ZeroNet the decentralized Internet-like network that uses Bitcoin and BitTorrent technology is a new platform launched in January of 2015. The application is based in Budapest, Hungary and acts as a web host for a network of peer-to-peer pages. Users worldwide can use the open source ZeroNet protocol and begin surfing distributed websites.
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“ZeroNet’s goal is to create a more decentralized and people-powered Internet with open, free, uncensored websites and communication that is easily accessible for everyone.” — Tamas Kocsis, ZeroNet
The platform is not anonymous by default but can be tethered to Tor and used in a private manner. Creator Tamas Kocsis believes the application brings better decentralization to the Internet and has built a system where web pages cannot be censored or shut down. This would be incredibly useful as governments have become more tyrannical and some already ban certain pages.
Lead Developer and founder of Zeronet Tamas chatted with us here at the Bitcoinist and gave us an in-depth look into how this project started and his introduction to coding and Bitcoin. Tamas believes the Internet has some centralized issues that can be addressed with technology like Zeronet.
ZeroNet: ‘If You Build It, They Will Come’
Bitcoinist: How did you get involved with computers and coding?
Tamas Kocsis (TK): I was in love with the Internet since the dial-up era. I found some programming tutorials in a newspaper around 1999, started experimenting with it, then I was building websites.
Bitcoinist: When did you first learn about Bitcoin?
TK: Back in 2013 I brought someone 1 BTC as a wedding present, then started browsing forums and read more articles about it. I really liked the idea and wanted to contribute somehow to the community and to the decentralization idea, so I came up with ZeroNet.
“ZeroNet uses the same cryptography as Bitcoin, in result every site address is also a Bitcoin address and the users are also identified by the same way, so you can send bitcoin directly to them.”
Bitcoinist: Can you tell our readers what Zeronet is and what it aims to accomplish?
TK: ZeroNet allows you to create websites without any server, that is only modifiable by you. It has no hosting costs; the sites are served by the visitors, if you visit a site it’s also become available from you. It reduces Internet centralization, surveillance and gives more power to the people.
Bitcoinist: How does the protocol use Bitcoin and Bittorrent technology?
TK: ZeroNet uses the same cryptography as Bitcoin. As a result, every site address is also a Bitcoin address and its users are also identified by the same way, so you can send bitcoin directly to them. It uses the BitTorrent network to find other peers for the sites. The file transfer protocol is different from it because BitTorrent does not allow dynamic, real-time updated sites which is a key feature of ZeroNet.
Bitcoinist: Is there anything wrong with the way the Internet is run today?
TK: I think the Internet is getting more and more centralized, which is dangerous in many ways. For example, it’s easier to attack, censor, mass monitor and have a negative effect on creativity and wealth distribution. If big companies and governments know everything about us, then they can easily control us and influence our decisions.
Bitcoinist: Zeronet is immune from certain DDOS attacks, and takedowns is this correct?
TK: It’s uncensorable because it’s impossible to modify the site without the site’s private key and it’s also resilient of DDOS attacks, because if you want to make a site inaccessible, you have to take down every peer who is serving it which can be 1000s of computers.
Bitcoinist: Do you feel Zeronet gives a free and uncensored approach to the web?
TK: One of the main goals of ZeroNet is to bring the more decentralized web idea to less tech-oriented people by the ease of use, without a need of any configuration. I think if we want to convince users to use our platform we have to offer similar user experience and speed as they have already used to while using computer/smartphone on daily basis.
“It reduces Internet centralization, surveillance and gives more power to the people.— If you build it, they will come.”
Bitcoinist: How many users are using the platform currently?
TK: It’s hard to measure because every site is an independent network, but I think there is around 1000 users on the network. It’s still a very new platform (launched in January 2015), but people started building new applications and I also planning to create new features and sites. I think the user number only depends on content, so believe in “if you build it, they will come.”
Bitcoinist: In the future do you think the internet may reach total decentralization or will there be a balance of both?
TK: I don’t think ZeroNet as a replacement of current Internet (I also think Bitcoin will never replace all fiat money), it has lots of limitations, but it could be better solution for many kinds of sites. Just like, when birds appeared on earth they do not replace insects, but become a new kind of life-form.
Bitcoinist: What is the overall goal for Zeronet?
TK: ZeroNet’s goal is to create a more decentralized and people-powered Internet with open, free, uncensored websites and communication that is easily accessible for everyone.
Thanks for speaking with us Tamas and we look forward to watching this project develop.
What do you think about ZeroNet? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of ZeroNet
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An In Depth Interview With the Developer of ZeroNet