Staking Hub: Althea AMA

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Althea is a decentralized blockchain-based routing and billing platform for the Internet. Althea incentivizes individuals to provide bandwidth to users in their local communities. As the network bandwidth providers grow Althea ultimately becomes faster, cheaper, and more reliable. Equipment owners are compensated in rewards for their contributions to the network, while users have the freedom to select which internet service they choose based on cost. Althea encourages positive competition on the network through decentralization, eliminating the risk of monopolistic activities. 

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Quick Takes

  • Althea is currently in its testnet phase
  • ALTG Token holders will earn transaction fees and inflation yield 
  • Althea will be a Cosmos based chain, with heavy Gravity Bridge functionality
  • The ALTG token will be IBC enabled at launch
  • The Althea blockchain aims to make the internet service process more efficient through automation
  • The Althea team is working closely with Cosmostation for wallet support, and all Althea routers will also be Althea wallets

What to Expect from Althea at launch? Who will use Althea? 

The Althea team has been hard at work for the last several years bringing the project to life. Althea will be launching as a Cosmos blockchain with the Gravity Ethereum to Cosmos bridge.

The Althea system is comprised of four primary roles:

  1. Bandwidth providers
  2. Real estate prodivers
  3. Network operation centers
  4. Network operators 

The network operators earn a time based revenue share that supports local installation, and promotion. Due to the fact that the infrastructure on Althea is held in a decentralized way, it's resilient to centralized control.

“Anywhere you have an Althea network, you have all the benefits of the global platform and the local support and service”

- Deborah Simpier 

Althea as a Next-Generation Internet Provider 

One of the most important commodities in the world, internet service, is one of the hardest commodities to buy. Large internet providers prey off of this difficulty by offering expensive internet subscription packages, charging expensive rates for poor speeds and quality. 

Althea aims to change the internet service landscape by giving users the opportunity to buy bytes of data, making data markets instantly competitive. Althea creates a market for people trying to monetize their assets to provide bandwidth. To monetize bandwidth you have to own the fiber, the land, the towers, and the wire to the user. With Althea, middle mile fiber providers can automatically sell bandwidth to real estate owners who are leveraging existing buildings or towers to provide coverage to installers on the ground who interact with customers, perform the at home install, and provide support. By creating an open market, Althea makes this entire process more efficient, by automating cooperation and coordination through blockchain technology.

“Imagine if your phone simply paid the tower with the best signal. Or your home internet instantly upgraded when a new small provider brought fiber to the front of your neighborhood. That's the future with Althea.”

- Justin Kilpatrick  

Althea & Hawk Networks 

When we think of Althea, and internet connectivity, we sometimes picture antennas on rooftops. It is important to make the distinction that Althea is the platform and blockchain, while companies like Hawk Networks supports the creation of new networks, and is one of the many organizations that is helping bring broadband to many users. Althea creates a powerful blockchain ecosystem that allows companies like Hawk Networks to utilize and profit from its pay per forward bandwidth model.  

“Althea is a platform for an open and interoperable bandwidth marketplace, but is agnostic to the hardware, which means you'll be seeing Althea fiber, mm wave fixed wireless, and LTE to the device, for mobility and IOT!”

- Deborah Simpier

Cosmos, and IBC Functionality 

Althea will launch with IBC enabled, allowing users to exchange whatever tokens they like for bandwidth. Bridges like Gravity and IBC will be important for Althea allowing the network to onboard liquidity from anywhere. As an estimated 20-25% of Althea users are underbanked or unbanked, every Althea router is a hardware wallet and for most users it will be their primary wallet. 

The Althea team expects that most of the tokens moved over the Gravity Bridge will be stablecoins, as users generally will want their router wallet balances to remain stable. The Althea team plans to provide features through the router wallet to access DeFi, providing exposure to ups and downs if the user is interested. 

“IBC and Gravity will allow them to not only buy bandwidth on a highly reliable chain, but reach out to the rest of the ecosystem and experience the best the internet of blockchains has to offer.”

- Justin Kilpatrick 

The ALTG Token

The ALTG token will be used to secure the Gravity bridge and Althea chain. ALTG holders earn a transaction fee for this role. There will be an inflationary reward as well, similar to most Cosmos chains. Users will often use ALTG to use Althea’s "price-aware" routing feature, fundamentally giving users choice over their access on a second-by-second basis. More staking information will come closer to launch. While the Althea staking details are still in discussion, the Althea team is looking at other examples within the cosmos ecosystem, like Akash, that have similar considerations.

Governance of the Althea chain and the Gravity bridge will follow the Cosmos governance model. 

“The focus of ALTG is to support a high throughput, high reliability blockchain for telco.”

- Deborah Simpier

Security Considerations

In order to prioritize security, Althea routers are secure and frequently updated. Wallets used for bandwidth market participation are hot wallets, and for more significant deposits, a hot/cold wallet split will be implemented. The average Althea user has about $50 in their router wallet for bandwidth, as it is a simple wallet that is used for providing internet access. For further DeFi functionality, there will be necessary expansions to manage larger amounts of capital with additional security.

“Althea as a protocol uses micropayments to help keep fraud risk low.”

- Justin Kilpatrick 

The Web 3.0 Vision & Next Steps for Althea

“Interestingly, a big reason why people in the US lack access isn't just that there isn't enough infrastructure. For example, in NYC 18% of people don't have broadband at all. The current legacy systems don't work for many people because of economic reasons, and not necessarily that people can't afford it - it's lack of access to financial services and easily being able to enter the bandwidth market, like a prepaid phone. Currently with internet, people have to enter into a lease, have good credit, access to a bank, etc, which precludes much of the market.”

- Deborah Simpier 

The Althea team projects growth globally over the next couple of years. Hawk networks will be focusing specifically on the US market, with an aspirational 10 year goal of bringing the majority of the US internet market into the Althea marketplace, helping facilitate nationwide decentralization. 

The team is excited to launch the Althea chain in the next couple of months. Post-launch, the team will be heavily focused on scaling the marketplace, and providing higher transaction reliability throughout the network. Althea will also be launching the first user owned fiber networks and LTE stack this year.

“Althea is working at the very foundations of internet infrastructure.” 

- Justin Kilpatrick 

Special Thanks 

Special thanks to Deborah, and Justin from Althea for spending an hour with Staking Hub to answer all of our questions! 

Thank you to Elizabeth, our Protocol Analyst & Governance Expert, for co-hosting. Feel free to join our Staking Hub Telegram group if you haven’t already.

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