Am I missing anything? Are the non-blockchain parts of this actually interesting?
I have no clue what the company really did, but I clearly remember the sales person there showing me a flow chart printed on a pillow.
Unrelated, but amusingly, if they want to, they could use https://secret.network/ to host their workload in peer-to-peer serverless SGX enclaves, powered by the blockchain.
I think the blockchain acts a transparency ledger among a distributed set of distrusting participants. Think: if PirateBay could pay you to seed magnet-links all the while knowing for sure you've not tampered with the the amount of bandwidth you've claimed to have lent, and the network then rewarding (paying) you the equivalent amount that you're owed for your troubles. "Blockchain" enables that.
The ICOs are akin to companies filing for IPOs. The ICOs don't strictly need speculation (because the utility of their network ideally would have an inherent, demonstrable value that dictates the price of the network's coin), but they do need the market to trade their coins, because that's how anyone participating in the network would be able to convert their rewards into fiat. (note: at this point, we're essentially reinventing Ehtereum, the super computer, as originally envisioned...)
You could aruge that many of these networks could avoid doing ICOs and simply use one of the existing cross-chain coins from Cosmos, Algorand, Polkadot (or even stable coins like USDC, Diem, Celo, BUSD, DAI etc), but it is the summer of crypto, and everyone's got to do an ICO.
What happened when utility tokens first appeared in 2017-2018 is that speculators drove the price of the tokens way above the value of the services they purported to offer, so even if they did offer a genuinely useful service (which most/all didn't) then it simply wouldn't have been cost effective to use them for their intended purpose.
The new internet.
To confuse things further, there is another company called edge.app which is an app to buy and sell crypto. I don't think they're affiliated
From that same rudimentary understanding, I would also expect performance to be comparable to Tor.
Seems like the product is mostly an excuse to push yet another cryptocoin scheme
They are part of this new trend of platform calling themselves Application Delivery Network, wherein stateless (either containerized or microvm-ed) services are deployed closed to consumer.
That spaces is getting hyper-competitive and crowded.
These guys are trying to differentiate themselves by calling themselves blockchain-powered network. To be honest, you do not have to be blockchain powered, it might just work against you as you might have to cross certain thresholds to serve content reliably. I rather prefer services and content delivered by datacenters that are certified and has some security standards than random devices in the network, unless they can somehow guarantee some standards on the devices.
This isn't it for me (blockchain is an anchor around the neck of the idea IMO), but I look forward to the day that this idea finds it's perfect (or perfectly timed) execution.
But that bandwidth usage will localize more and more and may start going over really non-traditional mediums that weren't fully integrated into the "network mesh" before. If there are 200 people in a shopping mall, with 50 of them with some LocalCDNEdge app enabled and acting as beacons -- the request may never leave the shopping mall and return data that is fresh-enough (depending on the use case of course). Yeah there's now kind of a P2P gossip storm going inside the shopping mall, but I don't think that can't be solved with some more intelligent algorithms and at the worst case, just another wifi-router-as-pop.
I mean unless I'm thinking about this wrong -- what I'm envisioning is the CDN pop solution, just with WAY more pops. Yeah you have to coordinate the pops, but delivering the same payload to two people who are right next to each other (same apartment building let's say) from the far away CDN pop is less efficient than delivering it to one of the people, and P2P for the last mile so to speak.
Also, I think I can lean on innovation emerging in the network space for how to manage this kind of thing -- "Edge" is a buzzword now but I think there's a more innovation to be had.
Given that we still don't have phones that last more than 12h of serious usage and a big issue with xmpp was that it drained battery by not using push... Local P2P on mobile phones is really not something I expect people to use. Android went fancy with opportunistic deep sleep not that many years ago - this would undo all that effort.
I'm similarly unconvinced of the suitability of pure p2p with (at least the current generation of) mobile devices. Maybe advances in bandwidth and battery technology in coming years will make such protocols more feasible for general use.
One big issue I see with IPFS is that you or someone has to pin the content or it is gone for ever. This builds centralized services that offer pinning of your content.
 - https://filecoin.io/