Node (high level)

Mysterium network will act as a decentralized marketplace between service providers and consumers. Both providers and consumers participate in building and maintaining the network infrastructure by running the Mysterium Node software (myst).

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Service provider

Any Mysterium network node can become a service provider and provide VPN services using its own infrastructure. To become a service provider, the following steps should be performed:

  • Create a personal user identity.
  • Register the user identity.
  • Create a service proposal.
  • Register the service proposal with the Discovery service.

All Mysterium network nodes should have a valid identity to interact with other systems. The myst binary provides a way to create the required identity.

After creating the identity, the user should finish the identity registration process to be able to provide services in the Mysterium network.

The registered identity is used as one of the components for creating a service proposal, that acts as a complete description of the service that the service provider will provide.

The created proposal should be registered with the service discovery component to allow other network participants to search through all available services and consume them.

After successfully registering a proposal, the service provider waits for an incoming request. It handles all valid requests and establishes a new VPN session for the consumer.

The service provider then sends all the required information for establishing a VPN session to the consumer.

Service consumer

The same myst binary could be used as a service consumer. The service consumer must also have a registered identity to be able to communicate with the provider.

Once the consumer has created and registered an identity in the network, the consumer can request the list of available service proposals from the discovery service. The results of this request can be filtered through the Discovery API.

The service consumer chooses the service proposal that fits his requirements and starts a communication dialog to negotiate session creation.

The service consumer receives the required information for establishing a VPN session from the provider. It then initializes the VPN session creation process.

When the VPN session is established, the service consumer can consume the provided services as needed. Also, the service consumer can close the session at any time.

User identity

There are interconnected software agents (we call one instance of this an identity agent) representing digital identities. Each identity agent acts on behalf of a person controlling the identity.

This software agent is a functional part of the application (a Mysterium network node) used to connect to the Mysterium network to provide or consume VPN services.

The identity is created by generating public and private keys. The identity is identified by a unique identifier derived from a public key by using the last 20 bytes of a keccak256 hash of the public key.

This identity can be made publicly known to other network users by announcing its existence through invoking an identity registration smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain.

After the identity contract is successfully executed the public key of identity is appended to the Ethereum blockchain by miners. At this point, the appended identity becomes a Registered Identity.

Nodes can use the Registered Identities database to lookup public keys associated with other identities. This database is used by nodes to check if the communications received from other nodes are from a valid registered identity and are properly signed.

Service discovery

Service providers willing to provide VPN services can announce their services to the network.

Every client is free to choose different services from the same or multiple providers on the Mysterium network. A consumer of VPN services uses the Discovery API to search for a service adhering to their requirements:

  • Service type.
  • Location of service (where internet traffic will appear to originate from).
  • Metering units.
  • Maximum price per metered unit and committed bandwidth.

To announce a service, the provider's node prepares a service proposal.

Service proposal

A service proposal encodes the proposal format version, provider description, qualitative service definition, and a list of methods for reaching the provider's node.

The provider's identity agent then signs this proposal and the node invokes a service announcement to the Discovery API. The proposal becomes publicly available for everyone.

Communication channel

Messaging channels enable nodes to exchange messages.

A dialogue between nodes can be started over any type of messaging channel available to both nodes participating in a dialogue. One default channel type and associated communication protocol is to be defined and supported on all Mysterium network clients.

Each message sent over a channel is signed by the sender and then encrypted.

Dialogues provide a structured way for two identities (peers) to exchange information needed to arrange payments for services provided and provision service sessions.

Session establishment

To start a service session a client must request the creation of a session. The request includes the service proposal used to discover the service, a correlation ID used to correlate response, and application specific data.

After receiving this request, the provider may respond with an acceptance or refusal. In the case that a session opening was refused, a reason for refusal is supplied. In the case that a session opening is accepted, a session ID is returned to the client along with application specific data.

The client should then use the application specific information received from a provider to try to establish a data carrying channel(s) and report back to the node. The client node then sends a message indicating confirmation of the successful opening of a session or failure to open a session to the provider.

Message broker

At the moment Mysterium network uses a centralized message broker for communicating between nodes in the network. It allows sending and receiving messages by registered network participants.

OpenVPN service

In the current implementation the VPN session between a service provider and service consumer is established using OpenVPN.

OpenVPN creates a tunnel between the provider and consumer that is used for data transfer.

User IP-address is obfuscated via the OpenVPN tunnel. Destination services will only see the IP-address of the service provider.

All data transferred in this tunnel is encrypted to prevent reading by unauthorized intermediate systems.

Blockchain

Mysterium network depends on blockchain technologies.

In the Mysterium network, all network users have an account (identity) managed by a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ethereum allows running decentralized code with smart contracts, enabling reliable services and payment handling.

Identity service and database of registered identities ensures the proper identity acknowledgement between service providers and consumers.

All processes in the Mysterium network, like payments and identity registration, are done using Ethereum blockchain smart contracts.

Any participant in the Mysterium network has access to the information stored in the blockchain.