SkiPi — My journey with Skywire

With June 2019 being the first anniversary of the launch of the Skywire Testnet, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my own journey with the Skycoin and Skywire projects — and to discuss what it was that first drew me in.

The land the Internet forgot

A long time ago, in a country far-far away (lets call it Australia), the internet was lacklustre at best. It would be a lie to describe the real-world access speeds (as opposed to the access speeds advertised by the ISP) as anything other than a shameful disappointment — but at the time there were no other options…

So the people rejoiced!

Actually they complained — a lot!

Eventually all that complaining about crappy internet speeds was noticed by the Government — who decided to do something about it. With limited consultation (because what would “experts” know), the Government committed to spend what could only be described as a F#*K load of money on a new “world-class” internet.

And the people rejoiced!

Actually they complained — a lot — because surprisingly the people were not F#*King idiots and could see the Governments plan would never deliver the real-world outcomes that were needed.

But what could the people do? In a country the internet forgot were few alternative options. The ISPs were very happy to continue providing crappy internet speeds at premium prices and the Governments new “world-class” internet wouldn’t change that.

The people knew of tools like Tor which could help to make their internet usage secure and anonymous — but because Tor uses the regular internet — it couldn’t help solve the speed problem.

Skywire — A new beginning

Several years past. The people had almost given up hope of ever being able to access a truely secure world-class internet service.

But the people started to hear whispers of something new.. something exciting… something that could make a difference.

In 2017 a close friend of mine started messaging me about “this awesome project” he had just got involved in. He said “it would change everything”.

“It’s a Crypto-project, and they are building their own internet” he told me.

Despite the exciting promise of such a project, I was aware the Crypto space at the time was flooded with scammers. Every scammer on the planet had launched their own shit-token and had scammed their investors out of millions. So lets just say I had a healthy dose of scepticism about anything Crypto-related.

Understanding the potential of the Skywire project, my friend persisted — asking me if I could help him by taking a look at the project from a technical perspective (as I have a software development background). Eventually I thought what the hell — I will do it.

So one weekend in Dec 2017, I cloned the Skycoin and Skywire repos from GitHub, sat down and started going through them.

First, I read the Whitepaper. I wanted to get an understanding of what the projects vision was and how they were positioning it for the public.

Next, I started digging into the code to see if it was aligned with the vision presented in the Whitepaper.

It took me a good few days to get my head around everything, but everything I was seeing checked out. Over the Christmas (2017) break and into early January (2018) I continued to dig through the code. By this time I had compiled the source and had a test Skywire Node running locally on my MacBook Pro as well as on my Linux servers.

I was now satisfied the project was not just another ICO scam. Skycoin Skywire had genuine world-changing potential — providing a new secure decentralised mesh network run by the people for the people. Just like my friend had told me — “Skywire would change everything”.

Join Skyfleet, Build Nodes

I joined the @Skycoin and @Skywire telegram groups and observed for a while. What I saw was a community (Skyfleet) working together with close interaction between the Core Team, the Community Managers and the broader Community.

It wasn’t long before I joined in and started to contribute as an active member of Skyfleet. At the time (early 2018) there were lots of questions coming from the community, and having been through the projects source code, I was well equipped to start helping to answer them. So I did.

I found myself up to all hours answering questions from community members all around the world wanting to get their Skywire Nodes up and running. Anything from building the source from GitHub, to configuring and running a Skywire Node, to more complex network, firewall and security related questions. Through this period of time I formed great relationships with other key members of the Skyfleet community as well as the Core team.

One question that kept popping up was if Skywire could be run on a Raspberry Pi. There were a lot of people asking and a lot of people suggesting it couldn’t be done — I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t work however. Logically it should just work — after all, Skywire is written in Go and Go is available on the RaspberryPi platform.

So I gave it a shot. I setup Skywire on a spare Raspberry Pi board I had laying around and unsurprisingly (to me) it did just work. Based on my experience setting up Skywire on the Raspberry Pi, I wrote the SkiPi Howto guide explaining how to build your own DIY Skywire Node and released it on GitHub.

As it turned out, this became a very popular guide. It spawned a whole new era of DIY Skywire Nodes based on the Raspberry Pi boards. Prior to this, most DIY Skywire Nodes followed the hardware options of official Skyminer and used the Orange Pi boards — which because of the success and interest in Skywire, global supply had become extremely limited.

Have Nodes, Want Uptime!

After a period of helping people to build and configure Raspberry Pi Skywire Nodes, I realised there were other questions that now needed answers.

Following the launch of the Skywire Testnet (June 2018), many people were keen to ensure their whitelisted Skywire Nodes met the minimum required uptime and were eligible for the monthly Skycoin ($SKY) rewards.

At the time another Skyfleet community member had build a very useful website that could be used to check the monthly up-time of your Skywire Nodes — however the check was manual, and if you didn’t check daily you risked missing out on the monthly rewards should one of your Nodes go offline for any reason.

Enter Wing Commander — a Telegram Bot I designed and built that could be deployed quickly and easily by the owner of a set of Skywire Nodes (known as a Skyminer) to monitor their status and provide real-time alerts should any Node become disconnected — locally or from the central Discovery Server.

Wing Commander quickly grew in popularity amongst the Skyfleet who were eager to ensure their Skywire Nodes remained online — or be alerted should they need to take action to restart or reconnect them (i.e. due to internet or power outage, etc).

Wing Commander Telegram Bot — Heartbeat Notification

We are Skyfleet

So my journey with Skycoin and Skywire to this point have been very exciting — and no doubt will continue to be as it continues to grow and deliver.

The project has truly captured my focus — and not because its a Crypto project — I’m not here for Lambos— but because of its strong vision, its rich diversity (hardware, software, programming languages), its continuing ability to deliver, and also because of the passion and commitment that can be found within its community — the Skyfleet.

We are Skyfleet.

Want to know more?

If you would like to find out more about Skycoin, Skywire, CX or any other aspect of these incredible projects, I have compiled a list of links which will help.

Website: https://www.skycoin.com/

Store: https://store.skycoin.com

Skycoin Telegram: https://t.me/Skycoin

Skywire Telegram: https://t.me/Skywire

Skycoin User Group: https://skywug.net/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Skycoinproject

Skycoin Project GitHub: https://github.com/skycoinproject/

Reddit: https://reddit.com/r/Skycoin

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