Magic is on a mission to redefine what it means to access the Internet. Magic’s supernetwork combines wifi networks under a single performant secure system. Learn more on magic.co and join the waitlist.
In the second half of this article, I outline the major tenets of the Magic ecosystem. But first, I felt it valuable to review the current limiting beliefs most of us share on what Internet access means.
The Public’s View of Internet Access is Far From 20/20
I spent the better part of a day approaching strangers in public places, telling them I was writing an article about the Internet, and asking the question, “Relative to where we are standing right now, where, exactly, is the Internet? Could you show me an example of where I can find the Internet if I wanted to use it?”
The majority of people ignored me. Out of the about two dozen people who did entertain my question, the responses were as follows:
- Several people didn’t know.
- Many people mentioned that it’s, basically, all over the Earth or all around us; one even said it’s pervasive.
- Most pulled out or held up their mobile phones, and a few showed me their web browsers, specifically.
- A few people referred to the Internet being present at their homes but didn’t want to take me back to their places to use it when I asked.
- Many mentioned the fact that I should be able to find a public Wi-Fi network somewhere, but didn’t know exactly where it was offered when asked — ( they probably could have thought of some examples if I really pressed them, but it wasn’t an immediate answer and seemingly not effortless knowledge).
- One showed me a list of nearby Wi-Fi networks. Most were private, but there seemed to be one public network in range that had a strong enough signal that I might be able to connect to. It required a guest password though, so we had to settle for a less-strong guest network before getting online. It seemed to work pretty well in the end — I bought that person a thank-you coffee.
What Internet of Today Could Become Tomorrow
I might have gotten online faster if I had simply asked for assistance in doing so, but I was more interested in observing people’s perspectives on where is Internet access available. I found it interesting that the majority of answers included people’s own accounts (their mobile phone plans, home ISP connections) and that a good number of answers indicated that it’s all around us, and the fact that public Wi-Fi networks exist, but it seemed to require really hunting to find a public network.
When digging further, the majority of networks in my vicinity at the time were private, password-protected networks, and it took some manual intervention to get onto a network (which I failed to mention also required agreeing to some Terms and Conditions I didn’t read before the network actually turned on the faucet to quench my Internet thirst).
The easiest, albeit the most expensive, path to the Internet while out and about is simply using a mobile phone plan subscription. Guest Wi-Fi is available, after some manual human intervention and some Terms of Service administrivia, but it isn’t automatic like cellular data. There are so many private Wi-Fi networks, but so little time to make friends and build up the trust needed to be given their precious keys.
“Network trust issues prevent the Internet of tomorrow.”
This is a bad example of technology improving our lives. The fact that we utilize a mobile phone plan when we are stationary and in a populated place, and even needing to hunt through trial and error for public-intended connectivity, are indicators that Internet access is a broken mess.
More so, all of the private, key-protected networks around us that only allow trusted parties access indicate a security failure — letting a device onto a network should not be so dangerous that we need to lock it down to only trusted users or have guests be on completely unprotected open networks with liability disclaimers.
“The future of the Internet is abundant, seamless, performant connectivity.”
I believe our future of the Internet is not only pervasive, but accessible, and not only performant but also efficient in order to maximize performance with minimal cost. To achieve perfect availability and efficiency (in terms of both cost and resources) we need dynamic ways to share, rather than everybody having their own overlapping (and often interfering) network connections.
To share, we need to eliminate the fundamental flaws that make it necessary to trust those we share access to our networks with, and people need the ability to access the Internet through the best path available to them at the time and the freedom to move to a new path when a better one presents itself.
“The Magic Network is a supernetwork…”
The Magic Network is a supernetwork, which is a bunch of individual networks all around the world, each connected to the Internet and collaborating under the common goal of improving accessibility and efficiency. Magic is the glue that holds this together by defining and enforcing the necessary behaviors and relationships.
The Parts of Magic for the Internet of Tomorrow
In order to an environment where the Magic Network can exist we need to create the following conditions:
1. Secure Identity — Magic creates a global pseudonymous identity that allows networks to recognize you and your devices for how well-behaved you are, rewarding you and others for how well you contribute to the benefit of the Magic network, and preventing bad actors and hackers from wreaking havoc.
2. Secure Access — Magic makes it safe for strangers to exist on the same network in a completely trustless fashion, and safe for networks to share their Internet access with guests without compromising the security of other devices on the network (such as printers, TVs, computers, and other devices). Technically-speaking, Magic accomplishes this separation by being a first to bring a concept known as capabilities-based security to networks.
3. Private Access — Magic maintains privacy no matter what network you’re connected to using VPN technologies, so other guests and not even the network owner can see your personal data. Additionally, the global identity is pseudonymous, so networks you connect to don’t know any personally identifiable information. Magic also ensures that you’re free to use any VPN or anonymity software you prefer if you’re at-risk or simply healthily paranoid :-).
4. Connectivity Marketplace — Some networks provide free Internet access, but to incentivize additional networks to share their Internet access and invest in upgrades and improvements to the Internet access they provide, Magic creates an open and democratized marketplace for sharing connectivity — -anyone can provide access, from ISPs to you and me. Strangers can provide and consume Internet access in a trustless fashion, meaning that consumers are assured that they will only pay for services that they have actually been provided, and providers are assured that they will be paid for services that are consumed. Magic aims to ensure minimum quality standards are met as agreed. To provide all participants in the marketplace assurance that the marketplace is fair and will continue to function as it was designed, a combination between open source software and public blockchain smart contracts are used so that there literally cannot exist any unknowable surprises.
5. Freedom and Mobility — Magic enhances users’ experience by making it possible to automatically connect to a network, and to move between networks if a network goes out of range or if one just isn’t providing the best Internet access possible. To do this, Magic removes inconveniences that would otherwise make switching networks burdensome. This seamless experience is made possible by mobility enablers, a technology created by Magic, which accelerates the ability to establish identity-based authentication, trustless payments, and mobile IP (Internet data sessions that persist from network to network).
Cryptography needed for a better internet
Magic implements each of these aspects using cryptography, mathematical proofs, and decentralized consensus mechanisms. In fact, each of these aspects will be described in their very own articles. The result is a single, unified global supernetwork, which provides users the experience that they would expect from a single network, but anywhere they go where Magic is offered.
We live in a world of abundant access to the internet. Unfortunately, the world lacks fundamental network security which limits this abundant access to only a few. This results in significant waste, inefficiencies, and unneeded expenses.
Magic’s family of technology aims to provide a single global supernetwork opening Internet access to everyone and everything. If Magic sounds interesting we’d like to invite you to join our waiting list at magic.co
As of this blog post, Magic is in Developer preview — if you’d like to receive early access please specify you’re interested in becoming a Provider and we’ll add you to the queue.