People who don’t know a torrent from a stream care about Kim Dotcom, the founder of file hosting service Megaupload and bane of the MPAA, because they saw the raid, a televised, suns-out-guns-out assault that ended with the renowned German hacktivist and serial entrepreneur behind bars. Dotcom, who resides in New Zealand, didn’t stay jailed for long and failed to learn whatever the lesson was supposed to be. After a few quiet years — check out his adorable family pictures to Instagram — Dotcom is now giving the world a taste of what he’s going to build next: It’s called MegaNet and it’s a giant middle finger to the authorities.
What Dotcom hopes to do is build a new decentralized network using the idle storage on mobile phones, encrypt it, and use blockchain technology, the immutable public ledger that tracks Bitcoin transactions, to protect “entire websites” from hacker and denial of service attacks. In essence, Dotcom wants to build a populist shadow internet capable, presumably, of doubling as an international phone network and anonymous information repository. Because MegaNet will not be IP address-based, its users will be essentially untraceable.
The claim here befits a man with his own political party (that would be the Internet Party): Dotcom is saying he can use modern tech to create a peaceful, egalitarian version of the current Internet free of corporate and government control. He’s been saying this for a while now and the idea hasn’t gotten any less compelling.
But, this being 2015, he’s also going to have to be a crowdfunder. Dotcom plans to partner with BnktotheFuture.com, a Bitcoin investment fund, and offer equity in MegaNet through a crowd funding portal. He’ll need quite a lot of money so, whether or not what he’s describing is actually possible to build (it likely is), he’ll have to clear several major logistical hurdles.
Fortunately for Dotcom, getting over hurdles is easy when you’ve got a helicopter.