OpenBazaar has just run the first successful test on its upcoming version 2.0, designed to run on the Tor privacy network.
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OpenBazaar on Tor
Developer Chris Pacia connected to OpenBazaar over Tor using an alpha version of the upcoming v2.0 software in his lab.
This version of OpenBazaar is not complete, and is only shown here as command line code.
However, this is the first time ever that anyone has successfully connected the upcoming OpenBazaar server to Tor.
OpenBazaar developer Sam Patterson commented on the technical aspects on Reddit:
“This is possible because we are switching to IPFS for 2.0, which is compatible with Tor, unlike the current 1.0 build.”
CEO Brian Hoffman tweeted just afterwards, expressing excitement and enthusiasm that the connection was made. However, he did not guarantee that the upcoming version would launch with the ability to use Tor.
Not the Silk Road 3.0
In the past, OpenBazaar has disappointed privacy advocates for its lack of Tor support. This has kept many from using the platform to sell less-than-legal items. However, it has also avoided any negative press it would likely draw.
The developers have maintained, however, that it was not merely a choice to keep OpenBazaar’s image “on the up and up.” It was, in fact, a technical matter. Tor requires the TCP protocol to function, but OpenBazaar version 1 was built on UDP, or User Datagram Protocol instead. This made a connection to Tor impossible.
Tor, short for The Onion Router, is the most commonly-used network for “dark web” marketplaces. The home of .onion domains, it requires special software to access and provides a high degree of privacy and anonymity to users.
Tor was originally invented by employees of the United States Naval Research Laboratory to protect US Intelligence communications online. Popular websites like Facebook also host Tor services, to protect users’ identities in countries where speech is suppressed.
The UDP backbone has been replaced for OpenBazaar 2.0, which is due “within a few months.” With this upgrade, the program will be able to have Tor built into it by any developer, not just the OpenBazaar staff.
What do you think of OpenBazaar being able to run on Tor? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of OpenBazaar, Tor