Blockchain Censorship Resistant? Ethereum and Tor...

By teutonium | Teutonium's Posts! | 3 Sep 2020


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Censorship...

 

As we stand right now, the ecosystem is not government resistant, it's not censorship proof, Bitcoin, maybe, but Ethereum and all the other ecosystems? No way... Mainly because anyone that is running an Ethereum node is showing their IPs, and this makes it easy for any government or central authority that wants to authoritarianly suppress crypto to do it by going after each node's IPs and arresting them... This would be tremendously bad for any crypto investor!

This is not far fetched, we all know that governments are willing to go very VERY far and are willing to use force if necessary to suppress people, and they can get support from the crowds by manipulating them through the news to make us, crypto enthusiasts, look like evil people...

But there is something that can fight back...

 

TOR

 

TOR is basically an open-source software that anyone can use to reroute all the traffic that they get from and to the internet by a relay of worldwide distributed nodes that at each node all the information is encrypted except the next node. It works with more complexity than this, but basically, it's really, EXTREMELY, HARD to know where the user who is getting the data is and where the server that is sending the data is.

This is the only way I see crypto being truly government proof, by running on top of TOR. Bitcoin already does this, but Ethereum...

Ethereum still doesn't work easily on top of TOR, it's really hard to make Ethereum run on top of TOR because to sync a node one requires another node, and what normally happens is that the clients come with a bootstrap list of nodes available to connect, but through TOR this list doesn't work, TOR doesn't allow UDP node discovery, and to use Ethereum on TOR right now requires one to manually connect to that other node, and manually doing this might mean that, that other node, might be a compromised node, this is an awful long-term solution!

There is a sort of solution already available, EtherNodes list, it's a website with a list of trusted TOR seed nodes that is automatically updated and randomized with trusted nodes. But it's not my favorite solution... there is another one coming!

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EIP - 1459...

 

EIPs, if you know these letters you know their meaning, if you don't, let me tell you, EIP stands for Ethereum Improvement Proposal, it's a way for Ethereum devs to propose certain additions to the Ethereum code, so, basically, most of the updates to Ethereum are first EIPs. And it so happens there is an EIP trying to sort of tackle this issue!

EIP - 1459, an EIP that enables node discovery using DNS. This allows for a much more easily TOR node list, and a much harder way for a government to interfere with the network... this is a step in the right direction, it's one of the best solutions I've found to run an Ethereum node through TOR.

It's not available right now, but the Ethereum clients are right now testing this solution and will be available in the near future.

When this is fully available in all the clients, I hope to sync an Ethereum full node using this mechanism and run it through TOR... Having a node running normally is always great, but even better is to run one through TOR!

Other resources:
1.https://eips.ethereum.org/EIPS/eip-1459
2.https://medium.com/@oaeee/how-to-sync-an-ethereum-node-via-tor-755534775ae1
3.https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Tor

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Question of the day: Do you run any blockchain nodes? Are they running through TOR so that you hide your IP?

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