What is Magic For?
Magic wants to bring the internet to everyone, everywhere, and to make connecting to it so simple and seamless that it works like, well, magic.
Not having access to the internet means being cut off form large and growing sections of the economy, social life, and the public sphere. We think that makes having reliable, secure access to the internet a human right, and we’re building Magic to make that access universal.
Magic is distributed, permissionless supernetwork, designed to bring more and higher-quality coverage to more places with efficient markets, while resisting capture and monopolization. It builds in state of the art security and privacy and bridges across legacy, modern, and future wireless technologies.
Magic allows devices to roam from network to network seamlessly and securely (like Magic 🧞✨), programmatically consuming and providing connectivity with fluidity.
This common marketplace creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to easily roll new coverage zones, and gives devices access to existing networks that previously existed as walled gardens, like siloed and overlapping WiFi networks, or cellular coverage from a single carrier instead of whichever one has the best coverage at a given moment. That multi-tenancy results in more efficient and profitable allocations of spectrum, and Magic is also backward compatible so that existing network providers can benefit from the connectivity marketplace that it creates.
What is Magic, Specifically?
If we were to design the Internet all over again, it’s a good bet we wouldn’t build what we have today: A giant advertising oligopoly where consumers trade privacy for free services, and which is so insecure that hackers and criminals run wild. — Jeff John Roberts
Magic is a set of free, open-source software packages that together make up a new infrastructure layer for transacting for internet access. They’re designed to address several major challenges with modern internet access:
Challenges with the Current State of Internet Access
- Customer experience and accessibility—Users only get internet over wifi at one of a handful of spots around the world, otherwise using slower and more expensive cellular coverage. Even then they only get the coverage of one network provider, and they only got access to that through a thicket of lengthy contracts. All of which makes it even harder for machines and connected devices to get online; it takes manual human intervention to exchange credentials for access, limiting how much devices can really operate autonomously. Magic creates a universal payment API for wireless connectivity, so consumers and devices can buy and pay for access on-demand and without configuration.
- Security — Using public wifi hotspots opens even sophisticated users up to a wide array of security threats. And setting up a network to admit untrusted users is tricky and dangerous too. There’s already more than enough wifi to go around, but it’s all locked away in little walled gardens because it’s too hard and too expensive to learn how to share. In economic terms, the transaction costs (largely driven by security concerns) are too high. Magic builds in state of the art security and privacy protections to make sharing wireless access safe for users and for providers alike, vastly expanding the amount of sharing everyone can do.
- Scaling, offloading, and roaming—Because we can’t share wifi networks, everyone has to run their own, crowding the unlicensed spectrum. That keeps more traffic heading overcrowded cellular networks even though there’s plenty of wifi capacity it could be offloaded onto. Meanwhile, a provider’s network is only useful if it covers the whole country, so decisions about where to expand capacity have to be made by giant continent-spanning bureaucracies and it’s hard to delegate those decisions down to incorporate micro-scale information. Magic creates a worldwide marketplace for connectivity, so anyone can set up new access points—wifi or cellular—where they’re needed most, guided by local usage and pricing.
Magic as Proposed Solution
Magic solves these problems with:
- a native protocol token for authentication and auditing
- an API with standardized terms for automated negotiation
- micropayment channels for settlement
- open-source client applications to allow any device to connect
The fundamental innovation of blockchain allows the decentralized and trustless coordination necessary for a fluid connectivity marketplace to exist. Multi-sided marketplaces are natural sites of monopoly and monopsony power that lead to high prices and under-supply, but the blockchain allows Magic to run a permissionless API to ensure that the market stays open to new entrants.
Papers and Living Roadmap
For starters, we’ve compiled materials to explain what Magic is, who it is for, and our progress to date. We will continue to update this page as we go!
Introducing Magic (non-technical)
- Litepaper: What Makes the Magic Network so Magical? (Medium)
- Introducing Magic blog announcement (Medium)
What is Magic (technical)
- Technical White Paper (Forthcoming)
- Economic Model (Forthcoming)
Networking and Security
- Threat models for public wifi (Hackernoon)
- Why there is still unencrypted internet traffic (Hackernoon)