I have previously mentioned how I felt that Tor should offer some way for users to pay for bandwidth on its network to incentivize more nodes to join. Well, today I found out about Orchid which is a decentralized VPN that allows users to do just that.
It’s basically a marketplace for bandwidth between clients and VPN providers. Anyone can set up a node and act as exit point. From what I’ve read it seems like exit nodes can even choose what type of content will go through them: torrents, email, specific websites, etc. can all be blocked or allowed. The app will automatically pick providers that support the type of content that you’re trying to access.
Given this dynamic I would imagine that different types of content will start to cost more. For example, bandwidth providers who allow torrents will charge a premium due to the increased legal risk. On the other hand, providers who only allow access to known safe sites like YouTube, Reddit, etc. would be much cheaper.
Orchid even supports multiple hops within the network just like Tor. There are a few concerns I have:
- Since it’s decentralized there is no way to ban exit nodes for logging peoples traffic
- Everything is done in OXT which is Orchid’s native currency on Ethereum so it’s kinda a pain to pay for the service
- Orchid uses its own VPN protocol not a standard one like OpenVPN or Wireguard.
For now, I’m going to continue using Private Internet Access as my VPN, but Orchid is something I’ll keep my eye on.