U.S-based Peer-to-Peer VPN Provider Orchid will start offering a private network for free to journalists across the globe, according to an announcement made on March 20.
According to Orchid, journalists who have press credentials and proof of status, regardless of their geographical location, can send an email to the company so they can access the network.
VPN free as a measure against press censorship
Speaking with Cointelegraph, Dr. Steven Waterhouse, CEO and co-founder of Orchid Labs, made some comments regarding the motivations that led the VPN provider to offer such a feature:
"In the wake of crises, freedom of the press often gets restricted. This was demonstrated this week when the Chinese government announced that they would require journalists with expiring press credentials to return them and leave the country. Due to these latest circumstances, Orchid wants to ensure journalists have the ability to access and transmit accurate information, no matter their geographic location."
Blockchain’s role in the VPN service
Waterhouse highlighted the decentralized technology behind the services offered by Orchid, whose network allows bandwidth providers to earn Orchid digital currency (OXT).
Orchid Labs' CEO highlighted the importance of decentralized blockchain characteristics in building the service, which would grant the user greater privacy. This is especially valuable for journalists residing in countries actively restricting press freedom.
On blockchain-based infrastructure, Dr. Waterhouse, who has a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Cambridge, told Cointelegraph:
"Orchid enables peer-to-peer payments for bandwidth with a probabilistic nanopayment system. This system is a novel layer-2 solution on Ethereum that captures the unforgeability, irreversibility, and censorship resistance that comes with blockchain technology, with the added benefits of negligible transaction fees and availability."
By issuing a large volume of "lottery tickets" to payment recipients instead of on-chain transactions, says Waterhouse, the network achieves consumer-grade confirmation speeds and negligible transaction fees, while maintaining its independence from a central issuer.
The co-founder of Orchid ensures that, due to traffic directed through multiple servers, no single party can see the full picture, something he considers crucial for journalists who can take advantage of the free service.