Exploring Orchid Crypto – A Decentralized Virtual Private Network

Written by Ivan on Tech

Oct 31, 2020

Internet privacy and security is on more people’s minds than ever, and the increasing digitalization is only making this more obvious. As such, VPNs are more popular than ever. These tools allow users to surf the web privately and more anonymously, without the risk of hackers acquiring sensitive information. Along with the increase in VPN interest, we can also see that the crypto market is rapidly growing. Developers are launching innovations and new applications with blockchain technology at the foundation. The development in these two fields has led to the creation of the Orchid crypto VPN application – a new decentralized VPN developed using blockchain technology. 

Decentralized solutions leveraging blockchain technology are becoming increasingly common. Consequently, Orchid VPN is just the latest in a long line of various decentralized solutions. If you want to learn more about the blockchain field, Ivan on Tech Academy is the obvious choice. Over 20,000 students have already enrolled in the Academy to learn about blockchain, cryptocurrency, decentralized finance and much more. Supercharge your crypto knowledge with world-class blockchain courses!

What is a VPN (Virtual Private Network)? 

To understand what Orchid crypto is, we must first establish what a VPN is. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and the primary function of this tool is to protect the user. The internet is one of the greatest innovations of all time, but there are risks with the World Wide Web. 

One of the functions that a VPN has is encrypting the user’s traffic, which helps the user to privatize their actions online. This is mainly done to protect the integrity of the VPN users. The issue of integrity is increasing on the internet, and many external threats can harm users’ privacy. 

Along with protecting the user’s integrity, VPNs have some other useful functions. A VPN can give the user access to information or services that are usually not available in a country or region. For example, if you live in the US, a VPN can give you access to the series and films on Netflix that are only available in a European country. Furthermore, a VPN is advantageous when using public Wi-Fi. When surfing the internet on a public Wi-Fi, you are exposed to the threat that hackers can get a hold of sensitive information such as passwords or other vital data. However, this is a risk that a VPN can eliminate. 

A VPN is a data tunnel that makes it look like you are surfing the web from another location. The VPN creates the tunnel between an exit node and the network you are using, making it seem like you are in another place. This will also hide or change your IP address, meaning that it is harder for people to access your information. Furthermore, the VPN will encrypt the data, indicating that it can not be read without the key.  

What is Orchid crypto? 

Now that we have established what and why we should use a VPN, we can move on to this article’s central part. Orchid offers its users a decentralized virtual private network. This decentralized VPN allows the user to connect to a global pool of bandwidth suppliers. The providers of the VPN are people sharing their extra bandwidth by staking Orchid tokens. 

It is the providers then that are the nodes that provide the private connection to the users. These nodes are available for anyone in the world, no matter the location, and they can be found in a decentralized Ethereum smart contract. 

The users pay for the Orchid VPN using OXT, which are ERC-20 tokens. Moreover, to use Orchid, the user will need OXT, a Web3 crypto wallet, and the Orchid application. 

Put simply, Orchid consists of two parts; the Orchid application and the Orchid token: 

The Token

Orchid’s token is known as the OXT token, and it is a cryptocurrency that utilizes the Ethereum blockchain to function. This is, as mentioned above, the method of payment for using the Orchid VPN. What’s more, OXT tokens are available for purchase on Coinbase. 

The Application

As with all VPN services, the Orchid app provides the user with an alternative to surf the internet securely and privately. However, what makes Orchid VPN different is that the application is a peer-to-peer alternative to regular VPNs. This means that through the usage of the Orchid application, the user can browse the internet privately from anywhere in the world. 

How Does Orchid Crypto VPN Work? 

Orchid is a crypto-solution to a traditional VPN, which means this version uses blockchain technology. The application is running on the Ethereum blockchain, which means that the service uses decentralized servers.

What makes this VPN possible is something that Orchid is calling “probabilistic nano-payments.” This innovation allows the user to be charged per IP packet, which means that they will only have to pay for the bandwidth they use. Since there is no central authority taking advantage of the users they can exchange value through the system without having to pay high transaction fees. Moreover, the system of nano-payments is part of an off-chain system. However, unlike traditional payment methods, this is a more private alternative, and it is only available due to the utilization of smart contracts. 

To become a provider, the user must stake OXT to create a stake deposit. When a user stakes OXT and the funds are locked into the deposit, it can be used for bandwidth provisioning. Once a person has staked the OXT, they can operate an Orchid Node. The more OXT that the person stakes, the greater is the chance to get a reward.  

How to get started with Orchid VPN

The first step to using Orchid VPN is to acquire their token, the OXT token. This can be done by purchasing tokens on Coinbase using either regular fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Coinbase is a well-established cryptocurrency portfolio where you can buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies. 

Along with the purchase of OXT, you will also need to acquire some Ether. The reason that Ether is required along with the OXT is the fact that the Ethereum network requires a transaction fee. Once the two cryptocurrencies are in your possession, these need to be sent to a Web3-enabled wallet. You are required to have a Web3-enabled wallet since these enable access to the 3rd generation of the web, including dApps. 

After the currencies are in place, you need to connect to Orchid through the crypto wallet. You can just tap the dApp-browser in the wallet user interface to connect to the Orchid application. You can then type account.orchid.com/earn into the URL bar and follow the instructions that will pop up on the screen. After that, the last step is to download the application. 

These steps won’t seem difficult to anyone who is accustomed to using decentralized applications (dApps) before, or who have previously acquired crypto tokens. Nevertheless, if you feel like a stranger to the crypto field, you should definitely check out the blockchain education platform Ivan on Tech Academy. Best of all, you can get a 20% discount when enrolling on courses if you use the promo code BLOG20!

Orchid Purchased Accounts 

Another way to get started with Orchid VPN is to purchase an account in the app. This is possible in the iOS application using regular fiat currency. Orchid calls these accounts for “Orchid Credits.” However, these accounts have some limitations where one of them is that the users can not withdraw the OXT. Instead, they need to spend the already preloaded OXT on the platform. Another neat feature is that all Orchid accounts can be shared with as many users as one wishes too. 

So, where does the money go when purchasing Orchid credits? 

  • First of all, you purchase a balance that the user can spend on the platform. The amount of OXT that the account is preloaded with depends on the chosen pricing tier. 
  • An amount of the purchase is invested as a deposit since this is required for participation in the Orchid network. The reason for this is that it is a deterrent as well as a determinant for ticket sizing. 
  • ETH gas is required for the system, which means that a small amount of the credits covers the gas cost. 
  • Transaction fees for purchasing in fiat currency 

These purchased accounts exist to make the service available to a broader range of people. These might be users that are not familiar with the crypto world and do not have the competence or time to deal with the intricacies. As one fundamental aspect of Orchid VPN is privacy, they do not store any information during purchasing Orchid credits or when the application is in use.

VPN vs. Decentralized VPN

There is no doubt that the concept of a VPN is excellent and provides many benefits to the users. However, there are some drawbacks to centralized VPNs that we need to consider. One problem with regular VPNs is that they, for example, can sell you data to advertisers or governments, and this somewhat defeats the purpose of a VPN.

However, there are good VPNs out there that do not share your data with a third party, but it all depends on the provider. Providers of free VPNs are often the ones that share the data, and the reason for that is money. Since the service that these companies provide is “free,” they need to get revenue somehow, and the solution is selling data. 

Furthermore, since traditional VPNs are centralized, they are more exposed to external threats. The providers accumulate data in a single, central collection point, which means hackers can get their hands on this information. 

Orchid solves this problem by providing a version of a VPN that is decentralized. This means that the issue of selling data is gone since there is no central authority that can gather large samples of your data. However, when connecting to the Orchid VPN, you are still going through one provider. Nevertheless, you can choose to change the provider whenever you want, and for the data to be valuable for the providers, they need to aggregate a lot of your data and create a profile that they then can sell to advertisers. 

When using a regular VPN, it is not possible to change the provider, you can only change the private server that you are using. So when using Orchid, you actually use different suppliers which eliminates the problem of a provider accumulating information about the users. 

Orchid Crypto (OXT)

The Orchid VPN’s currency is called OXT, and this is a fundamental part of the system. OXT is an Ethereum (ERC-20) token, and this is the currency used to pay for the Orchid VPN service. Furthermore, the nodes that are the providers also receive their payment in this same token for supplying bandwidth. 

At the moment, one OXT is worth $0.21, but as with all cryptocurrencies, it is continuously fluctuating. In the middle of August this year, OXT reached $0.72 and has been steadily declining since. The currency has a current market cap of $206.3 million. There is also a limit to how many tokens can and will exist, which is 1 billion. Furthermore, it is hard to estimate how many tokens are out there at the moment since they are released in frequent intervals but in varying amounts. 

The primary purpose of OXT is to keep track of who is using the computing services, who is providing the service, and to see if they are fairly compensated for their contributions. Along with this, two other reasons why the OXT is important for the application is: 

  1. Having a cryptocurrency that is directly tied to the bandwidth consumption on the network
  2. To have an incentive for the providers in the Orchid network. 

The Orchid VPN Protocol

Orchid VPN uses a particular VPN protocol that is similar to what WireGuard and OpenVPN utilize. The protocol runs on a WebRTC, which is a common web standard, and the protocol is designed for high-performance networking.

The protocol makes Orchid possible since it allows the users to remotely access network resources and pay for this service via the nano-payment system.

Orchid VPN – Summary

There is no doubt that privacy online is a growing issue, with social media and websites collecting information about their users. The best and most common solution to this privacy problem is a VPN. However, traditional VPNs are also prone to this problem since some providers collect and sell data regarding their users to advertisers. 

This is why the decentralized marketplace that is Orchid VPN came to be. To provide the opportunity of a truly private VPN where the users can safely surf the internet. Being able to change the provider whenever the user wants is a great benefit. Not only to limit the collection of user data but also if the provider’s connection is bad, the user can just change until they are satisfied. With all the benefits that a VPN provides, this is a given service for anyone using the internet. 

Not only are we seeing an increase in the use of VPNs but also in decentralized applications, and this is where Orchid VPN bridges the gap. 

If you would like to learn more about Orchid, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain, go ahead and tune in to the best crypto education platform Ivan on Tech Academy, for a vast selection of blockchain courses.

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