfortable and efficient for everyone involved as possible.
The alpha of this platform (Version 1) is slated to launch at the beginning of 2018. Along with this first version, the source code will be made public for members of the community to view and contribute to. As testing continues, more tools will be integrated onto the platform, with a public beta currently planned for this time next year.
Beyond acting as a decentralized internet, the platform promises a number of additional features for content creators and viewers. Developments are planned to include a number of developer -tool-kits and extensions. There will also be an app store specific to SUB users, where developers can sell or share their own developments on top of the peer-to-peer platform with all other users.
In an ISP environment where consumers experience content throttling and premium content packages, SUB offers an efficient and fair alternative. Beyond this, Substratum provides internet freedom to users based in censored jurisdictions, such as citizens of China. Furthermore, SUB brands itself as a cheaper alternative to traditional means of web hosting and browsing.
Critics of this project may claim that, although Substratum is branded differently, this project does not adequately distinguish itself from existing cloud computing cryptocurrencies, such as Elastic (XEL) and Golem (GNT). These projects, which have been in development and circulation for longer, may pose a threat when standing against SUB.
On top of this, while SUB explains heavily why their system is better for consumers, it does not explain the drawback that hosts will have to the network. For existing physical web hosts, it’s impractical for them to forfeit existing, subscription-based profits to participate in this new, pay-as-you-go system. Additionally, SUB does not appear to represent a more resource efficient alternative to mining for the household PC. If contracting one’s internet access is not less resource intensive, or does not payout at higher rates that traditional crypto mining, it’s unlikely that significant participation in the network will be experienced.
Regardless of your views towards Substratum, it is clear that, at this point in time, this project is leading the fight against Net Neutrality repeals in the cryptocurrency sphere. Whether a competitor will overtake them or not can only be seen through the passing of time.