SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 18, 2017 — Open Garden Inc. announced today the launch of a new Internet service. Unlike traditional, centralized ISPs, where one large retailer delivers service, Open Garden is a peer-to-peer network that will grow to millions of crowdsourced providers. Participants download the Open Garden app from Google Play to get started – no additional hardware is required to build the network. The Open Garden app enables all users to turn their Android phones into Open Garden hotspots and securely share their WiFi connections with anyone nearby. In early 2018, Open Garden will launch its own cryptocurrency, an Ethereum token called OG, that enables each user to earn tokens in exchange for sharing their bandwidth.
Open Garden's vision of “The Internet of Us” is to create an entirely decentralized Internet Service Provider. Most mobile and landline Internet access today is provided by a small group of powerful players. Open Garden disrupts this oligopoly by enabling millions of people to become mini-ISPs and to be compensated in OG. Open Garden will use FireChat to help bootstrap the network. FireChat has over 5M registered users of its award-winning peer to peer messaging platform, which will support full Internet connectivity and free messaging for everyone.
“The Internet belongs to everyone, and now people can shift the balance of power by taking back control,” said Paul Hainsworth, CEO of Open Garden. “More participants means greater availability to more people at a lower cost.”
Many people in the US have excess bandwidth, whether cellular or WiFi, that they do not use. For example, many broadband home subscribers have a 1TB usage cap but only consume 20 to 30%, yet pay the same regardless of usage. Open Garden enables these subscribers to become Open Garden providers and easily share excess bandwidth with friends and neighbors. Providers keep 100% of OG they earn. By using OG, an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, payments are secure and don't require a middleman to guarantee payment. And unlike centralized sharing economy players like Uber, Open Garden doesn't take a revenue share. Consumers get lower-cost Internet access, no contract commitments, and a pay-as-you-go model.
The OG coin is part of a larger trend to build decentralized services enabled by cryptocurrency. Other startups, like Filecoin and Storj, have launched tokens to provide decentralized storage, taking on Amazon Web Services and Dropbox. OG seeks to be the common currency for bandwidth, used to buy and sell access to the Internet, initially by consumers, but also by enterprise and by traditional network operators.
The Open Garden Android app is live in beta today in Google Play and is just the beginning of this ecosystem. Apps for iOS, Mac, PC, and support for set-top streaming boxes will be released in 2018. Project Open Garden, our open source project, will enable developers to build OG into their own apps and hardware solutions. OG can be used by existing WiFi infrastructure owners – such as municipal WiFi, shopping malls, stadiums, airports, restaurants, and small businesses – to monetize their existing capital investment.
The Open Garden app is very simple. Providers download the app, connect to WiFi, and press a single button to their connection. Consumers using the same Open Garden app automatically discover and connect to nearby Open Garden providers through an innovative phone-to-phone protocol, creating a phone-to-phone-to-WiFi chain. In time, multiple chains will connect to create a mesh of devices and connections. The app enables full Internet connectivity including messaging, social media, 4K video streaming, and high-quality video calling.
Open Garden is available starting today in Google Play.
About Open Garden & FireChat
Founded in 2011, Open Garden is a San Francisco Bay Area startup. Its technology creates a decentralized Internet service enabling people, enterprises and network operators to share their access to the Internet access. Open Garden has received an Innovation Award at SXSW, the Boldness in Business Award by the Financial Times, and the Tech4Resilience Award by Making All Voices Count. For more information, visit opengarden.com.
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SOURCE Open Garden
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