For more than a little while, we've had a plan to expand the availability of our core secure network service via a slimmed-down version. By now, such things have come to be called "freemium" offerings so rather than buck the tide unnecessarily we'll just concede to that as a decent description, and go forward from there
But as we've poked and prodded at the "freemium cryptostorm service," there's been consensus on the team on a set of core requirements that are non-negotiable for us:
- ~ identical crypto suite and security hardening as the "full service" version
~ no annoying roadblocks to genuine use, like caps on total throughput or max hours per day or whatnot
~ no ads... NO ADS! Because, seriously...
~ no gimmicks, no needless complexity, no arbitrary compromises
With those basic starting points, our tech team has been slowly building up a deployment framework for this offering... and we also realised that calling it "this offering" or some such clunky name would get pretty old, pretty fast. So we grabbed a domain that seemed sort of neat: cryptofree.me (which, for now, just recursively points back to this thread... so don't get your hopes up!)
The cryptofree.me service will be based on a tweaked version of our existing network connection widget. That widget will support bandwidth-capped no-cost connectivity to the full cryptostorm network. The only difference between cryptofree.me and "full" cryptostorm network sessions is the bandwidth cap: current talk is to cap at 56kbps up/down... but that's still under discussion so we'll see how it plays out during beta testing.
The business-case on the whole thing (which matters if we're to keep the lights on and the dev folks fed & housed - which is important!) is pretty simple: we're confident that folks who use cryptofree.me will see how well the network does its job, and that xx% of those folks will decide to "upgrade" to a full cryptostorm session by purchasing a token. As to what that number "xx" is, we'll just have to see how it pans out in testing.
Also: the number of concurrent cryptofree.me sessions will be capped on a per-instance basis. This ensures that each session has access to sufficient network capacity to be useful, and that instances don't get "session flooded" bu a bunch of folks all at once... sort of a mini "tragedy of the commons" situation that we think is best avoided. So the constraint will be how many machines we can allocate to cryptofree.me sessions - which in turn will be driven essentially by the in-the-wild economics of token purchases by cryptofree.me network members.
As we get ready to alpha test the tweaked cryptofree.me widget, wei'll post details here - we're not announcing it yet on the cryptostorm.is website, as this is certainly more of a development-stage project & it seems better to house it here in the forum where members can participate more actively in the process. To that end, please do feel free to post in this thread suggestions, concerns, ideas, brainstorms, &c so we can leverage the best thinking of our community during the build-out process.
Despite the long gestation period this project has had - nearly five years since we first started kicking around the idea if we're going to be honest about it! - cryptofree.me is something we're really excited about. Mostly, the idea of dramatically expanding the pool of folks who can benefit from full-bore cryptostorm network security is what we like about it. We also like the "unmarketing" concept of allowing the service to sell itself, via upgrades from cryptofree.me to full cstorm membership: that's the sort of "marketing" we like best, and this aligns well both philosophically and architecturally.
Finally, we thought about establishing an announcement email list or something to let folks know when alpha cryptofree.me widgets are ready for testing, but that seems fiddly and not really necessary, eh? So instead, just keep an eye here or in our twitter feed & word will spread once we're ready for some community testing!
Thanks in advance for the feedback and guidance that will help make cryptofree.me a big part of our network's future
- ~ cryptostorm_team