An explanation of Threefold today for the Average User

        One of the most common questions I receive by private message is “ can you do a video explaining what threefold is?” , and honestly, its taken a long time for me to feel like I was ready to answer that question. But I finally feel like I am ready to present my opinion on what Threefold is and why it should matter to you. Albeit with a couple qualifiers, this is strictly my opinion and understanding of the project and the goals that have presented by the team AND the community. I am not a representative of either of these beyond my role as a fellow community member. With that being said,

        Threefold is a decentralized organization spanning every corner of the world working together to develop, deploy, test, and produce a “decentralized internet”. In order to do this, independent “farmers” from around the world have brought a network of over 2700 servers in 64 countries online. At the heart of this network is a fully in-house developed operating system that allows anyone with minimal experience to add a server to the network simply buy booting to a usb drive and providing an internet connection. These servers represent the backbone of a virtual private network that spans from North America to Australia. All 2700 nodes represent a bare metal device that is fully controlled by the autonomous operating system allowing them to contribute to the computational needs of the network as needed without tampering.

        This network is built to become the basis for the next generation of the digital world based on the principles of digital sovereignty and inclusivity. The goal of the threefold network is to provide the substrate network that will bring high speed internet to places where it does not exist and provide the tools to ensure all people are able to communicate, learn, and survive equally.

It can be difficult to picture what a house will look like when only its frame is standing, This is where Threefold is today,

  • Today, Z-net and the Planetary Network represent nothing less than a modern marvel creating a network of devices in thousands of locations, owned by thousands of people able to participate in the safe transport of data with end-to-end encryption across the world with no control by any centralized entity.

  • Today, Anyone Can deploy a VPS on one of the 2700 nodes with the industry standard Linux
    operating system and use it for any purpose that operating system is capable of.

  • Today, Providers can deploy Quantum Safe File Storage Systems capable of backing up data in 64 countries with encryption unbreakable by a quantum supercomputer

  • Today, Anyone can create a Kubernetes cluster on Z-net with cluster members anywhere in the world creating one of the most redundant deployment solutions humanly possible.

Mostly importantly,

  • Today, Anyone, Anywhere can participate in building, developing, or using a network built for humanity, By humanity. The Current Threefold portfolio includes decentralized no-code hosting solutions through the playground for users of





Node Pilot







“Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results” – Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

        The single greatest resource of the project is the people, many of these deployments and much of what the grid is today is due to the work and input of the entire community in synergy with the developments being made by the team. With node manufacturing taking places in multiple countries, and new countries joining the grid every week. Threefold, truly is a movement of people to give them back the control of their data and ensure access to the knowledge needed to change the world.

-ParkerS/ Drew Smith


Thanks, this is useful.

I’m involved with this project for over 5 years, and I’m still having a hard time to understand what this “Internet 2.0” actually is.

The goal of the threefold network is to provide the substrate network that will bring high speed internet to places where it does not exist and provide the tools to ensure all people are able to communicate, learn, and survive equally.

This is what I have problems with.

With TF you are still dependent on local ISP’s and the local-loop. TF will not provide a new socket in the wall where you plug your stuff into.

I live in a Third World country and all limits to access the Internet, including it’s availability, speed, costs, and firewalls (yes, in my country the Government sometimes blocks applications for political / security reasons), are set by the ISP’s which must must comply to Governmental Governance.

All ISP’s in the countries I lived in recently (India / Sri Lanka) have implemented CGNAT while fixed-ip’s are not something that ISP’s provide. So access from the WAN to services on the LAN is severely limited / e.g. not currently possible.

Fiber connections are very fast and reliable in Sri Lanka (with the above limitations), however electricity is not (currently 2 hrs 20 mins outage daily). Fiber connections cost about 1/4 of the average Monthly salary in Sri Lanka

Looking at this reality, how does your statement survive? How can TF help the people in Sri Lanka?

A situation like Sri-lanka’s internet service is definitely a complex problem to solve. But actually, the threefold idea’s are a perfect fit with some development.

Something this complex is going to involve multiple solution providers and alot of development. but the basic structure would be this. someone in your local area wants to create a internet cafe where people can come and use the internet, but also have the ability to deploy VPS that will remain persistent when they leave. Investing in only the infrastructure to get the power and internet there for client terminals they can then create an interface that creates VPS deployments for their local fiat currency. This significantly lowers the cost of a site like this as they do not require initial nodes and can use hosting that is already on grid in their country if it exists.

Their is also significantly less internet/hardware required to simply send/receive a servers interface then there is to actually do the work being done on that server. so in this scenario someone like me that is sitting on 10g and my power hasn’t gone out in months, can keep all of your customers “café Profiles” (ubuntu Vms) safe, and they can access their interfaces nearly as fast as local and download files at 5g.

You can further expand that concept by that internet café then placing large external WIFI Antennas outside and setting up a local WISP network. The surrounding homes then could have lightweight lower powered equipment like a SBC and Wifi router, Something that can be run on solar, battery, 50~ watts, The internet café invests in Space, Internet, Power, Signal Distribution to serve customers in their immediate area

Data Load is significantly reduced because all the files and processing is happening in parts of the world that have abundant network and data so your only transiting the remote desktop stream and storing nothing locally. This enables the slowed performance of the planetary network to no be evident. this what fixes your CGNAT problem. Whenever a client is connected to the planetary network it sends an OUTBOUND packet to the gateways in the peer list establishing an encrypted ipv6 tunnel between the client and the gateway. This tunnel then remains open and that clients position behind the gateway is reported out to the network. each client is connected to multiple gateways in different parts of the world. because there are open tunnels from the gateways with public addresses traffic is routed to the gateway first and then passed to the client behind cg-nat through that tunnel. it is possible to planetary clients out to the internet as-well outside of their restrictions. so, you could create a deployment on one of my nodes in the u.s., connect to it through planetary, proxy your internet connection through that interface, then out a public ip interface on the workload. The only connection your isp will see is to your workload, and the planetary traffic is encrypted preventing monitoring of the data being sent out or returned. if you wanna get really fancy use two workloads on in country ip on a round robin proxy in between you and the out of country node and your isp wont even know your traffic is going international and it will just look like any other intra node traffic leaving the country.

Bringing it all together, One enterprising individual in sri-lanka/india could use threefold to provide all of the hosting for a service that provides persistent desktop vms in underserved areas by establishing local sites with multiple internet connections and power sources. These sites would then use House-House wireless networks and repeaters, as well as community internet cafes to provide a goal of 10 mb/s internet connection sufficient to remote desktop to on grid deployments of their customers “profiles”.

In order to aid with adoption all payments will be accepted in fiat. The service provider will hold the tft and pay for deployments.

The back end coding for this wouldn’t be overly complicated. Its just what is doing but with desktop environments.

Threefold outsources the processing power of networks to allow people to build with less, there was never supposed to be a threefold jack in your wall. With the cloud you only have to get people connected to the cloud for them to have unlimited compute available. there’s lots of cloud’s but this our cloud and a peoples cloud, so im a bit partial.

Powerful words @ParkerS!!!

It’s nice that you present it this way. Indeed Threefold is so many things at the same time, it’s hard to explain within a few words.

Having such different opinions of: what is Threefold? and why it is important?, presented by different community members might provide a nice “living mosaic” of Threefold’s ecosystem and vision.

As the community thinks about the project itself, we would get to collectively gain a proper understanding of it all.

Any Threefolder here willing to grow the discussion, you could have some fun answering those 2 questions:

"In a few words and in your own opinion:

  1. What is Threefold?
  2. Why is it important?"

It could be a sentence or two, or some paragraphs like @ParkerS did here.

Once again great post!

Furthermore outside of the technical use of Threefold for a thirdworld country it can provide an infrastructure that is accessible where other may not be, For instance there are finical barriers that exist to being able to access a service like AWS or Azure that require a credit card for subscription. anyone with access to any stellar/bsc based crypto currency can easily deploy. with the current instability of currencies this may be a far more stable solution at some point (not now).

Ill also provide a proof of concept in a controlled environment, for what I posted about above,

This is my helium miner and rooftop setup, it provides lorawan over 5.2SQ KM with multiple coverage verifications daily, something like this would be the solutions providers overall configuration net that interfaces with the clients wireless receivers and provides the initial configuration on connection.

the wireless receiver is a simple open-wrt wireless router pre purchased in bulk pre-configured and resold to end users to take home and turn on. This is the unit I’ve been testing with.

these are cool because you can connect them to planetary at the router so you can do this.

In this configuration your have three main servers running as your “web gateways” these are workloads deployed on highspeed grid servers running either linux or a routing software. its doable in ubuntu roughly. you deploy them with both a public ip interface and planetary network interface. then you gather your local likely wireless, satellite, dsl internet connections and you get them all in one place, and you setup a single cluster capable of proxying data over those connections to your web gateways using the planetary network. because your using planetary you can keep the same ip regardless of what internet connection is use so you set up a high availability routing cluster.

you route all outbound traffic from your cluster to the three web gateways, locate them somewhere your countries government likes these are now your

  • Routers where you exchange the internet with your internal network and traffic is encrypted on ingress and decrypted on egress by your web gateway. this makes your local neighborhood station a
  • Wireless Switch for your planetary network, It is going to forward traffic and from mesh clients that remains encrypted in both directions. this makes the home device the
  • Wireless access point that will encrypt data on ingress and decrypt data on egress. but you dont just stop there, the device does nat on the planetary interface, so its actually your clients new home router too. so they can mount this tiny device that can be solar powered near the roof with a directional antenna (with its extenal port) pointing at your internet cafe and just run a cable down to their home router. and then they can all act as repeaters in one big happy mesh.

@aernoud, I promise dude theres people here working on solutions for people exactly like you :wink:



Well, this is all very interesting…

I’m connected with some powerful people in SL that could bring this forward, but for now, I have to to read this all 3 times as it sounds quite technically involved, and in SL they just got Internet 1.0 up and running.

However, in SL and India Governments eventually want control. FB and Twitter have been forced to employ government agents (spies) with unlimited access to data. Many (Chinese) apps have been abandoned from the Indian App Stores etc.

So any viable plan on a large scale needs to address the Governmental concerns too. In India, for example, crypto is close to be banned completely (and every crypto transaction for parties still in business have high taxes charged at source (TDS)).

However, the idea of local data storage will be appealing (for the wrong reasons of course).

It would be good if eventually some blue print grows out of all this work on how countries / regions could implement this with Governmental support. The Zanzibar project could be a reference of course.

Very much looking forward to the presentation of Sacha about what is going on there.

To further add, the Google Loon project in SL ( was obstructed by the Government for political reasons only.

if my understanding is correct, this is similar to concepts behind the neighborhood clouds. I think a Key opportunity in communications is having constant reminders of the big picture and what’s possible, what are best hope goals. It really puts a lot into perspective in regards to some of the struggles were facing weathering the winter

The required/wanted/needed influence of Governments on the Internet (2.0) actually could be an opportunity for TF I feel.

I know this will not be popular with the idealists, but If the TF infrastructure can offer granular (even democratic in joint cooperation with its citizens) control over what happens in the ‘Sovereign’ Internet to authorities, then this will very much ease adaptation on the central level.

If ‘Sovereign Internet’ only means cryptographic ensured Sovereignty for all citizens, then Governments will not accept that IMHO.

If ‘Sovereign Internet’ means an Internet that can (also) be Governed by authorities without ‘outside influence’ when push comes to shove, their ears will be very much open.

They could even be part of the DAO that Governs this ‘Sovereign’ Internet.

So, keeping this mind is very important when telling TF/Internet 2.0 story IMHO.

Even in SL the Government is all for privacy and control of data by the users (so the 3Bot idea will be very much embraced) and is very liberal when it comes to what citizens can access on the Internet (no porn filters like in India in some cases), but the SL Government is very much against the use of the Internet as a weapon to challenge the establishment, the democratic process or to wake the fires that caused the last Civil War (this war ended only in 2009) for example.

Governance of/in the Internet 2.0 is really a subject in itself, but it would be cool to discuss this as I feel this topic has been avoided.

We have different outlooks on what should happen when governments try to unduly limit your ability to communicate, guess I’ll leave it at that. My opinion doesn’t not including yielding.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” -Voltaire

but, since not everyone is gung ho to start a revolution as I, this is s pretty basic answer, the “threefold answer” and not the drew answer would be that at the stage where we are looking at that level of involvement we would be talking about a regional internet that would have it own, rules, chain and dao that could be designed around local stipulation.

Regardless of your opinion of what ‘unduly’ might mean in actual circumstances, I would highly recommend to see local authorities as partners and not as ‘the enemy’ when bringing this project forward.

I don’t see them as enemies, governments are a completely nessecary thing. I see them as needing limits. One of those I stand for is people having the right communicate freely. This is the beauty of a decentralized project, you can apply my work and ideas where you are using your ideals. No one’s going to build this in Sri Lanka for you. That has to be done your community.

Communities need to be driven by those who take initiative.

My statement above was really all about giving the local authorities the tools to set limits as governments have a role to play in societies.

I feel there is an opportunity for TF to make these tools available. Currently the only tool authorities have in less developed countries is a hammer. Just shut everything down.

If the hammer can become a more granular tool which is operated cooperatively between all stakeholders, then this could be beneficial to all interests.

Successful implementation of my ideals (or the ideals of the government or whoever) results in requirements to the tech.

E.g. if local authorities don’t want hosting of child prn on local servers, will it be possible to identify the wrongdoer and block his server without shutting down the whole neighbourhood/region/country?

I realise this touches dozens of topics, but I have talked to Governments and the way WEB3 is presented currently (everything encrypted, anonymised, unstoppable and no single party to hold accountable) makes them to see Web3 as a serious security and enforcement treat.

And currently the crypto world itself has produced the worst examples of unethical behaviour.

If I (or the community) wants to be successful in SL on any reasonable scale, then questions regarding these concerns need to be addressed.