It’s hard to believe an entire year has passed since our video on Substratum’s accomplishments in 2017! 2018 went fast; it was a busy but rewarding year for the Substratum team. The Substratum project is significantly stronger and closer to a full-scale product launch than it was at the end of 2017.

In this article, we will walk you through some of the most significant moments for Substratum and the Substratum projects that occurred in 2018.

It is important to mention that none of these developments could have happened without the support of our awesome Substratum community. You guys are leading the fight against internet censorship, and we couldn’t have made any of these breakthroughs without you!

Project Development Milestones

One of our first significant developments of 2018 occurred in March when we announced plans to make Substratum open-source on the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship. As net neutrality erodes in the U.S. and censorship thrives abroad, we decided that open-sourcing Substratum would stay true to our community values and speed the development of a decentralized, independent internet.

We followed that announcement up with another huge one in May, when we released a beta package install of Substratum publically for the first time which allowed anyone to operate a beta SubstratumNode.

In August, we released an updated Substratum node–0.3.4–which provided new user interfaces and better stability; but community feedback quickly helped us release an even better update of the node, version 0.3.5.

In December we made another significant Substratum upgrade, implementing a token swap that switched Substratum to a new smart contract; notable changes in the contract include an increase in available decimal points which allows for better in-network payment subdivisions.

Fighting Censorship

2018 was a hectic year, but we never lost track of our number-one reason for starting Substratum: fighting internet censorship. It’s a big task, but in 2018 we showed that Substratum could tackle it. In October, we used SubstratumNodes to get internet traffic through state-organized firewalls in China, Iran, and Russia.

Only four nodes were necessary for each attempt, which is promising news for routing internet requests through SubstratumNode as the Substratum network expands; Breaking through these government firewalls was a massive milestone in the Substratum project.

Building Sister Projects

The fact that we broke through government firewalls using only four nodes shows just how powerful the Substratum network could wind up becoming. SubstratumNode operators will always be critical to that network, so it’s important to us that Substratum actively supports the crypto-community in return.

CryptoPay is a payment gateway that lets SUB holders and other crypto users settle crypto-to-fiat transactions with vendors immediately. It’s a significant step forward in boosting crypto adoption, and in 2018 we saw some significant CryptoPay progress.

In mid-June, we signed a letter of intent with the National Christian Foundation (NCF), a major charity group, to use CryptoPay as NCF’s main gateway for accepting crypto donations. In mid-October, we signed on a second major partner: Hurricaide, a charity that helps U.S. survivors of natural disasters. Hurricaide will use CryptoPay to accept and process all of their crypto donations.

In August, we announced another component of the Substratum ecosystem–the Amplify Exchange. This unique crypto exchange uses the same technology supporting the Substratum network to provide a hybrid decentralized/distributed exchange.

Amplify will make crypto exchanges more accessible and usable for both crypto newbies and experienced traders, but we also see Amplify as a crucial component in the fight against internet censorship. China’s censorship regime has included crackdowns on crypto exchanges, and Amplify will use the SubstratumNode network to help Chinese crypto users fight back and circumvent those restrictions.

Leading in the Crypto World

We know that an ambitious project like Substratum requires leadership, so we’ve strived to be impactful players in the world of crypto and the fight against censorship. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to have that leadership recognized in 2018.

In April, Substratum was the focus of a mini-documentary on Success Files with Rob Lowe, an award-winning TV show about tech and business innovation airing on the Fox Business Network.

In June, our CEO and founder Justin was the keynote speaker at Digital Currency Con in Park City, Utah.

And in November, Substratum was featured prominently in a Forbes piece from contributor David Petersson, a blockchain and cybersecurity expert who praised Substratum’s secure methods for handling decentralized internet access even in censored countries.

Looking Ahead

What will 2019 hold for Substratum? We plan on hitting several milestones this year, but the biggest might be the release of the consumer version of the Substratum node.

Our community will continue to be the bedrock of everything we do. Without you guys, there is no Substratum. In 2019 we plan to grow the community even further through our SUBLOCC Global Ambassadorship Program, continuing to make Substratum a genuinely global tool for fighting internet censorship.