I found out about the Oyster protocol in November 2017. This was another project in the crypto sphere that had me hooked very quickly. The project is based on IOTA, an alternative idea that had looked at all of Bitcoin’s shortcomings and said: “We can do it better”. IOTA works off of the premise that instead of having miners that are dedicated to confirming transactions in Bitcoin, it used instead, a method where if you want to send a transaction you had to confirm two transactions before you. This can be looked at as a sort of micro-mining. The technology that supports this system is called The Tangle which is a different go on the blockchain.
Above is a visualization of what the Tangle looks like, every transaction is linked to another.
IOTA is focusing on machine to machine communication as to send or make a transaction you do not have to pay a fee as in its opponent blockchain. This enables a world of connected devices that can communicate for essentially no cost other than to confirm two transactions before itself. This is where the wave of speculation that your fridge and microwave one day will be connected to the internet and order more bread or milk from the store before you run out. Smart automated cars that pay for fuel and drive people to destinations with a driverless taxi, these are just a couple random concepts that explore what the technology is capable of.
Aside from the groundwork of IOTA being briefly explained on a high level above, is the Oyster protocol which runs on top of the IOTA tangle. Oyster aims to solve the problem of intrusive and malware ridden ads that are ruining the user’s experience when surfing the internet. How it does this is simple yet complex in its inner workings. A website has to make an income some way to afford its existence online, and the traditional method to do this is to blast ads at the viewer through 3rd party advertising protocols. This creates massive overheads of extra bandwidth and CPU usage to display these ads on your screen. (Heres where it gets a little complex so bear with me) The Oyster solution is to have website viewers “rent out” a small portion of their devices CPU in order to find “buried” pearl which is the Oysters utility token. The token is used essentially to accommodate data storage. You buy the token PRL which allows you to upload any kind of data (images, files, videos etc.) from your computer to a decentralized IOTA Tangle as explained above. The data is split up, encrypted and placed on Broker Nodes that “mine” PRL. When you pay in PRL to have your data stored, this PRL token is split into two amounts. Half is buried in one encryption block for the Broker nodes to find and the other half is buried in a separate location for the website visitors to find. This is done via a line of code inside the website that allows a small portion of the web site viewers CPU to be utilized to “mine” this buried treasure (PRL) and the reward is sent to the website owner. The website is ad-free and the owner of the website is being paid in PRL to keep it that way.
This can be seen as a “two birds one stone” situation. People want decentralized data storage and an ad-free experience surfing the internet.
“But!” You might say “I don’t want to mine these tokens in order to see an ad-free website that’s very invasive!” Yes, that would be a valid argument if it were as expensive as what your thinking, but it isn’t. “Mining” these PRL is far less CPU intensive as running the ads that you’re claiming to prefer. Oyster aims to utilize around 5 percent or lower of the website viewers devices to make this all work. Here is a website showing this in action https://codepen.io/jet/full/QBwveW/ you can actually open up your task manager and see the processing happening on your computer. This has incredible benefits for the website owner to provide clean, ad-free content to the website user without compromising security and the incredible annoyance of picking the content out from the ads while viewing the website. The PRL token is initially going to be pegged to 64gb’s of storage space which at the moment is 10 cents, this storage is decentralized and supports unlimited downloads. Imagine Dropbox without “big brother” looking over your shoulder at your private information and at a (currently) far cheaper price tag.
This chart is slightly out of date as the price is around 10c/64Gb per year.
You can see the comparisons in the cost of storage from the big companies like Google and Dropbox etc. As the storage peg is set at 64gb the value of that storage is also pegged. This is why it is called a “Utility token” as opposed to Bitcoin, which is primarily a store of value token.
The whole project has gone from idea to beta product in 9 months! http://www.oysterstorage.com is a live beta test of the main net, and you can upload for free until the product is fine-tuned to be worthy of purchase. http://www.oysterprotocol.com is the home page of the teams work and can provide a lot more information and links to videos and readings.