Ryan X Charles, Reddit's former cryptocurrency engineer, has announced he is going to start a new business, Bitcoin Wireless, which will use bitcoin to pay for wireless internet. Commenters on Reddit have noted the similarities between his proposal and BitMesh, a platform that allows other people to connect to your Wi-Fi and pay for it in bitcoins.

 

Charles announced his dismissal from Reddit via Twitter 3 days ago. “I was just let go from reddit because cryptocurrency is not a part of reddit's near-term plans. This is unfortunate, but understandable,” he tweeted. Later, he confirmed that he had spent a large proportion of his time at Reddit on rewriting the bitcoin core in Javascript in order to create a reddit wallet.

Charles asked Reddit users whether they would be willing to crowdfund the development of an app enabling anyone with a wireless router or mobile phone to distribute Wi-Fi among strangers for bitcoin payments. His business plan is to set service fees at 50% by default with an option to decrease them to as little as 0%.

“The Bitcoin Wireless company will earn money by setting the default settings so that 50% or so of the revenue goes to the company. People will have the option of changing the settings so that as little as 0% of the revenue goes to Bitcoin Wireless, but I think most people will keep the default settings unchanged,” Charles wrote.

 When directed in the comments to BitMesh, a platform that is going to provide a similar service, Charles acknowledged his unawareness of the project: “I was unaware of the existence of this project. I think these guys look great, and I'm not too keen on directly competing with another bitcoin company. I think it's better if we all do distinct functions and not compete with each other. So if I do something wireless, it will be different than them.” Bob Alison, who announced BitMesh on Reddit several hours after Charles’ proposal, posted a link to his GitHub development page as proof of the originality of his concept.