How much does bandwidth cost on Orchid?Apr 2, 2020
Orchid is uniquely designed to offer online privacy at a competitive cost. Bandwidth on Orchid is therefore priced dynamically to meet the needs of both users and providers. This is done through a unique bandwidth marketplace, where numerous providers can compete to offer their services to users. Users pay for bandwidth using the OXT cryptocurrency, which is available on Coinbase and OKEx. Orchid is a pay-as-you-go service that can be customized based on a user's needs, with bandwidth prices varying depending on the requirements of the use case.
The price of bandwidth on Orchid is designed to fluctuate with the market, so there is no set "price" of bandwidth on the network. Bandwidth providers are free to set their own rates, and Orchid itself does not mandate pricing. Nonetheless, we expect prices to remain competitive with existing VPNs and privacy solutions.
Orchid's system of nanopayments is designed to strengthen privacy and incentivize bandwidth providers to offer ample bandwidth at reasonable prices. The goal of the marketplace is to make it possible for any person's online needs to be met at any time.
Get started for as little as 5 OXT
Currently, each OXT provides approximately 10 GBs of service on Orchid. A user can get started for as little as 5 OXT -- but we recommend setting up an account with 50 OXT. This should be enough to last for a sufficient period of time that users won't have to go back into their accounts and add funds too regularly. With 50 OXT, we estimate you would get approximately 250 GBs of service, which could last an entire year.
Moreover, bandwidth prices are expected to be highly stable in dollar terms. If cryptocurrencies fluctuate in value, the amount of OXT required to purchase bandwidth will change accordingly. But the price in dollars should remain stable, all things being equal.
Unlike privacy solutions that charge a monthly subscription, Orchid is pay-as-you go. Once a user has funded their account, bandwidth is automatically paid for as it is used -- the app draws down the account's OXT balance in the background. When the OXT in a person's account runs low, they simply top it up and continue browsing. For these users, the 10 GBs per OXT estimate should be a good approximation of bandwidth cost.
Read our detailed guide to getting started with OXT here.
Dynamic pricing to match user needs
Pricing on Orchid is designed to be flexible in order to meet the needs of all users. Market forces are expected to guard against sharp price increases or decreases. If demand surges, for example, more bandwidth providers are likely to offer their services to take advantage of rising prices. This increased capacity should in turn push prices lower again.
In a marketplace of many different bandwidth contributors, users can apply different settings based on their particular needs. These settings range from "off the shelf" to fully customizable. For those who simply want to browse the Internet, and maybe watch the occasional video, Orchid offers a simple "On" button. This is a "set it and forget it" option that lets people browse freely without the need for advanced configurations.
We recognize, though, that there are many more intensive and advanced use cases for Orchid. For advanced users, Orchid is highly customizable. People can configure an unlimited number of hops between providers, and purchase bandwidth allowing them to send, receive, or stream large amounts of data for professional or entertainment purposes -- hosting a large Zoom conference, for example. These use cases would be expected to be more expensive than the simple "On" button setting, since they require much more bandwidth.
Orchid is designed to match user demand with provider capacity. Obviously, there are as many online use cases as there are people. There are also many different online bandwidth providers that provide an array of services ranging from simple web browsing to high-quality video streaming and gaming. Orchid's marketplace is designed to meet all of these user needs dynamically, efficiently, and sustainably.
How Orchid's pricing compares to other privacy solutions
Most VPNs charge a monthly or yearly subscription fee -- usually $5-12 per month or $30-50 per year. This means people are paying wildly varying effective rates depending on how much they use a service. While those who use it on a daily basis, or for intensive purposes like video, are likely getting their money's worth, many people pay the subscription without using enough bandwidth to justify the cost. The providers effectively earn passive income from these low-use subscribers.
Tor, another popular privacy solution, is free for users. Like Orchid, Tor is an open-source project that has garnered praise from many in the privacy and open-source communities. But Tor's free model carries a drawback: since bandwidth on the network is "donated," there is no incentive for providers beyond their commitment to web privacy. The result is that bandwidth on Tor is often inadequate and users encounter bottlenecks and slow download speeds.
Orchid's design combines flexibility with market incentives to deliver a sustainable bandwidth marketplace. This combination is intended to provide adequate incentives to contributors while maintaining a fair and reasonable pricing scheme for users. Since the marketplace is dynamic and settings are customizable, we cannot say with certainty how pricing will evolve over time. But we have carefully built Orchid to match user needs with bandwidth capacity. Someone who is a heavy user will pay more; a person who only occasionally uses a VPN will pay less. As overall demand ebbs and flows, so should bandwidth prices as well. But the market is designed to be efficient and, crucially, to offer the broadest array of options available.
Orchid is available for download
Orchid is available for download here. In order to support as broad a user base as possible, Orchid is available in English, Mandarin, and other languages.
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