Pocket Network owes its existence to a carpool group.
In 2015, four mobile app developers found themselves with only one car and a shared destination. What began as a convenient commuting strategy turned into a daily blockchain and bitcoin think tank. On daily commutes, they dreamed up an ambitious blockchain-powered mobile app that would revolutionize the way consumers purchase and use mobile data during international travel. However, to their frustration, technological infrastructure did not exist to support the project they had in mind.
“That became Pocket Network,” said Patrick Maguire, marketing director of the Tampa-area firm.
In an ideal world, blockchain is completely decentralized. Unlike the hub and spokes of a bike wheel, decentralized blockchains are more like a fishing net. In the case of cryptocurrency, for example, the blockchain manages transaction requests between individual users – “nodes” – rather than funneling them through a bank. By coordinating the information transfer between individual nodes on the blockchain, users can send and receive funds directly. This decentralized method ensures safer, more efficient transactions.
While the benefits of a decentralized blockchain are widely recognized, the Pocket Network team found many blockchains were still operating on networks that looked more like the traditional hub-and-spoke method. Unfortunately, as applications developers were creating technology for the blockchain, there was little incentive for them to manage nodes, so information would travel through a single service provider. This finding is what sparked Pocket Network’s research and development of an architecture that could operate as a decentralizing mechanism for blockchain applications.
“The validity and the benefits of a decentralized network depend on these full nodes to manage requests and ensure that everyone’s database state is the same,” Maguire said. “However, in most of these platforms, there isn’t a direct incentive for an individual to run a node. So, the remaining full nodes are all centralizing into single service providers.”