BitMesh is a platform that allows users to share their bandwidth or Internet connections with others in exchange for bitcoin. Without the involvement of third-party escrow or contracts, users can achieve a mutual negotiation for the pricing and share Internet freely and cheaply.
The BitMesh development team has already developed a working prototype in which users can set up a BitMesh server on a raspberry pi and connect several clients to it. Similar to other bitcoin platforms like JoyStream, which lets users pay very small amounts of bitcoin in exchange for a minimal service like leeching a torrent, the BitMesh network uses bitcoin micropayment channels for its server and clients. The implementation of the bitcoin micropayment technology enables users to prepay for the bandwidth that they would like to use, and it also enables the BitMesh server to measure both used and remaining Internet time with a captive portal.
Once BitMesh is launched, it will create a friendlier and easier environment for anyone who hopes to share their extra bandwidth for money, and for those willing to pay for Internet only for the amount of time which they’d like to use. This also helps people without mobile data plans or expensive WiFi plans to connect to the Internet instantly, especially while travelling.
For example, let’s say Bob is travelling and he urgently needs to check his email but all the WiFI networks nearby are locked. In the same place, Bob finds Alice using an unlimited prepaid mobile data plan and he would really like to use her bandwidth and pay for what he has used. However, Bob cannot find a way to incentivize or pay her for the amount that he used, because
- It is hard to track how long he has stayed on the Internet and the amount of bandwidth that he consumed from Alice’s mobile data plan.
- Bob cannot find a medium of payment to reward Alice for the bandwidth that she has provided Bob. Existing platforms like Paypal are not efficient, as they charge high transaction fees and take a long time in processing payments.
With bitcoin and BitMesh however, Bob can track the amount of bandwidth he has used, and agree with Alice with a price beforehand, to pay her for the duration of his usage. After the payments are calculated, bitcoin micropayment channels allow Alice to receive payments in bitcoin instantly, which she can verify soon after.
For users to connect to the BitMesh network, they will first connect their devices to a BitMesh WiFI connection nearby.
After they find a signal, they can instantly connect to BitMesh WiFi and start using it, and pay only for what they have used at the end of their usage with bitcoin.
“BitMesh is the first commercial app to use Bitcoin’s trustless escrow technology called micropayment channels. What that means is that there are no contracts, no commitments, no login screens and monetize your existing devices,” explained BitMesh co-founder and CVO Chris Smith.
BitMesh is currently incubated by prominent Bitcoin venture capital firm Boost VC, and has already presented their prototypes to investors and other panelists. With the help of Boost VC, BitMesh will be introduced to large silicon valley investors and raise funding rounds to market and develop their network.
The company has already attracted several bitcoin entrepreneurs and investors including security expert and the host of Let’s Talk Bitcoin podcast series Andreas M. Antonopolous. He shared his excitement about this project on Twitter, saying “Bitmesh uses bitcoin micropayments to share Wifi in a mesh network. Amazing, have been waiting for this!”
Joseph is a web developer and designer, writer and a passionate musician who loves to travel. He has worked as a researcher for a number of venture capital firms and as a freelancer designer for resorts and corporations in Korea and the Philippines.