Since its mint, GenesysGo promised to maintain an open and free RPC network as a thank you to the Solana ecosystem for investor support as a demonstration that an NFT project could provide real meaningful value outside of vague roadmaps/promises.
Unfortunately, with Solana NFT markets pulling away from supporting creator royalties the free RPC network has been brought to a close and transitioned back to being a paid service.
Called the Shadow RPC Network, this launch revamped the RPC program for Shadow Operators (those who power the decentralized RPC network) where 100% of all revenue generated by the network would go to Shadow Operators for providing computing and resource storage.
By implementing a new revenue distribution model, the architecture is intended to deliberately avoid the Shadow RPC Network from becoming a 'marketplace' where builders 'shop' for Shadow Operators to ensure a more streamlined user experience. As well, any 'marketplace' exposes itself to serious regulatory risk and would likely be required to create anti-money laundering frameworks because one could launder by choosing nodes they control and sending them payments. By utilizing a random round-robin structure, no one (not even the core team) has the ability to direct payments which makes the Shadow RPC Network not viable for users looking to launder.
There currently does not exist anything that does what the Shadow RPC Network does, and they have been working closely with data center providers, hardware vendors, and a select group of trusted builders in the Solana ecosystem to launch a platform that would change web3. The Shadow RPC Network is the first step towards the realization of a much larger vision that the GenesysGo team has been working tirelessly to realize.