It was an enlightening and informative talk. I have to say I start off as a bit-currency skeptic for a lot of reasons, most of which are extraneous to this discussion. What’s important here is that I can now see a practical use in the goTenna Mesh context.
Of course, starting as someone who sees the value in the device for many reasons, my skepticism is rooted in the notion that people do good things, like putting up mesh networks that mostly benefit others, for a variety of social and altruistic reasons. I’m not sure how to incentivize that, especially in ways that don’t undermine the moral suasion that results in these things coming into being.
What’s convinced me that bit-currency has some value here is the argument that it’s mainly about getting people to leave their goTennas on in order to encourage availability as relays. This is surprisingly hard to do, even though the energy consumed by keeping it on is tiny and requires simply remembering to plug it in.
Even in the household, my significant other’s device is rarely turned on unless there’s something specific expected requiring its use. In comparison, mine is almost always on and the backup in the truck is on 24/7 due to a much bigger battery being available. But I’m an old radio guy who knows people can’t reach me if the radio’s not on.
What it’s hoped that TxTenna does is to encourage users to keep their personal GTMs on in order to reap the potential income that it may generate. Weirdly enough, this combination of a screen, a keyboard, some social media touches, and some trickling in of “funds” that can be used for other services may work, where a little more knowledge and persistent encouragement doesn’t.
Also, for the folks who are always asking about goTenna and open source… Richard has some interesting comments about how the various SDKs and a mysterious “Lot 49” will support open source solutions in mesh networking. I won’t spoil any of that with specifics, but the video is well worth listening to to hear them in context.