What is Lethean (LTHN)?
Lethean, incorporated in the UK, has created a decentralized VPN marketplace. Lethean has been described as the "first Mainnet P2P Virtual Private Network backed by the Blockchain."
Users can take advantage of the browser extension or the full client VPN. Anyone can mine the coin or operate an exit node to earn LTHN. LTHN is used as payment for the VPN services. This VPN marketplace allows you to select a specific country, price, and speed.
LTHN is a proof-of-work coin based on CryptoNote. Monero is another example of a CryptoNote coin. Lethean, like XMR, uses ring signatures and one-time keys to make transactions unlinkable and untraceable. LTHN uses the CryptoNightR hashing algorithm. LTHN implemented CryptoNightR 10 hours before Monero did.
You need to download the Lethean desktop wallet before accessing the VPN services. The Lethean wallet is available for GUI or CLI download. The GUI release automatically launches in “lite mode”, using a remote node. This is good for users who don’t want to download the entire blockchain. The wallet is compatible with Windows, MAC, and Linux. A miner comes built into the wallet.
You can view some LTHN market statistics below.
LTHN is being traded on TradeOgre, TOKOK, and STEX. It isn’t yet available on any "instant exchanges", like Switchain, ShapeShift, or CoinSwitch.
Despite the low market cap and trade volume, the project could have great potential, considering its utility.
IntenseCoin was the precursor to Lethean. ITNS was launched on 15 August 2017. ITNS was later rebranded to Lethean in 2018.
IntenseCoin was built using CryptoNote technology. One of the notable characteristics of CryptoNote is the use of ring signatures. Monero is another example of a coin utilizing the CryptoNote protocol.
Intense Coin used the CryptoNight hashing algorithm. ITNS was the currency used on the P2P VPN. There was no ICO for this proof-of-work coin.
Besides mining, any user could use their wallet as an exit node to earn a small amount of ITNS. You were required to “stake” some ITNS before acting as an exit node. This is not the case for Lethean; users are not required to stake LTHN to operate an exit node.
The Rebranding took place in August 2018. Coins didn’t need to be swapped for the rebranding. All you had to do was update your wallet. Rebranding occurred for trademark reasons.
CryptoNight and CryptoNightR
Lethean implemented CryptoNight variant 2 with a hard fork on October 23, 2018. This hard fork followed a 51% attack on the network that took place a few days prior. This fork also rolled back the chain and upgraded the difficulty algorithm to LWMA-3.
The hashing algorithm was later upgraded again to CryptoNightR. This took place on March 9th, 2019, about 10 hours before Monero upgraded to CryptoNightR.
Currently, you can connect to Lethean using the full client VPN (OpenVPN) or the browser extension (proxy). The browser extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Brave browsers. A mobile VPN is also due for release this year. OpenWRT exit node support is also expected this year.
An LTHN specific payment ID is used to authorize the connection. In other words, VPN services can only be paid for in LTHN.
Lethean takes a different approach than traditional VPNs. It is a prepaid model allowing users to buy a specified amount of time. Currently, some exit nodes allow users to purchase as little as ten minutes of VPN access. You can pay for the amount of time you need instead of paying for a whole month. You can check out the list of providers here.
There are currently over 40 active exit nodes. The available providers have different locations and provide a variety of price and speed options.
The browser extension only tunnels your browser activity, but the full client VPN provides system-wide tunneling. The desktop wallet is required for both options. The full VPN was released in March 2019.
Cost of VPN
The cost of using Lethean is low compared to established VPN services. A common price currently available is 0.1 LTHN per hour. That comes out to $0.0000953 USD for one hour, at the current LTHN price. Users can mine enough LTHN on their laptop or mining rig to use the product. This makes the VPN service essentially “free” for miners, as some users have put it. These prices do not include network fees.
Payments in LTHN are anonymous because they are based on cryptonote technology. Take a look at the block explorer.
Something called “Privacy Enhanced Mode” is expected to be released this year. It will allow users to route their internet traffic through multiple exit node servers before the data returns to the user. It works by chaining nodes, chaining makes it so that no single point knows both the source and destination of traffic.
Some VPN exit nodes do not support IPv6 protocols. You may need to disable IPv6 for the VPN to work properly. If IPv6 is still enabled, your machine will still tunnel IPv4 connections through IPv4 VPN exit nodes, but any IPv6 connections will leak your real IP address. To disable IPv6, check out this link.
If you are using the browser extension, run a webRTC leak test. Some users have reported webRTC leaks. If it is leaking, you can download an additional extension to prevent this.
Almost anyone can use their unused bandwidth to operate an exit node and earn passive income. The hardware requirements are relatively low.
The exit node software is only available for the Linux OS at this time. You can run a node on your machine or use a VPS. Some users have opened and operated exit nodes on a Raspberry Pi.
Lethean has a partnership with Honeypod. This partnership will make it unnecessary to download exit node software. The Honeypod device will allow users to use the device as an exit node.
You should consider the legal implications of running an exit node before starting the process. The Lethean team doesn’t give legal advice but refers to a guide released by Tor.
Exit node operators have the ability to restrict access to specific IPs, FQDNs, and ports. An exit node provider can add OpenVPN packages that block malicious and illegal content. The same is true regarding proxy software and the browser extension.