The Swiss startup Nym is developing its own encrypted network. More than 450 million US dollars are available for this.
The developers of Nym are working on a blockchain-based Tor 2.0. The planned network has significant advantages because it is supposed to be more secure. Unfortunately, there are also extreme disadvantages, which are already very obvious due to the structure.
In order to make the Tor network more secure, the Tor project needs as many bridges as possible in order to to guide the data stream. Since November, the aim has been to motivate volunteers to provide part of the technical infrastructure themselves with gifts such as T-shirts and stickers. This has always entailed legal risks and, of course, costs money.
The danger with bridges is always that the nodes of dictatorships are identified and made unusable for the network. The more bridges there are, the more difficult it is to track them down and trace the data streams at the same time. It remains to be seen whether a few stickers and hoodies given away will be enough to counteract the declining number of helpers. Initially, the free campaign had at least a positive effect on the number of Tor Bridges.
Nym has approximately 270 Millions of US dollars collected
Nym wants to do it differently, enough money for the development has already been collected. The problem: Due to its structure, Nym is just not suitable for browsing the Internet. The data transfers are simply too slow for that. Downloads from larger archives or streaming films is definitely not possible. Nym is therefore only suitable for exchanging files and transactions that are sent slowly and that nobody can track. But it will take some time for the news to get through. Unfortunately, a lively exchange via chat will not be possible. But if browsers and messengers are no longer used as areas of application, what is actually left!??
The cause The reason for the delay is the planned Mixnet, where the data is also transmitted via several servers with Nym to make it more difficult to understand. However, one also wants to mix the data, install random data and time delays in order to rule out surveillance. Version 1.0.1 of the platform has been ready since May 6th. But the network is apparently still a long way from going live.
Another niche project for crypto enthusiasts?
If you want to use Nym, you will also have to buy the project’s own token. Installing the software alone will not be sufficient for use. The makers assume that the participants need financial incentives to get fully involved with Nym.
The whole thing works like this. The network participation fees collected in NYM go into a reward pool that is distributed to the Mix nodes. Mix node operators are rewarded based on their performance and the amount of NYM tied to their nodes. If you want to convert the earned tokens into tinkling coins, you have to sell them like a cryptocurrency at an online trading place.
For mere mortals, this all sounds far too complicated. It certainly seems much easier to just install the Tor browser. In addition, you don’t have to get used to it, because the Tor browser is known to be a modification of Firefox, which everyone has used before.
Politically persecuted in the Third World do not have tokens!
For people from emerging or developing countries who are suffering under a dictatorship and who need a Darknet for their information exchange, the Nym network will probably not to offer. Blockchain-based Darknets like ZeroNet already exist anyway, even if they have a completely different structure.
Chelsea Manning, the figurehead of Nym
Nym development is far from complete, even if one thinks of opening privacy conferences like the CPDP2022 has already been able to attract prominent speakers such as whistleblower Chelsea Manning. It remains to be seen whether Nym will become another niche project for a few crypto enthusiasts despite the large amount of money available. That would be very unfortunate. The more active encrypted networks there are, the more difficult it is for secret services, authorities and governments to uncover their participants.
For less tech-savvy users, the hurdles will probably just be too high. In addition, since you can neither chat nor use a browser via Nym, the project should simply not be of any further interest to many people. In the end, the question remains: Shouldn’t one have put all that money into the further development of the Tor network?