Blockchain Project Review: Orchid Protocol:8.0 Decentralized, Open-Source Technology for an Internet Free From Surveillance and Censorship

Original article by EVALUAPE

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A. Introduction

The Orchid Protocol is the decentralized, open-source technology for an Internet free from surveillance and censorship.

Advantage:

• Allstar Team

• Advanced-version of Tor

Disadvantage:

• No report on progress

• No communication channels

B. Industry

According to USA Today, 75% of the world’s most popular websites have tracking code on their pages. For people who seek safe and unrestricted access to the internet, they have options such as VPN and Tor. According to the Statista, in 2022, the global VPN market is forecast to reach 35.73 billion U.S. dollars. VPNs are popular among consumers for obfuscating their real location, whether to access geo-blocked services or bypass censorship or other restrictions.

Some people use traditional VPN for secure and anonymous access to the internet but VPN users should not assume that their connection is truly secure or anonymous since VPN providers are centralized. VPN providers are fully capable to sell and share internet access data. Tor is an alternative solution.

Tor is a free software project famous for introducing the idea of Onion Routing to a wider audience. In this system, users download a global list of relays and exit nodes, randomly select from that list, and form onion routes from their selection. Onion routes are an ordered list of relays; packets sent along an onion route are encrypted for each peer, in turn, ensuring that each node must have received a packet enroute for it to be understood by the exit node. The result is that unless several nodes are compromised or run by the same user, no two relays know both who sent a packet and where it went. Tor’s use of centralized node selection and reliance on volunteers to provide node services, including exit node services, negatively impacts Tor’s throughput. This stems from Tor’s inability to use BitTorrent or other P2P file sharing systems, and from the ability of exit nodes to inspect the contents of exit traffic. In addition, Tor has no mechanism for preventing exit nodes from being forced to access illegal or dangerous information on behalf of other users. These problems can be solved by blockchain technology.

There exists some blockchain project such as Mysterium and Substratum. They both completed crowdsales but these two projects are not backed by any famous investors and two teams do not seem to be as competitive as Orchid Protocol. But they both have some working products available right now while Orchid Protocol has nothing to show.(8/10)

C. Mode

The Orchid Protocol can be interpreted as a Tor network without voluntary nodes. Instead, people pay nodes for the service by cryptocurrency. The Orchid Protocol organizes bandwidth sellers into a structured peer-to-peer (P2P) network termed the Orchid Market. Customers connect to the Orchid Market and pay bandwidth sellers in order to form a proxy chain to a specific resource on the Internet. The Orchid Market is a distributed P2P network that facilitates the purchase and sale of bandwidth among Relays, Proxies, and Users. Fully decentralized, fully anonymous digital systems suffer from attacks in which a single malicious user pretends to be thousands of users (Sybil Attacks). To mitigate the generation of Sybils and other effects of this class of attack, the Orchid Protocol employs a proof-of-work scheme — Medallion. Each Medallion contains data that cryptographically demonstrates the generator possessed a sizable computation resource at a given time. As computation is an expensive resource, the use of Medallions places budgetary limitations on a given attacker’s ability to impersonate multiple users.

Overall, the Orchid Protocol is a more sustainable version of the Tor network that user spends

token to maintain nodes. But upgrading Tor with payment system comes with new problems, which requires more complicated programming. Tor does not have enough nodes alive in the network. Thus, Tor is focused on users remaining anonymous towards certain websites, whereas Orchid is for any type of browsing.(9/10)

D. Technology

The roles of the participants of a proxy chain are:

• source node or customer — the participant initiating a transaction.

• relay node — intermediary participants that forward network traffic.

• proxy or exit node — participant that connects to a requested global Internet site.

• emphbandwidth seller — a relay or proxy.

The Orchid Market is the foundation on which the Orchid Protocol is built. Fundamentally, it is a distributed P2P network that facilitates the purchase and sale of bandwidth among Relays, Proxies, and Users. Entry to and continued participation in the market is gained by presentation of proof-of-work which is called Medallion in the whitepaper. The Orchid Market’s network a structure is similar to a Distributed Hash Table (DHT). The operations supported by Peddlers on the Orchid Market are:

• List Services. Asks the Peddler for a list of services it sells.

• Get Routing Table and Medallion. This returns the Peddler’s Medallion, a signed routing table, and

• the cost of relaying traffic to members of the routing table.

• Relay Traffic. Pays the Peddler to forward traffic to one of the peers in its routing table.

• Purchase Service. Employ the Peddler as a service provider.

To achieve anonymity, both Peddlers and customers should be uncorrelated to account addresses, payment amounts, or time. The Orchid payments discussed designed in the whitepaper are as pseudo-anonymous as regular Ethereum transactions are; all transactions are public including the amount and the sender and recipient accounts. The Orchid Client aims to improve on the default pseudo anonymity of public blockchain transactions by modern wallet techniques such as one-time addresses and use of HD wallets to provide unlinkability of payment addresses despite using a single root key.

The most critical problem of the project is that it has no GitHub and no roadmap. The team has not updated their technical progress since they started the project.(6/10)

E. Team

There is no team member listed on their website, but there are seven members listed on the whitepaper. Steven Waterhouse, the CEO, and Cofounder graduated from Computer Science/Engineering Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge with a Ph.D. in Computer Science/Engineering. From its inception in 2013 until July 2016, Steven was a partner at Pantera Capital, focused on blockchain investments. He served on the board of Bitstamp until 2016. Brian Fox is the co-founder graduated from MIT. He is the first employee of the Free Software Foundation, and the author of the GNU Bash Shell. Jay Freeman, a software engineer known for creating the Cydia software application and related software for jailbroken iOS, is on the team. On the advisory end, they have Gavin Wood, the CTO, and Cofounder of the Ethereum project. Gustav Simonsson, the core developer of Ethereum foundation, is the board member of Orchid.(9.5/10)

F. Community

There is no team member listed on their website, but there are seven members listed on the whitepaper. Steven Waterhouse, the CEO, and Cofounder graduated from Computer Science/Engineering Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge with a Ph.D. in Computer Science/Engineering. From its inception in 2013 until July 2016, Steven was a partner at Pantera Capital, focused on blockchain investments. He served on the board of Bitstamp until 2016. Brian Fox is the co-founder graduated from MIT. He is the first employee of the Free Software Foundation, and the author of the GNU Bash Shell. Jay Freeman, a software engineer known for creating the Cydia software application and related software for jailbroken iOS, is on the team. On the advisory end, they have Gavin Wood, the CTO, and Cofounder of the Ethereum project. Gustav Simonsson, the core developer of Ethereum foundation, is the board member of Orchid.(6/10)

G. Conclusion

The concept of Orchid protocol is feasible and it can solve a real-life problem. The Orchid protocol team is capable to make it happen due to team members’ background. Though the team does not have much experience in blockchain development, team members have solid backgrounds and they are very talented. They also have a strong connection with the crypto communities. Orchid is also supported by numbers of top investors in its very early stage. The problem is that the team lacks communication with the community. There is not much progress on the project for the past few months. For an open-source project, transparency and communication are crucial for its success. Also, there is no roadmap available.

Hype Score: Medium High

Risk Score:Medium High

Expectation:Medium High

Total Score:8.0

All information in this article is provided for reference only and does not constitute investment advice.


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