A $3 million R&D fund to kickstart the borderless internet
At Mysterium, we've spent years building a protocol from scratch - designed for a complete re-imagination of the web. But we know that we’ll never be able to achieve our vision for a borderless internet alone.
Today we dive deeper into our mission to create an open ecosystem of tools and infrastructure for Web3 and beyond.
We’re launching Necto Labs, an open-source innovation lab driven by R&D, venture funding and strategic collaborations to build a better web for all.
The Lab will fund the development of new borderless and private tools and infrastructure that further digital rights, free access to information and freedom of expression.
It unites a digital collective of builders, researchers and projects who want to take on the mammoth challenge of undoing decades of harmful centralisation and corporatisation.
A borderless web is more critical than ever
The launch of this Lab comes at a time when we’re forced to consider technological imperatives; amid its hostile takeover of Ukraine, the Russian government has disconnected its own people from the World Wide Web to hide their actions and spread misinformation. Digital sanctions have further isolated the nation.
The internet is a lifeline and political battlefield. But censorship and surveillance is only expected to increase worldwide.
Many within the Mysterium team have experienced censorship first-hand, growing up during the days of the USSR. We know what’s at stake, and now we have the tools to re-engineer the internet and safeguard freedom of expression.
We believe the solution has to also be on an infrastructural level, not just a policy one.
An Infrastructure Layer for the Open Internet
Mysterium’s network is powerful enough to act as a building block for developers and entrepreneurs all pioneering a more private and ethical internet.
Since Mysterium’s mainnet launch, the peer-to-peer network has expanded to over 21,000 nodes, spread across 126 countries (a 288% increase in just four months, and 1135% in 1 year!).
With the increasing adoption of Web3 tools and general movement towards permissionless ecosystems, we expect many more to join the network to help open up the internet to those in need.
Eight projects are already connected to Lavafy, Mysterium’s Network-As-A-Service, including five commercial VPNs and three proxy services.
Compared to traditional privacy networks, this kind of infrastructure also provides more resilience to internet blackouts and censorship, because the technology does not need to depend on centralised servers, making it harder for the government to censor, without a central point to target.
The network creates a secure and censorship-resistant layer of the internet powered by everyday people, instead of companies that can be subject to subpoenas, policy, or government coercion and control.
Join the Seed Program
Necto Labs is allocating $3 million in seed funding to research, test and launch private, encrypted and uncensorable products and services on the network.
Some use cases in focus include:
But there are no limitations. The Lab is looking for any meaningful application of the open protocol, exit node network or technology.
We also encourage teams to build solutions for social impact. We want to make sure resources are being used to solve real-world problems and create shared value for communities in need. Teams can collaborate with any relevant organisation to create tools or services that champion digital rights.
We also understand that entrepreneurship and development are two separate worlds. The Lab is not just funding innovation, but setting up teams for long-term success.
Successful applicants will receive up to $50,000 in initial funding and incubator support to validate new ideas via MVPs and working prototypes.
Teams get to work with an in-house team of technical mentors, product marketers, UX designers and business development consultants. They also get access to a network of industry experts and partner organisations. The Lab provides commercial and technical office hours, with full support to de-bug and develop solutions.
Projects will automatically be considered for follow-on funding opportunities based on their developed solutions, so there is great potential to scale beyond seed.
Time to make some Web3 magic :)