James McDowall delves deeper into Sentinel
Sentinel’s lead developers and Head of Strategy James McDowall, recently took part in an ‘AMA’ (Ask Me Anything) hosted by Eric Su, head of the CryptoSmart Telegram group.
Sentinel is a distributed Resources and Services marketplace with bandwidth as the first resource and dVPN as the first dApp or Service running on the Sentinel Network. There are additional services like Sentinel dChat aka Sentrix that utilise both storage and bandwidth on the Sentinel Network.
Here’s the walk-through of the Sentinel Desktop App v0.1.0:
Complete walk-through of the Sentinel Desktop App v0.1.0 fir Windows
and a sneak peek of the Sentinel Desktop App v0.1.1:
Sneak peek of the Sentinel Desktop App v0.1.1 which is currently under development. New features will be announced soon!
Here’s a preview of the Sentinel dChat:
Preview of Sentinel dChat aka Sentrix, the second Service on the Sentinel Network after the dVPN
This is the first time that team behind Sentinel Network has engaged in an AMA. Below are the questions, answers and messages/replies by the team & other community members during the 60 minute session.
Let’s start off by asking what exactly is Sentinel Network?
In simple terms the Sentinel Network is a blockchain based P2P driven ecosystem that has the key prerogative of allowing service providers to monetise on their bandwidth provision and to allow end-users to consume these services in a safe and trustless manner.
Exchange of digital resources whether it is storage, computing power or bandwidth in a decentralised environment requires a sort of consensus. The fact is that a bandwidth user could report a different outcome from the service provider. The same way a bitcoin miner could report false work.
Sentinel has developed the first bandwidth metering consensus system in active operation, essentially meaning that p2p bandwidth distribution in its decentralised network is fully confirmed by it’s consensus governance measures.
On the Ethereum Rinkeby chain where the dVPN is operational there is a network of masternodes observing p2p tunnels and then inscribing the session usage metrics into an unpaid block on the chain. Users of the dVPN are prohibited from accessing the dApp until this block is satisfied.
On the Tendermint network, Sentinel uses the bPOS validator network to act as the confirmation consensus for bandwidth usage. Not through the direct observation of tunnels but through the reporting of the usage logs & proofs to the network.
So it is its own blockchain? Is it based on a fork of another project?
Yeah, its Sentinel’s own blockchain. It is not a fork of another project.
Currently $SENT token is an ERC20 token and we will soon move to our native token on the Tendermint blockchain.
Our own blockchain consensus is bBFT (bonded BFT) and is developed using Tendermint Core and the Cosmos SDK.
You can check the live testnet here — https://explorer.sentinel.co
There are 3 Sentinel tokens on the market. Have you guys thought of rebranding?
Sentinel was publicly launched in October 2017, before the time that any other project even proposed the name Sentinel. Regardless Sentinel branding continued while two other highly funded “Sentinel’s” were conceived afterwards. Both of the other Sentinel projects are less than 1/3 of their ICO values while Sentinel retains its $2M ICO mark — this is due to a number of reasons pertaining to true utility. Sentinel does not plan to change its branding as we believe that the name and branding is apt to the actual utility being provided on a daily basis, and we are confident that we will become the premiere ‘Sentinel’ within the next year.
No. We never intended to rebrand. We have the ticker $SENT and we were the first to claim it. However, since we are a network, we plan to make Sentinel Network quite popular in future rather than just ‘Sentinel’ as a brand.
I did some research on Cosmos and saw that you guys were early adopters of Tendermint and will potentially be one of the first projects to launch once cosmos goes mainnet. Could you explain why the team chose Cosmos/Tendermint?
Had to choose our own blockchain as we could not power the consensus with shared security. We would not have had the control on governance as required. Also, we explored other engines but they all failed to live up to the standards and vision of Tendermint due to which we chose the same.
Just did some googling and found some medium documentations for others here:
Wow, the Sentinel team has quite a lot of documentation, great for education.
Why is governance so important for you guys (reason why you built on Tendermint very early)?
1) We have to make sure both Service Provider & Service User agree on consumption.
2) We will not only incentivise people for doing a good job running nodes, but also need to penalise when they DON’T do a good job. Good here will be perfectly defined.
3) The need to develop a network where governance can be shared, but each Service/dApp might have it’s own way to utilise the same.
For example: dChat, a Service, might primarily use 2 resources — network and storage from independent resource providers. Although computing is used, it will be accounted for in the costs of the bandwidth and storage.
Could you perhaps explain the value proposition for building on Tendermint?
In simple words:
- Interoperability among chains:
This is quite important for Sentinel Network as we are a network of multiple Services and Resources that run on the network — either on the Sentinel Public Network or as independent Private Networks.
- The Cosmos Network
- Vision of Tendermint and their roadmap that aligns with the Cosmos SDK
- Active developer centric ecosystem around the project
- We saw the potential early. In fact, we saw the potential around 1 year before Binance started to build it’s own DEX on the same infrastructure that Sentinel Network is built on.
How much was raised for the project? How does the group/company sustain itself?
Sentinel raised $2,000,000, that was used exclusively for the funding of development apart from initial exchanges. Sentinel is closely immersed in the Cosmos ecosystem and is assured sustenance due to its cooperation with other non-crypto and crypto blockchain projects working on Tendermint.
As we have one of the world’s biggest Tendermint dev teams (highly proficient), there is a lot of value we provide to others that ensures our runway is much longer than was initially prepared for. We are determined to become an authority in terms of development competency on Tendermint/Cosmos and the blockchain space in general.
As of today, how complete is the project?
We will say the project is still in it’s initial phases with the dVPN being just one aspect of it.
We will consider it a success when enterprises utilise Sentinel Network to run their own internal Private Networks & mainstream privacy conscious people all over the world that want to secure themselves start utilising the Services & Utilities running on the Sentinel Network
That’s very smart focusing on enterprise. How big is the team?
It is over 30 dedicated people working on different aspects of Sentinel Network
dVPN – UI for Client, Backend, Tendermint, Cosmos SDK, OpenVPN, WireGuard, SOCKS5, Android, iOS, etc
The same with dChat, Relay Network and Private Net too.
Lots of projects talk a big game in the space. Could you tell us about your execution, and maybe talk about your GitHub? Is it active?
Sentinel’s development team continues to show absolute perseverance regardless of market sentiment, currently ranking #67 on Crypto Miso (https://www.cryptomiso.com) and as high as top 50 over the past 6 months. Sentinel’s GitHub activity and code quality rivals that of high-cap networks.
View the commits and releases at:
Is there any effort being done in providing liquidity to token owners beyond the current exchange? Hitbtc is not the most celebrated exchange around here.
We did take this feedback on board from the community and were recently listed on OKEX partner exchange Coinall.
Coinall is somewhat a proving ground for OKEX. If Sentinel shows good volume and solid community traction we will be automatically upgraded to OKEX.
One step at a time. We are confident.
What are current incumbent apps Sentinel Network is targeting to supplant? Are you guys trying to be the AWS of dApps?
Not really. We do not want to position ourselves that way.
We want to make sure to position ourselves to be in the Network space primarily isolated networks.
Why is that important?
We aim to facilitate exchange of computing resources and run Services that are specific to a Private Net — for an organisation like IBM or your friendly startup in the hood — all need to protect themselves from external attacks (like a firewall) and secure their data. Right now, it is not possible unless there’s a lot of tech know-how by the guys doing this.
We aim to make it happen in the easiest way possible.
Apps will be developed by the Sentinel Team including dVPN (in alpha), dChat (under development), dVoIP (as both are supported by Matrix Server, a communication protocol) and more to be announced in the future.
“Sentinel is just providing infrastructure not encouraging negative behavior”
Agreed. The way I see it, cryptography was illegal and seen as a weapon once upon a time. Now though, it is standard. Tech advances all the time.
We prefer to talk about security when referring to Sentinel rather than allowing bad people to do bad things, which they always will no matter what. dVPN helps people who interact with digital currency for example stay more secure and avoid being hacked. dVPN helps people who use public WiFi networks stay more secure and avoid sensitive data being stolen by hackers. Sentinel helps big companies keep sensitive information secure when traveling. The privacy vs security debate will rage on for ever more but I am very passionate about the peer to peer transaction of computing resources that only this technology allows and think it is a true breakthrough, which is why I became fascinated with Sentinel and want to see the technology spread to help people all over the world stay secure and safe whilst using the internet.
The big thing for me that I like to explain to people when talking about Sentinel is that centralised VPNs are simply not secure. There are more and more reports of centralised VPN providers collecting and selling data or being forced or bribed to give it up. There is also no proof that your data is even being encrypted. With Sentinel’s open source code that anyone can view and trust, you know you’re safe and secure.
Even Facebook recently have been providing a VPN, but what people are starting to wake up to is: “hang on, who is in control of my data? Who holds it? Who can access it? Who are they selling it to?”
Is there any use of the token beyond incentivising node providers?
Yes. Not only for incentivizing and penalizing nodes, but also has other use cases like locking of tokens in a pre-paid payment model for a service, bonding/delegating it to validators to power a specific Service (like dVPN or dChat) and the entire network as a whole.
There’s a tonne of failed projects in crypto with zombie tokens being traded. What is SENT’s thoughts on this?
We don’t focus on other projects, we focus on Sentinel.
I think the filtration of the bear market was much needed and it has been harsh but fair to some of the pretenders in the space. The ‘failed project’ tokens will be delisted by exchanges as we have seen from many of the top exchanges recently and ultimately cease to exist. Markets are efficient by nature, as soon as there are no buyers left for a particular digital asset, there is no longer a market. In Sentinel’s case, the real working products, several use cases and ever-growing user-base ensures there will continue to be a market.
We’d love you all to keep an eye on:
Best place to do that would be the https://stats.sentinel.co
Sentinel is one of the few dApps which experiences true utility with over 200-250GB in data consumption & thousands of unique users on a daily basis.
We are exhibiting real utility, real users, real usage, and real pain points being solved.
Why are most of the team members anonymous? Isn’t there a concern that one of you goes rogue and compromise the whole network/layer?
Yep! That’s of course there and hence team mates choose to communicate selectively.
Due to the nature of the product and the services offered, we believe it is best to associate as contributors than anyone else. We encourage active community participation and believe identity is not a factor when merit & diligence are being considered as metrics … you see, our traffic is coming in from places where people need it the most and hence we need to make sure we secure ourselves before we do that to the world.
When you are building something that systematically and gradually breaking down billion dollar enterprises that thrives on centralised offerings and are subjected to centralised regulations, you have to ensure there are no single points of failure.
The core principle that every line of code has to be open source and that each and every individual is free to run their node from it, we have then achieved the transparency that is needed.
This, for me, is more powerful than any project that hides their core repository privately…
“$SENT Android #dVPN User downloads from #GooglePlay show that the #Sentinel Network is being utilised in regions where there is a very high demand for solutions to unrestricted browsing.
18.6k downloads within 5 months and thousands of active users. Let’s revisit this in 2020
I have asked all questions I have. Any parting words?
Yeah! We believe in the ideology and believe in the concept of securing users. We are sure we will do it no matter what — bear or bull. All we care about is the tech that’s implemented. Be it blockchain, network layer, etc.
We encourage users to try out Sentinel dVPN and check it out for yourselves.
GitHub Downloads: https://github.com/sentinel-official/sentinel/releases
Medium Blog: — https://medium.com/sentinel
Thank You for hosting us. We take this as an inspiration to do more such AMAs on our own channel and Reddit too.
About Sentinel Network
Sentinel Network is a network layer that enables a true p2p and decentralised applications and resources marketplace. Sentinel enables anyone to create Public and Private networks that provide access to both free and incentivised, and also payment method agnostic (pre-paid/escrow/post-paid) services (dApps) & distributed resources, enabling its clients to become both producers and consumers in the network.
Sentinel utilises locking, staking and multi-sig directly from Tendermint core and Cosmos SDK and aims to fully eliminate the disadvantages of previous generation protocols, that couldn’t scale due to limitations of the blockchain they share with other dApps or that have an unsustainable economic model that reduces usability or access to the product they offer.
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