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BitData: A Peer-to-Peer Mobile Data System
Daneel Uys B.Eng (Pr Eng)
Abstract. A purely peer-to-peer version of mobile Wi-Fi data would allow
data to be transmitted directly from one party to another without making
use of expensive, mobile internet service providers.
BitTorrent revolutionised file sharing technology as we know it. Whether one likes it
or not, BitTorrent was able to circumvent copyright laws with its file sharing pro tocol,
causing a change in the way we share files. The technology, which can be used for
good in a legal manner as well, changed the way the world considered file sharing
forever and forced a shift in power, from the media monopoly to participants in its
distributed peer-to-peer architecture. It is this distributed peer-to-peer architecture
which makes BitTorrent immune to being shut down. Prior to its creation, file sharing
entities were easily shut down by physically going to the server’s location an d
shutting down the operation. Popular services like Netflix would probab ly not exist
today if it was not for the BitTorrent protocol forcing the industry to innovate.
BitTorrent is a clear example of technology enabling a free market to exist even when
it is suppressed by giants [1].
Bitcoin is now busy doing the same to banking - and financial institutions. Banking
fees, delays in transactions, the downs of the fiat monetary system and centralized
control of customers’ money are the issues that Bitcoin is addressing. Bitcoin is a
decentralized virtual currency. This currency is exchanged digitally and also managed
by a peer-to-peer network, rather than a central bank or authority. For a full
understanding of the working of Bitcoin see [2].
BitTorrent is to file-sharing as Bitcoin is to money [1], so will BitData be to mobile
data. BitData is the technology that I
will propose in this paper as an alternative to
the monopoly that mobile companies have on the market. These mobile operators
charge exorbitant fees for providing mobile data to their clients. The decentralized
JD (Daneel) Uys Daneel studied at the University of Pretoria and has worked as an Electrical Engineer in the
Transport and Power Distribution Industries. He intends pursuing this concept by approaching the mobile and
internet ISP’s, and manufacturing industry depending on the response to papers like these.
This article is written in the first person, as it is part of the initial process to establish the Intellectual Property
rights of the author. Once this is established, the author wishes to make this IP freely available to stimulate further
development and use of it, coined as “BitData”.
peer-to-peer data distribution network that I will propose here will change the way
mobile data is distributed.
Consider the following situation you are at home where you have a fast, cheap and
reliable internet connection probably connected via fixed line or even optical fibre.
The rate charged for very high speeds and uncapped data over a fixed connection is
orders of magnitudes less expensive than that what you are being charged by your
mobile data provider. If only there was a way that you could store this data, like
storing energy inside a battery, so that you can use it later when you are out of range
and in need of mobile data. Of course one cannot store data for when you need it
later, since you do not know what data you will need in the future, but can we use
some of the concepts that we have witnessed from BitTorrent and Bitcoin to
overcome this problem? I say YES, and I will explain how to do this in this paper.
What if you are willing to share your fast, cheap and reliable internet with others
around you via Wi-Fi (or other wireless technology)? (Originator Node) In return you
will get credits in a similar way as to h ow Bitcoin miners get rewarded for the work
that they do (proof-of-work concept), these credits may even be stored in a public
ledger in a similar fashion as to how Bitcoins are stored, or it can also be stored by
the application which will run the BitData protocol . You now have credits because
you shared your internet with others via Wi-Fi, your credits will be directly
proportional to the amount of data that you have shared. Now, because you have
credits, you will be able to use them the next time when you are mobile (Receiver
Node(s)) and some other user shares his internet connection (with you), transferring
your credits to him.
How will we overcome the limited range of Wi-Fi technology? By introducing a third
type of node (Transmitter Node) acting as data carriers only. These nodes are not
connected to fixed line internet connections and thus do not originate data, but they
are willing to act as intermediate nodes to transmit the internet data over greater
distances from the originator node to the receiver node who requires the data, in
return they earn the same credits bu t to a lesser extent. Each and every mobile
device with Wi-Fi capabilities and whose owner is willing to participate in the
system has now become a virtual Wi-Fi hotspot. Because of the extent to which
mobile devices are used in the modern society this will quickly cover entire
cities where population density is high, eliminating the need for the mobile
infrastructure of large mobile data providers.
The largest Wi-Fi infrastructure in the world
There are many projects currently underway that want to bring internet connectivity
to people around the world. This makes sense as the World Bank estimates that for
every 10% penetration of internet access, a country’s GDP grows by 1.28%. This
makes the goal of bringing internet access to people important for governments as
well. It seems that many of these projects focus on putting an infrastructure in place,
(in many cases) consisting of thousands of Wi-Fi Hotspots. BitData proposes that
each and every mobile device that is c onstantly moving around cities and all
over the world is a potential Wi-Fi Hotspot, forming a larger infrastructure than
what any entity will be able to economically install. There is thus no need to put
large infrastructure in place if there is enough incentive for the largest and
already existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to turn itself on [3].
How BitData functions and a possible
implementation example
BitData suggests that every Wi-Fi enabled mobile device acts as one of the three
possible nodes depending on the needs of the user. This enables mobile data
sharing in much the same way as BitTorrent enables file sharing. BitData then also
suggest rewarding Originator- and Transmitter nodes for the work that they do by
awarding credits to them, credits that can be used to become Receiver nodes at
times when the user needs mobile data. This encou rages participation in the system
in much the same way as Bitcoin encourages miners to secure the blockchain.
BitData then further suggests that these credits can be stored in a blockchain o f their
own, creating a public ledger to keep track of who owns credits.
There are many ways to implement BitData: add -ons to existing app(s) which already
have a large presence on many devices Facebook/WhatsApp, a stand-alone app
still to be created by a new company, as a feature on a device or as a feature within a
device’s operating system – IOS/Android and many more. Let’s look at one example
Android decides to add BitData as a feature to its next version. The instant that an
user upgrades to the new version they become Transmitter nodes and will earn
credits whenever data passes through their device, this could happen without them
even knowing about it. These users now have the option to also go into Receiver and
Originator modes. As an incentive to adopt the system (i.e. upgrade to the latest
version in this case), we might consider a reward system similar to the reward system
used in the cryptocurrency world: the reward here is the special BitData credits.