Zeronet aims to host websites while providing anonymity to owners of the sites

There are two very concerning challenges in the Internet era, the protection of identity and privacy. And among various attempts at resolving these threats, is a new technology called, ZeroNet. It is a decentralized web platform. ZeroNet actually makes use of bitcoin cryptography and the BitTorrent network. It can be thought of as a unique hybrid of the two technologies in a peer-to-peer network. It aims to host websites while providing anonymity to owners of the sites.

According to lead developer who is diligently working on the project from Budapest, Hungary, ZeroNet is currently a single-handled project that took approximately 200 hours of work.

“It’s a web server running on your machine and accepts a connection from your PC only”, he says of the technology.

About his goals and future developments, the elusive developer says he is ready to collaborate with ZeroNet on Github. He’s hoping for content creators to gradually move into the space, while he wants his role to be to “develop the core as the site(s) need it.”

“It’s possible to make open ZeroNet gateways to make it possible for anyone to access ZeroNet sites without installing or running any software” he adds, describing how efficient this technology is.

When you visit a ZeroNet site, it looks for peers using the BitTorrent network in order to download the site files: HTML,CSS, etc. As you visit these sites , they also become served by you, similar to the functioning of torrent downloads.

ZeroNet only uses the bitcoin ECC that is the elliptic curve cryptography to generate addresses, private keys, and to sign and verify content. It has no connection to the bitcoin currency network or miners. So, if the private key is ever lost or compromised in any way, only the site address is lost. Quite simply, a new address can be created with a new private key and the site will live on.

“If some peers of yours host your site then you only require to connect to any one of them until the new files are transferred to him/her, and then they distribute content between each other. you have to hide your IP for that short time and then, it’s not possible to track down the owner.”

A predecessor to ZeroNet would be PeerCDN, currently in private beta, it is a peer-to-peer content delivery network (CDN) for a web browser. PeerCDN is based in Javascript and the noteworthy fact about it is- it doesn’t require any downloads. ZeroNet is based in Python. Unlike PeerCDN, it first requires several executable installations to run the program.

Although it is simple enough to developers and programmers, an average internet user might find it cumbersome and unnecessary. Onilne critics have said that ZeroNet is trying to reinvent the Tor/I2P/Freenet wheel, highlighting that decentralized anonymous networks do already exist. But there’s also a strong support for the effort and energy behind the technology and how diligent the attempts are privatize our network identities and protect our data.