Justin Kilpatrick |

Althea Development Update #64: Beta 1 rollout, UI improvements, New blog platform

The last couple of weeks have been busy, we're at about 50% Beta 1 rollout in our test network.

Converting users has been somewhat time consuming since most need the 10 minute crypto primer. We could have probably tried to automate that but we decided that a high touch process would let us find user annoyances and problems faster.

we have our first example of an intermediary, earning ethereum ($ETH) by forwarding bandwidth to a neighbour in his apartment. In this case, it cost less than $100 to set up his neighbour with high speed internet and both he, the gateway, and the subnet organizers will make recurring revenue.  Several larger intermediary nodes serving between 10 and 50 households will be rolling out in the coming months.

Bug Fixes for Beta 2

While Beta 1 had Xdai as a selectable payment currency it wasn't actually functional. Do to some quirks of how the POA public RPC is setup and our own Rust libraries we can't easily query it.

Beta 2 will include a set of fixes that use our own xdai RPC cluster as well as some user convenience features that prevent two routers form accidentally trying to pay each other in different currencies.

Our South American test network has been insistent on a stablecoin as a medium of exchange so it's been a priority to get xDai working.

Fingers crossed on a rollout next week down there.

Other improvements include drastically reduced overhead for those devices with remote logging enabled. Devices in our test networks are actively monitored for bugs, in Beta 2 we're introducing log compression, which reduces the upload overhead from this by a factor of nearly 200.

UI improvements

Updated Network DAO interface

Now that real-money operations have started we've been provided some great opportunities to do user studies on our various interfaces.

One of the larger goals with Althea is to make building a network seem as approachable as a home improvement project, rather than an arcane combination of incomprehensible systems.

With that in mind exactly how we present concepts to users is one of the most important things for us to really nail down with our test deployments before trying to address a wider audience.

New blog platform

If you haven't already noticed we finally got around to deploying our self hosted blog rather than using Medium. We originally went with Medium hoping for some organic views and to get away form our markdown powered static site.

But ultimately Ghost proved to be the better option to allow non-technical users to write posts without sacrificing control in exchange for a relatively small number of Medium referred views.

Ipv6 Range

As of today we have acquired 2605:1C40::/32 for assignment to Althea routers.

We plan to peer this network using BGP and seamlessly allow all nodes within an Althea network to be fully integrated into the global internet and accessible as a first class citizen of the Ipv6 internet.

Facing Forward

While payment channels have made good technical progress their roll out is on hold

Transaction fees on the Ethereum network have been even lower than expected, resulting in payments every 8c to 12c when paying 5% in fees.

At that level we really can't justify focusing on channels when any user experience or other bugs remain.

Our plans for the immediate future are focused on going to market and really nailing down a playbook for quickly starting and expanding networks.