The Real-World Pied Piper Of The “New Internet”

by Tatiana Koffman

Syntropy, a company building the “new Internet,” announced that Shawn Hakl, former SVP at Verizon VZ +0.3%and 5G strategist for Microsoft, and Roman Pacewicz, former Chief Product Officer at AT&T T +0.4%, will be joining the company’s advisory board, alongside internet pioneer Bill Norton, who became Syntropy team as co-founder in 2019. Norton is recognized internationally for his work on Internet peering.

“Syntropy challenges the way the Internet has worked in the past and uses blockchain to bring together a lot of different elements to create an intelligent overlay on top of existing infrastructure. I’m excited to see how Syntropy can play a role in the future of delivering virtual experiences and connectivity of devices, where speed and security are paramount,” says Roman Pacewicz.

 Syntropy is not the first blockchain-based attempt at upgrading the Internet. Several indirect competitors such as SmartMesh and Ammbr, are finding synergies in internet optimization through blockchain, tokenization, and new methods of encryption, focusing on the peer-to-peer aspect of the internet. Additionally, China is building the Blockchain Services Network, a new network connecting private and public blockchains, focusing on Asia and Africa. Similar to establishing competing colonial transport routes for goods, 21st century companies and government are competing for control over the digital routes for data, and it is yet to be seen which new internet catches on.

The Internet is a fundamental right.

In the final season of the popular show, Silicon Valley, Richard Hendricks and the gang took to blockchain to re-invent the Internet, calling it Pied Piper. The goal was to make a new network that was decentralized, secure, and optimized for speed. As usual, the show was echoing real-life issues of today. Optimizing our network connection is no longer a “nice thing to have.” Nothing defines modern civilization as much as digital connectivity—from learning, to work, to entertainment, and basic social connection. 

The United Nations has made several resolutions regarding the right to Internet access. In 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a non-binding resolution condemning intentional disruption of Internet access by governments. The resolution reaffirmed the ideal that “the same rights people have offline must also be protected online”. And in January of 2020, the Supreme Court of India ruled that access to the Internet is a fundamental right under the constitution. 

The modern Internet has three major shortcomings.

While we keep finding new ways to use the Internet, the underlying design of how people and devices find each other across the web has not changed in decades. The Internet is overdue for an upgrade—and three areas of deficiency stand out:

Centralization

Today’s Internet access and routing is under the control of governments and service providers, such as Amazon Web Services and Cloudflare. As the world and its applications become incredibly decentralized, an obvious incompatibility both technologically and philosophically arises. For example, the vast majority of blockchains today, which tout decentralization as their ultimate goal, rely on centralized server farms, which can be taken down through a centralized point of failure such as this recent fire at this five-storey data center in Strasbourg.

“Smart contract and decentralized applications cannot continue to grow on centralized networks, both technologically and fundamentally. If 30-40% of blockchain nodes run on AWS or CloudFlare NET -2.6% go down, half the blockchains become inaccessible. When looking at the future of blockchains, and the IoT space, they will need a connectivity layer like Syntropy,” says Jonas Simanavičius, CTO of Syntropy. 

Performance 

As traffic on today’s Internet increases, users are experiencing issues with latency (speed), jitter (consistency), and uptime (reliability). Reducing costs entails keeping customer data “on net” for as long as possible before sending it off to the cheapest connection away from the network.  This is not unlike the airport shuttle service, which costs less than a private limousine, but invariably makes numerous stops before dropping you off. This not only increases the time the trip takes (latency), but also how much room for error you have to leave to make a flight because the trip can take anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour (jitter).  

Security

For hackers, the Internet can provide untraceable access to data and applications from remote locations. Once an attacker gains even the slightest foothold in an individual’s or in a corporate network, they can use it as a springboard to gain control of the entire network. With many of us carrying cryptocurrency, personal, financial, and health data on our phones and computers, data privacy has become a primary concern—and even VPN providers cannot always protect us. 


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A new connectivity layer to optimize the modern Internet. 

Syntropy, previously known as NOIA, co-founded by Jonas Simanavičius and Domas Povilauskas, claims to combine the power of the next generation of technologies, such as end-to-end encryption, segment routing, and blockchain, to create a blockchain-enabled upgrade for the modern Internet.

Syntropy’s value proposition focuses on decentralization, optimization and security. 

The model is particularly applicable in emerging markets, where the scarcity of available paths means that a simple email sent from one town to a neighboring town, may have to travel to the other side of the world before making it to the desired destination. Syntropy founders want to solve this problem by finding more optimized routes, decreasing the time needed to transfer data, and enhances security by enabling users to encrypt every single connection end to end using blockchain.

According to the founders, Syntropy developers are building a range of applications on the network, with gaming applications taking the lead. In the future, Syntropy hopes to be the upgraded connectivity layer for applications that need to seamlessly collect thousands of locations on the fly. This can include gig economy apps such as Uber UBER +1.3% as well as networks powering ‘Internet of Things’ devices, such as autonomous cars. 

“We believe that Syntropy can offer a faster and cheaper Internet solution, while significantly lowering the carbon footprint. Ethereum is gas for transactions, as Syntropy is gas for data. And to me, data is the biggest business in the world,” says Tony Greenberg, board member and advisor.

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