What is Orchid Protocol (OXT)? Your ultimate guide

Can Orchid Protocol successfully deliver a blockchain-based virtual private network?

A stylisation of the Orchid Protocol                                 
The Orchid Protocol is a blockchain-based VPN – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

Contents

In a world where more and more people are worried about how safe their data is online, and more and more people are also interested in cryptocurrency, it was perhaps inevitable that the two ideas would combine.

Orchid Protocol is a virtual private network that exists on the Ethereum blockchain and OXT is its native token. But what is the Orchid Protocol (OXT)? How does Orchid Protocol work? What is Orchid Protocol used for? Let’s find out. 

Virtual private networks

One of the major issues in today’s internet is privacy. There are serious concerns about how accessible our personal information is to people who may not have our best intentions at heart.

Something that many involved in the online world are keen to impress upon users is that their systems keep data safe, secure and anonymous.

What might help make someone feel more secure on the internet is the use of a virtual private network, or VPN. A VPN is, basically, a system where an internet user’s data is, in effect, disguised.

It does this by hiding your internet protocol (IP) address, by allowing the network to run it through a remote server hosted by the VPN. In turn, neither your internet service provider nor any third parties will be able to track you and your data.

Encrypting data

As Kapersky, a VPN provider, puts it: “A VPN works like a filter that turns all your data into ‘gibberish’. Even if someone were to get their hands on your data, it would be useless.” 

VPNs not only promise their users privacy. People who access the web via a VPN can also disguise a user’s location and also give them access to regional content that they might not be able to access on their regular network.

This means that VPNs are increasingly popular in an age of internet streaming. They are also popular in the post-Covid business environment, when a VPN can be used by people working from home.

The encrypted network allows them to send files and carry out work for their company in a way that is super secure. For instance, this article has been uploaded via a virtual private network.

VPN image
A virtual private network – Photo: Shutterstock

There are, however, downfalls to using virtual private networks. Using a VPN can, sometimes, make your internet connection significantly slower. Some streaming services block some VPNs, which can make getting one somewhat counterproductive.

There is also the fact that you have to trust whoever is running the VPN not to steal your personal information. This means that getting a VPN is not a simple decision. 

How does this link with the world of cryptocurrency? Well, there is a system that has a native token that aims to use blockchain to create a VPN that remains secure and decentralised, much like the ideal crypto would be. This is the whole idea behind the Orchid system and the OXT crypto token.

The Orchid Protocol

The Orchid Protocol is a VPN whose operators are distributed across the Ethereum blockchain. This means the system is designed so that, ideally, people can use the VPN to browse the internet without leaving a data trail, because having the different parts distributed across the blockchain makes it easier for the user’s internet usage to be kept private.

The other idea that Orchid brings into play is that since parts of the network are distributed, it means there is less pressure on one part to deliver bandwidth. This means anyone browsing the internet using the Orchid Protocol should not suffer a significant slow-down. 

As Orchid’s white paper says: “What is needed is a peer-to-peer privacy network with proper economic incentives and nanopayments, allowing clients to construct single or multi-hop routes from a unified global pool of nodes from many distinct providers.

“An open-market system can ensure that the supply of bandwidth, provided by profit=motivated sellers, can scale elastically with growth in demand from users. The use of cryptocurrency contractual mechanisms can provide the necessary incentives against malicious behaviour.”

Types of Orchid Protocol users

There are two different types of Orchid Protocol users. The first group is called bandwidth users. These are the people who run the VPN and use it to connect to and browse the internet. The second group are called bandwidth sellers. These users, or nodes, use the network to sell bandwidth in return for orchid (OXT) payments.

The argument for using the OXT coin is that, since people do not need to have a bank account to own the crypto, it better helps preserve people’s privacy, which is a big part of the point of accessing a virtual private network in the first place.

The system itself uses a range of VPN servers called hops. These servers are designed to disguise and encrypt incoming and outgoing online data. These hops are all linked together, meaning that extra layers of masking and encryption are enabled on the VPN. This makes it safer, at least in theory, than most conventional virtual private networks.

That said, the people behind the Orchid Protocol cryptocurrency and VPN admit that there some potential limitations. The fact that it runs on Ethereum means that, if the Ethereum blockchain suffered an attack, it would be hit and would not be able to supply its service until Ethereum was fixed.

Second, there would be a scalability issue if too many people used the VPN. Third, making nanopayments to access the virtual private network still run the risk of not being truly anonymous. Fourth, the Orchid node directory is published on the blockchain, meaning people’s IP addresses could be found if they served as a bandwidth seller. 

OXT cryptocurrency

The OXT coin is, technically, not a crypto coin but a crypto token. This is because the Orchid Protocol coin does not operate on its own blockchain but, instead, works on the Ethereum blockchain.

As we have already seen, it is used to pay for bandwidth. It can also be staked by bandwidth sellers, with sellers who have more orchid protocol (OXT) more likely to be selected to provide bandwidth.

The Orchid Protocol was created by Orchid Labs, a business set up in 2017 by Pantera Capital co-founder Dr Stephen Waterhouse, Cydia creator Jay Freeman, Brian J. Fox, who created Wells Fargo’s first online banking system, and former Ethereum security developer Gustav Simonsson.

OXT started being traded on the open market in late 2019 and the Orchid Protocol web app was launched in the middle of 2020.

As of 22 December 2021, there were 690,690,083 OXT in circulation out of a total supply of one billion orchids, according to CoinMarketCap, giving a total market cap of $257.8m.

FAQs

There were 690,690,083.77 OXT in circulation out of a total supply of one billion at December 21 2021.

Orchid Protocol was, ultimately, created by Orchid Labs.

OXT is a bit different from other cryptocurrencies because it is used to access a blockchain-based virtual private network (VPN). 

Further reading

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