In the past 24 hours, two new projects have emerged, both of which plan to develop a way for people to trade wifi for BTC. The idea is deceptively simple, even if there are significant barriers in the way of its implementation: allow passing strangers to access your internet connection in return for a small amount of bitcoin, therefore creating a network of hotspots to provide users with low cost internet wherever they go.
The idea was first put forward by Ryan Charles, the cryptocurrency engineer recently let go by Reddit. In this thread on his former employer’s website, Charles floated the idea of crowdfunding a ‘bitcoin wireless’ business which produces an app allowing anyone with a wireless router or cell phone hotspot to sell access to the internet in return for bitcoin. Users who participate in the proposed crowdfunding drive would get free internet access through Bitcoin Wireless’s network of hotspots in return.
Within just a few hours, Bob Alison took to Reddit to announce BitMesh, a start-up business aiming to capitalize on exactly the same idea. Some initial skepticism that Alison may have thrown up a quick website in an attempt to try to steal Bitcoin Wireless’ idea was soon quashed when he posted a link to a Github page which shows that BitMesh have already made some significant development progress.
The idea of allowing people to trade wifi for btc seemed to strike a positive chord with Reddit users, many of whom responded with enthusiastic support. Some, however, expressed reservations that users may end up being held responsible for illegal activity conducted over their internet connection, or that ISPs would regard it as a breach of their terms of service and move to stamp out the use of such apps. Other commenters sought to allay these fears, expressing confidence that a good quality encryption system would solve these ‘technical problems’.
Whether either of these nascent problems will be able to overcome the hurdles before them to develop a workable solution – perhaps only time will tell.
Image Credit: BitMesh (see link in text above).