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Starting today, it only costs $1 to get started with Orchid

Starting today, it only costs $1 to get started with Orchid

Mar 25, 2021

People can now get started using Orchid on iOS/MacOS (Android support coming soon) for as little as $1. The platform now runs on less costly blockchains to reduce gas fees. As a result, users can fund an Orchid account backed with XDAI using a simple in-app purchase, and use that account for pay-as-you-go distributed VPN service.

With Orchid's iOS and macOS app, users simply buy VPN credits for $1, $5 or $20, which is then turned into a XDAI-backed account. Once the user's VPN is active, users are only charged for the bandwidth run through the VPN, with no recurring monthly or annual subscription fee, in stark contrast to other VPN offerings. The current market rate for Orchid service is only $0.06 per GB. Orchid built an innovative payments system called probabilistic nanopayments that allow for tiny amounts of money -- thousandths of a penny in crypto  -- to be sent between parties. This capability makes it possible for users to pay based on usage alone -- a feature unique among VPN services, which fixes a pain point for a major group of users where an all you can eat subscription model doesn't make sense.

Orchid is also the first blockchain-based consumer application to allow users to set up accounts through in-app purchases (IAPs). IAPs allow people to set up Orchid accounts and use the service with nothing more than an ordinary credit card. Simply open the app to get started for as little as $1.

Orchid's payment structure is radically different from those of other VPN services, which typically charge a monthly subscription fee. These fees are based on "use-it-or-lose-it" contracts optimized to extract maximum revenue from users, even if they rarely use the product. VPN subscriptions are designed to lock users into long-term commitments at the outset, before they know how often they are likely to use the service.

Even more extractive than fixed contracts are so-called free VPNs. We've written previously about the dangers of such services: if the product is free, it's likely that you are the product. Many "free" VPNs log users' traffic and sell them on to third parties -- undermining the purpose of the privacy service altogether.

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Typical VPN subscription models charge the same fee to everyone regardless of usage, so that the consumers who use it only occasionally subsidize the users who use the VPN all the time. Payments on Orchid, by contrast, are designed to be reflective of the individual user's needs and preferences, both in terms of frequency and intensity of usage.

Orchid is designed to achieve the highest standards of user privacy as well as speed and flexibility. In addition to its innovative payments system, Orchid lets users configure multiple "hops" between VPN providers. With this feature, you can ensure that even if any individual provider is compromised, your Internet activity will remain private since it is routed through multiple encrypted VPN servers.

This low cost was achieved by augmenting Orchid's blockchain infrastructure. Orchid is built on the Ethereum blockchain, which has recently seen a rise in "gas" fees for transactions on the network -- fees that affected the price of the Orchid service. The solution is to add support for other blockchains that are compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) -- in particular, xDAI, which is a popular and secure Ethereum scaling solution. Now, bandwidth on Orchid can be purchased with xDAI and digital assets from other EVM-compatible chains, avoiding Ethereum's high fees.

Affordability and flexibility will both be key for digital privacy in the years ahead. The VPN market is growing rapidly across the globe, particularly in developing countries, and it's essential that people have access to a service that meets their needs where they are, on their terms. To protect user privacy, the Orchid Network brings together technical innovations to provide strong privacy, ample bandwidth and flexibility, and now has the lowest cost of any open-source VPN provider. In doing so, we hope to make it easier than ever for more people to reclaim the Internet as a place of open exploration.

Download the Orchid app today to start exploring the Internet freely.

Download the app and join Orchid’s privacy network today!

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Dec 2, 2020
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