The DApp Ecosystem of TOP Network Part 1: A Deeper Look Into Dingtone, SkyVPN, and CoverME
You have probably heard about the apps that the founding team of TOP Network developed before even conceiving TOP Network. You may have also heard how these apps have garnered a combined user base of around 60 million, and will be ported over to TOP Network after the main net and necessary service networks are stable. Let’s take a closer look at what these apps actually do, how they will benefit from porting over, and the activity and volume they will bring to TOP Network.
For those of you who don’t know, the three apps previously developed by the founding team of TOP Network are SkyVPN, Dingtone, and CoverME. Since the VPN Service Network is the first of the service networks to be completed, this article will focus mainly on SkyVPN.
SkyVPN is a VPN app which has grown rapidly in popularity over the past few years. SkyVPN uses several advanced anti-blocking technologies such as anti-DPI (Deep Packet Inspection), traffic obfuscation, and the shadowsocks proxy protocol. This has allowed SkyVPN to stand out particularly well in countries where governments censor, block, and surveil Internet traffic. In total, SkyVPN has managed to accrue about 18 million users worldwide, with about 1 million Daily Active Users (DAU).
SkyVPN will likely be the first app to be ported over to TOP Network. The process will occur in two stages. In the first stage, user login and account information will be transferred from a centralized database onto the blockchain. At this stage, users will begin logging into SkyVPN using a private key, and all user profile information will be stored encrypted on the blockchain. In the next stage, SkyVPN will be transferred to the Decentralized VPN Service Network. SkyVPN will see several major benefits from porting over to TOP Network.
- Anonymity and Privacy
With traditional VPNs, the provider can easily see who is visiting which sites. This is unavoidable with centralized architectures, as both user profiles and user activity must be managed by the VPN provider. After SkyVPN is ported to TOP Network, it will no longer be possible to associate user activity with user profiles, as account information will be stored on the blockchain in full control of the end user. So while SkyVPN will still see certain anonymous account address activity, it will not be possible to associate that activity with a user profile, as profiles will no longer be controlled/stored by SkyVPN.
This solves one of the main issues with centralized VPNs. Users have to trust that the VPN providers themselves will not act in bad faith and compromise the privacy of users. For instance, some VPN providers collect user information and sell it to advertisers as their business model. After SkyVPN is ported, users will be in full control of their own data and account information, and so there will no longer be a need to trust the VPN provider.
Having potentially millions of VPN proxy/relay nodes will greatly increase security, anti-tracking, and anti-blocking. For traditional VPNs, the low and static number of VPN servers means it is possible in some cases for governments and ISPs to gain information regarding users’ online behavior. Even if the contents of packets are encrypted, metadata and statistical analysis can be used to gain insight into Internet traffic by finding patterns.
With TOP VPN Service Network, SkyVPN will be able to draw from a vast pool of proxy/relay nodes, which will make it much harder for malicious third parties to find traffic patterns. Also, random nodes are chosen for each session, which makes it very difficult for any potential bad actors to build up any appreciable amount of traffic history on a specific user.
The above diagram depicts the difference between a regular VPN, and how TOP VPN Service Network operates. Note that the relay and proxy nodes are chosen randomly. In order to compromise the end user’s security, the whole path of relay and proxy nodes would need to collude, which is extremely unlikely if they are chosen at random from a pool of thousands or even millions.
Most VPNs operate using a relatively small number of large VPN servers and data centers to transmit traffic. With TOP Proxy Service Network, these servers can be utilized along with potentially millions of peer nodes which are all contributing bandwidth. SkyVPN alone has 18 million users, many of which could become nodes if they so choose. SkyVPN desktop clients will be able to easily become service nodes for the VPN Service Network without needing technical expertise. This will help to increase speed and coverage around the world. Think of it like Uber, but instead of ride sharing, it’s bandwidth sharing.
TOP Network Components Used By SkyVPN
As mentioned previously, user account information will be stored on the blockchain. This will bring a large amount of volume to TOP Chain, as user logins are actually transactions. This method would not be feasible if TOP Chain had non-zero transaction fees. Although the TX fees are zero, SkyVPN will still be required to lock up enough TOP tokens to be granted the necessary on-chain storage and bandwidth resources.
SkyVPN will of course also use the Decentralized VPN Service Network. SkyVPN’s data center partners will migrate to the VPN Service Network, and SkyVPN desktop users will have the option to become service nodes themselves.
SkyVPN will need to pay service miners with TOP tokens via the decentralized marketplace. As SkyVPN transmits a whopping 6 Petabytes (6,000,000,000,000,000 Bytes!) of VPN traffic each month, this will bring significant volume to the TOP VPN Service Network. With 1 million DAU, SkyVPN is set to have one of the largest, if not the largest user base of any DApp. Check for yourself.
Dingtone is primarily a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and social messaging app. With Dingtone, users can enjoy free calls, messaging, walkie-talkie functionality, and conference calls. Even voice-mail is supported. Calls are free over the Internet to any other Dingtone user around the world, although international calls to landlines or devices using mobile networks cost “credits,” which users can earn by performing various tasks, such as watching ads.
Dingtone also provides free multimedia messaging, where users can send text, photos, and video for free. As an added bonus, push-to-talk walkie-talkie functionality is included, which is ideal for job-site communication.
Dingtone has a total of about 38 million users globally, with about a third residing in the US. The Dingtone app handles 1 billion minutes of voice calls annually, which is facilitated by a global network consisting of major telecom operators of which Dingtone has signed bi-lateral agreements with. These operators include Tata, BICS, KPN/iBasis, and IDT.
Benefits Of Porting Dingtone To TOP Network
There are many benefits of porting Dingtone to the TOP Network infrastructure. Among these are streamlined credit distribution, increased coverage, lower costs, security, and interoperability with other chat and VoIP DApps built on TOP Network. For the sake of brevity, let’s focus on credits.
- From Credits to TOP Tokens
Credits are the way in which users pay for Dingtone services. Credits can either be purchased, or earned by performing tasks like watching ads. However, credits are a bit clunky, and are not as robust in comparison to cryptocurrencies built using blockchain technology.
When Dingtone is ported over, credits will be replaced by TOP tokens. With the extremely fast speeds of TOP Chain, along with a planned built in light-wallet, rewards from doing various tasks will be distributed much faster. In addition, attribution will become more streamlined, trustless, and automated thanks to smart contracts.
Since Dingtone users are already familiar with the credit system, the switch to using a cryptocurrency will be natural, which is a big advantage.
TOP Network Infrastructure Components Used By Dingtone
Since Dingtone is primarily a VoIP and messaging app, it will use both the TOP RCS Service, and TOP VoIP Service. Dingtone currently has servers deployed on 18 Internet backbone networks, which will become nodes in the appropriate service networks after porting over. Eventually, Dingtone’s global telecom partners — Tata, BICS, KPN/iBasis, and IDT — will join TOP as VoIP service nodes.
With 1 billion minutes of voice calls annually, and billions of messages sent monthly, Dingtone will bring significant business volume to the corresponding RCS service miners. Furthermore, Dingtone users send large amounts of User Generated Content (UGC) such as photos and videos. As a result, TOP Decentralized Storage Network will be heavily utilized by Dingtone to store UGC, along with billing records via TOP Billing Service.
The switch from TOP token to credits will bring further liquidity to TOP Network. Sponsors and advertisers will need to use TOP instead of credits to reward users for watching ads or performing tasks like downloading a specific app. Additionally, it is likely that users will be able to gain premium features by holding a minimum number of TOP tokens.
CoverME was the first secure messaging app to implement end-to-end encryption technology, which Telegram and WhatsApp later adopted. CoverME provides encrypted messaging, encrypted phone calls, self-destructing messages, and Private Vaults. You may be familiar with self-destructing messages from apps like Snapchat. The Private Vault feature is a bit more unique, allowing users to store sensitive information — whether that be pictures, videos, or documents — encrypted in a password protected digital vault.
CoverME is most popular among those who take their security and privacy seriously. The app has about 5 million users, most of which are iOS users in the US.
After being ported to TOP Network, CoverME will be entirely serverless, while still supporting its unique features. All of CoverME’s servers will be migrated to TOP Network to become service nodes.
User assets in the personal encrypted private vaults will be stored in TOP Decentralized Storage Network, providing even more security. Premium features will be paid for using TOP tokens instead of Fiat. Currently, most CoverME users are high-end, meaning they are willing to pay for the premium features. As CoverME users care about security and anonymity, the extra layer of privacy gained from paying in cryptocurrency should be well received.
Note that although the founders of TOP Network also founded SkyVPN, Dingtone, and CoverME, they are granted no special privileges. TOP Network is open and permissionless, and so these DApps will be treated just like any other DApps. Service providers must be paid in TOP, gas fees and other resources are paid with TOP, and ad/sponsor revenue flows through TOP. Essentially, anything that was previously paid for using Fiat will be paid for using TOP token instead.
Just these three apps alone will bring massive volume to the TOP Network ecosystem. However, the fully decentralized versions of SkyVPN, Dingtone, and CoverME are not the only apps in the pipeline. There is a whole division of TOP Network engineers working on building some really exciting and original DApps, which we will explore in part 2.
We are not just building the infrastructure for others to use (although we greatly encourage it). The team knows full well what the TOP Network technology stack can facilitate, which is why we are very keen to make use of it ourselves to create the revenue generating decentralized applications of the future. With our own successful DApps as examples, we hope others will take our lead and begin developing on TOP Network when the time comes.
There is still some challenges ahead until the main net and service networks are stable enough to safely port over apps with such large user bases. It won’t happen all at once. Nonetheless, the team continues to press on full steam ahead with heads down, working day and night to achieve the shared vision of a totally open, permissionless public blockchain and decentralized communication network. The light is just around the corner. Together with your support, we will break through all the obstacles in our way!