Roadmap/Working Product: Testnet launched in June. Mainnet launch: Unknown
· Market Cap: ~$8,681,027
· Circulating Supply: 383,021,000
· Total Supply: 472,000,000
· Funds raised through ICO: $13,800,000
· ICO ended: Sept. 17, 2017
· ICO Price: 1 SUB = $.081
· Today’s price: $.022
· ERC20? Yes
· Exchanges: Most volume on HitBTC and COSS
“Substratum is creating an open-source foundation for a decentralized web which will provide unrestricted and uncensored access to content and sharing of information for users across the globe. Our mission is to bring forth the free and fair Internet of the future to help solve many of the problems that plague the modern Internet.”
Substratum is an open-source network that allows anyone to allocate spare resources on their computer to provide free and fair Internet to the entire world. The Substratum Network is a worldwide collection of nodes that work to securely deliver content without the need of a VPN or Tor. There is no single authority delivering or monitoring content, so it is free of censorship and geo-restrictions. It doesn’t matter where you live or what content you’re accessing, everyone in the world can access the same content.
The Current Problem with the Internet
Net neutrality is in danger. It is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) treat all Internet content uniformly and not discriminate amongst creators or provider preferential treatment to those that could or would pay for it. However, in December 2017, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality. With the abolishment of net neutrality, what you can see on the Internet, along with the quality of your connection, are at risk of falling victim to the profit-seeking whims of powerful telecommunications giants. These giants could disfavor controversial viewpoints or smaller websites and favor content providers who have the money to pay for better access.
Censorship and threats to net neutrality are more prevalent than ever as the Internet has become broadly more centralized. In China, search engines like Baidu censor certain information to comply with the Country’s authoritarian Internet rules. Some U.S companies, such as Apple and Microsoft, censor info in China per the Chinese government’s rules, as a condition to access the country’s population of more than 800 million people. Social media platforms in China, such as WeChat are heavily censored as well. The government has the ability to ban anyone’s WeChat account at any time in addition to monitoring what people are doing, saying and how they are spending on the app. China is just one example of government censorship, as government censorship is prevalent worldwide.
Substratum, a Possible Solution
The current Internet, as outlined above, is one that is centralized and subject to a host of issues, such as censorship. A decentralized Internet eliminates the centralization issues and the dangers of a single authority controlling content. In addition, decentralization provides net neutrality because all sites have equal access, allowing users to browse without the need for an ISP. Due to encryption, the Substratum Network cannot be monitored, so government control is not a concern.
The Substratum Network: How Does it Work
In brief, the Substratum Network is a global network that allows anyone to host or access web content through nodes on the Substratum blockchain. Accessing content on the network requires you to simply put the URL into your browser of choice.
Substratum Nodes- Substratum Nodes transfer content from hosts to web users. Anyone who runs a node is paid in SUB (more about SUB below).
Substratum Host- Substratum Host enables a site owner to run their own websites and manage their domains, databases and pay hosting fees. All you need to do, if you are looking to host, is to install the Substratum software and run the program. Once it’s up, your computer acts like a miniature-server, syncing up to other nodes on the network to create a portal for users to access the Internet.
A more nuanced explanation as to how it all works can be found here.
Ease of Use and Incentivized Participation
The team at Substratum has made it very easy to host content. As stated above, all that is needed is to install the Substratum software and run the program. Businesses and corporations will be able to host application, websites and databases on the Substratum platform. This will serve as an alternative to larger, centralized server hosts like Go Daddy and Amazon.
Hosts are paid in Substrate (SUB), Substratum’s token, to compensate for their efforts. Companies and individuals can use SUB to pay hosters to host their websites and applications. The way to think of the SUB cryptocurrency is of it being the fuel that powers the Substratum network.
Furthering Substratum Through CryptoPay
CryptoPay is another product from the Substratum team. It is an online wallet that allows Substratum users to spend and store currencies like USD, BTC and SUB. Cryptopay will be available for any site or application on the network and allows users to accept and process transactions using any publicly traded coin, as well as credit cards. It will also have simple tools to enable website or app owners to integrate it easily. (similar to how website owners currently add PayPal to their sites as a payment method). The payment system, which functions similar to stripe or PayPal, first converts a payment into Substrate and afterward pays the host in their preferred currency.
Background and Team
The Substratum team is made up of software developers, product engineers, web developers and marketing experts, all with around 20–30 years of experience in their fields. To show their dedication and confidence in the project, the team, at ICO, received no shares of tokens and will only receive a stake in the project upon the release of the first version of Substratum.
The team is very involved with the community as well as they host Show & Tells weekly to keep the community up to speed as to what is going on. CEO Justin Tabb is also very active with the community as well and responds to all rumors about the project. For instance, many people believed that Substratum hired a day-trader because they were struggling financially. Justin quickly replied to that rumor and showed that no ICO funds were recently moved.
Roadblocks, Issues and Red Flags with Substratum
There are several possible roadblocks or issues Substratum could have. Some of these include:
· Regulatory issues: The U.S. Government could likely shut down the project or work on the project if they felt it was a threat or a national concern. Any country can likely impede or stop development of the project.
· No updated Roadmap: There has not been an updated roadmap for over a year now. (latest roadmap found below). I have been following this project since its inception and am still waiting for the release of a product in full production.
· Lofty aspirations: For the project to be successful, there needs to be large media and marketing campaigns. Businesses and corporations must learn about Substratum and then agree to host on their platform. A tall task for any company.
· Rumors: Rumor circulated that the team was trading the funds they raised. While this is not likely true, such rumors lead to Binance (currently the biggest crypto exchange) delisting the project. More info on this debacle can be found here.
· No liquidity: After the delisting, the price of the token dropped 50% and has had very poor volume since. The volume has been less than $50,000 since the delisting, and the other exchanges the token is trading on are not well known.
· Low to no interest in blocked sites and information: Researchers at Peking and Harvard Universities published results from a controlled experiment in which 900 Chinese students received an unfiltered connection to the outside world. Those given a chance to sidestep censorship displayed little interest in blocked sites and information. “It’s not the case that people are hungering for banned content.” The system has worked in that people don’t know what they’re missing and don’t demand it.
The team at Substratum will also have to find avenues to teach people what they don’t know about, i.e.: every piece of info that is censored by their country.
Substratum is a logical extension in the trend of decentralization and one that can have very important benefits for users around the world. With the fall of net neutrality in the US, websites will begin to be treated differently on the traditional web. Substratum offers a solution to these problems by allowing a truly free internet. While Substratum’s goals are noble, they are also very lofty. There are a host of issues that may impede the company’s success, such as governmental interference and getting businesses and corporations to agree to host on their platform. The issue of liquidity is also a concern. While I am a big fan of the team, the project and their goals, it is still the early days for this project, and it remains to be seen whether this project will be successful in the long haul.
***DISCLAIMER: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.