What is the Project?
RightMesh is developing both a platform that allows smartphones and other devices to connect in an ad hoc wireless mesh network and a token ecosystem incentivizing users to join and remain in these networks, with their devices acting as a virtual infrastructure. Mesh networks are formed by wirelessly connecting clients such as laptops, smartphones, and other devices together via unlicensed radio frequencies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct, without the need for a central ISP. In such a network, each device becomes a node, allowing direct peer-to-peer communication; some devices can also act as gateway nodes, connecting to the Internet and providing access to other devices. This arrangement has several potential advantages: mesh networks can be more reliable than those that rely on traditional infrastructure, offer redundancy, circumvent central control, self-organize, and amplify coverage with each new node added.
By developing a platform that allows devices to form wireless mesh networks, RightMesh intends to bring online a massive market of users in countries and communities where connectivity is largely inaccessible due to geographic, economic, or social factors. With a stated goal of ‘connecting the next billion’, RightMesh envisions a token economy where these new users pay modest amounts to acquire apps and download data, and earn tokens by consuming content such as advertisements and sharing device resources such as battery power and data access.
RightMesh is a software solution that enables developers to retrofit existing mobile apps or build new mesh enabled apps. RightMesh itself has already built several mesh enabled apps, has opened their SDK in private beta mode to select developers, and is involved in a live pilot project in Northern Canada. While RightMesh aims to change the way the world connects, how greatly they will succeed depends on whether they overcome the technological, economic, and social impediments to establishing distributed mesh networks.
Dissatisfaction with the way the world currently connects motivates the project, along with a vision of what true internet decentralization could look like. This is particularly relevant with Web3 infrastructure–encrypted data can be shifted throughout a network and accessed peer-to-peer, computation cycles could be done by a machine in town rather than a server by a cloud provider, and payments can be done peer-to-peer. RightMesh sees itself as enabling users to share relevant data with each other instead of everyone querying the same place for the same data and for routing peer to peer data (like messages) directly to each other. The mesh network can utilize multiple parts of the wireless spectrum for higher latency. Ultimately, RightMesh expects this to lower data costs – a barrier to tech adoption – and to provide connectivity alternatives to areas with limited internet coverage.
RighMesh is additionally critical of centralized Internet Service Providers’ (ISPs) influence over efforts to decentralize the web. RightMesh argues that other peer-to-peer tokens, cryptocurrencies and applications, despite offering some degree of decentralization, nevertheless rely on the infrastructure provided by ISPs, such as Sprint, Verizon, or China Mobile.
RightMesh’s network would ideally achieve distributed decentralization, becoming a network outside of ISP or government control – at least short of confiscating everyone’s smartphones. Data requests would hop device to device (potentially running through independently-run wire infrastructure too) until reaching wherever the requested data are stored. In a Web3 environment, data could be stored anywhere on the network and applications hosted on other peer devices. Transactions and payments could also happen peer to peer.
However, there is currently not an efficient solution for running full Ethereum nodes on smartphones, which are ultimately needed for network payments. In addition, the infrastructure for data access today is still very centralized and most data that would be requested are still accessible only through some kind of ISP-controlled route. So, while smartphone technology and Web3 infrastructure catch up, the network will need to rely on certain nodes (Superpeers) that can run full Ethereum nodes, sync to the Ethereum chain, and connect to the Internet. This will make the network more akin to a massive microcell network, but one that could grow into one less dependent on ISP-controlled Internet access.
RightMesh is optimistic that smartphone technological advances will obviate such reliance.
How is Blockchain Technology Used?
RightMesh was initially led to blockchain as a solution to a practical question: how to uniquely identify devices on its network and route data requests, especially when devices come on and off the Internet. To create mobile mesh networks in areas with low to no internet connectivity, RightMesh needed an alternative to the traditional solution, in which a device’s unique ID is generated from an internet server. Ultimately, RightMesh discovered that blockchain technology had already solved this problem with private keys and public network addresses providing them a suitable alternative. By generating an Ethereum account using the Ethereum-j library, RightMesh can give a device an identity, similar to an IP address, that allows other devices on the network to deliver data to the correct device, even when the device is not directly connected to the Internet. In addition, tokenization can provide a set of economic incentives and a payment layer that would be difficult with current financial infrastructure.
The pilot of Righmesh’s eNuk app is proving a test of their solution. Rigolet, a small Inuit town in northern Canada, has internet access so slow that visiting researchers must coordinate their emailing activities to avoid crashing hosts’ internet. Yet apps like eNuk, which help residents monitor changing climate conditions like ice thickness or road safety by tagging locations with text, pictures or videos, offer residents a tool to share knowledge and better protect themselves. RightMesh is working with the community to test whether their platform can provide a decent network and improve the town’s connectivity. While the network is centered around the town itself, as it requires a relatively dense cluster of users to function, the photos and data of returning users can be automatically uploaded to the local network without internet dependence, due to RightMesh’s caching system.
What is the Token Economy?
Even if RightMesh can improve mesh network technology, such as by solving issues with device identification or increasing network size and speeds, the mesh networks enabled won’t persist without users willing to run the applications and participate in the virtual infrastructure. Further, these networks typically offer greater utility when some users are willing to share their internet access with the rest of the mesh. Crafting the appropriate economic and social incentives to sustain mesh use and growth is key to successfully changing how the world connects, and RightMesh’s token model represents a primary tool. What then is their token model?
RightMesh’s token, RMESH, will be a payment token used to purchase and sell network goods and services, such as data, Internet access, device storage, or battery and processing power. The payment channel network Raiden will be used for payment transactions on the network that can then get settled when transactions reach a Supernode that syncs to the Ethereum blockchain. The team envisions that RMESH will also be used by advertisers to send advertisements throughout the network or even subsidize bandwidth in exchange for ad consumption.
The key actors in RightMesh’s ecosystem fall into roughly two groups: entities providing or using RightMesh’s network infrastructure, and entities looking to access and utilize the newly opened markets.
RightMesh expects its technology to create a sharing market, comparable to services like Lyft or Airbnb, where device owners act as entrepreneurs compensated for sharing their device functions and fulfilling key network functions. Infrastructure players include:
- Client Devices. Primarily smartphones, these are RightMesh-enabled devices that participate in the network by consuming data. Users can configure how much is spent per MB and set data limits.
- Superpeers. Superpeers are key network nodes that act as proxies and translation units between Internet traffic and RightMesh data requests, running full Ethereum nodes and executing transactions on behalf of other networked devices. Superpeers are rewarded with tokens for all RMESH token transactions they execute and can set pricing for data flowing through their network. Should smartphone technology improve and allow more peer-to-peer data storage and sharing, reliance on RightMesh as Superpeer could decrease, realizing RightMesh’s vision of a truly decentralized network.
- Internet providers. Any device on the RightMesh network capable of sharing data can act as an internet provider, providing Internet access to other devices on the network at an owner-determined access price. Prices would be driven by market forces.
- Routing nodes. Devices that forward packets on behalf of others, yet do not directly share Internet, contribute to network infrastructure as routing nodes. Owners would receive a percentage of the overall infrastructure fee for their role in facilitating transmissions. Determining the best packet routes is ultimately done by the RightMesh library on the app.
How great an incentive RMESH tokens will be for device owners to play such entrepreneurial roles is difficult to evaluate at this point, as demand, risk, and valuation of local network access by market entities will vary regionally. RightMesh appears to be taking a hands off approach to the exact service fees, leaving these details to be negotiated between local entrepreneurs and those willing to pay RMESH to distribute or advertise over the local network.
RightMesh’s vision is in line with decentralizing the web itself and synergizes well with an industry roadmap to Web3, but to achieve it, they must navigate a complex set of challenges.
There remains a question of how ISPs will respond to such networks; RightMesh’s internet providers may risk losing internet access as ISPs note high peer-to-peer data uses, similar to how they police file-sharing activity. Similarly, entrepreneurs could risk being targeted by governments looking to control information and application distribution. When we discussed this topic with some of the RightMesh team, they noted that they have looked into these issues and take them quite seriously, having developed strategies and techniques for such scenarios, yet they also emphasized that they are not averse to working with progressive ISPs.
RMESH’s value will also depend on how attractive its uses are to investors and other market players. RMESH is designed to appeal to app developers, publishers, advertisers and service providers; RMESH tokens are required for service providers or publishers to communicate with users on RightMesh’s network, offering the token’s most straightforward value proposition. More subtly, RightMesh frames itself as a solution to the economic barriers impeding advertisement and app adaptation in countries with emerging smartphone markets. This could actually make RightMesh’s solution easier to implement, because there is not an existing architecture that needs to be distributed, and RightMesh economic incentives could guide the shape of the RightMesh-based Internet.
Finally, web browsing today is a heavy experience. Websites today contain more media than they did 10 years ago, and bandwidth-intensive uses like streaming video are slated to increase. Caching technology has helped immensely, but data traffic is only slated to grow immensely. In addition, the broad move to centralized cloud computing has moved more data onto fewer servers, access to which is heavily controlled and not easily routed around. More distributed data storage networks are in their infancy, though RightMesh will be able to support basic local network storage for things like personal media.
One implication is that streaming video ads and downloading apps can consume much data, an expensive commodity in regions with low connectivity, making it harder to reach potential customers with video advertisements or persuade them to use free apps. RightMesh offers a service whereby companies wishing to show their ads offline to customers would purchase ad units, whose consumption could be tracked transparently through the distributed ledger system. Client devices that store and transmit ads would be paid in RMESH for their distribution services. Verifying ad consumption is a huge problem in an industry beset with bots and fraud; this has been an impediment to user-compensated advertising, the concept of which predates blockchain technology.Solving this isn’t trivial: is the device consuming the ad a real user–and if the device consumed it, was a human present? Solving it could also be lucrative both for the advertising industry broadly and for a network that needs to incentivize sharing, but how this would take place is unclear. RightMesh also envisions app sellers using RightMesh as an app distribution platform to resell free apps through the network multiple hops away from Internet infrastructure.
What is the Project and Technology Status?
As of December, 2017, RightMesh has a basic mesh networking platform developed for Android
devices and java-enabled IoT devices, supporting multihop connectivity among up to 20 devices on a single mesh and at distances of roughly 1000 feet. Sample apps are available on RightMesh’s public GitHub repository (https://github.com/RightMesh). They have also executed Ethereum transactions on their mesh several hops away from the Internet and used the Ethereum-j library plus Ethereum accounts to generate MeshIDs using remote signed transactions. They are currently piloting the technology in Rigolet, in conjunction with the eNuk app; it is expected to expand over the next five to ten years to help local governments collect census data for the region.
RightMesh’s next stated milestones are conducting a scientifically rigorous performance analysis, more clearly understanding how the network’s performance changes as the network grows, automating the testing of their library, and integrating contracts with the mesh.
On the side of token economics, RightMesh is still working out how to best achieve stability, such that tokens don’t end up getting stuck, un-used in the network, and are actively looking for community feedback and advice. The somewhat unresolved nature of the token economy points to the major challenge this issue represents for RightMesh and its vision of connecting the world across mesh networks. A positive resolution to this complex issue will be central to RightMesh’s success and their aspirations to make this exciting technology available to citizens around the world.
Who is the Project Team?
RightMesh is a subsidiary of Left, a Vancouver technology company committed to using business as a force for good. Connectivity is seen by Left as the biggest obstacle facing emerging markets—Left believes that, if it can solve connectivity, it can reduce poverty, improve health outcomes, spread education, and lift economies. The co-founders of Left are John Lyotier (also co-founder and CEO of RightMesh), Chris Jensen (also co-founder and COO of RightMesh), and Rakibul Islam. RightMesh’s CTO is Dr. Jason Ernst.
John Lyotier has spent 20 years in enterprise software, marketing and technology startups, leading Left to gain a national reputation as a best workplace and winning multiple awards for community engagement. Chris Jensen co-founded Left after a career in the banking and brokerage industry. Rakibul holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science and Application from Pune University, and is an active member of the Bangladesh Association for Software and Information Services. Dr. Jason Ernst holds a PhD in the field of Mesh Networking and Heterogeneous Wireless Networks from University of Guelph and has 20 published papers on wireless networks, cognitive agents, FPGAs, and soft-computing topics. He also has previous experience as a CTO at Redtree Robotics.
|Incorporation status||Left of the Dot Media, Inc., 2010, Vancouver, Canada.|
|Team openness||Fully transparent|
|Blockchain Developer||Dr Jason Ernst|
|Technical White Paper||Mainly describes RightMesh’s Networking Stack and RMesh Token Channels.|
|Available Project Code||Available|
|Role of token||Access rights and payment|
|Token supply||129,498,559 RMESH|
|Distributed in ICO||38,850,000 RMESH (30%)|
|Emission rate||No new coins created|
|Consensus method||Proof of Work|
|Sale period||February 15th to February 27th, 2017|
|First price||$1 : 1 RMESH|
|Accepted currencies||BTC, ETH, USD, EUR, CHF, GBP, DKK, SGD|
|Investment Round||First public offering|
|Minimum contribution||$1000 equivalent|
|Max investment cap||$30 million|
|Held by Team and Advisors||60%|
|Minimal Viable Product||Basic mesh networking application for Android devices and java-enabled IoT devices.|