This month, the Tor Project announced that it would now accept Bitcoin payments via the Lightning Network. The Tor Project is a non-profit organization best known for the development of the now infamous Tor network.
The Tor network is an anonymous web browser. The browser made global headlines after the arrest and subsequent removal of the online drug trafficking website known as the Silk Road. Despite its checkered reputation, the Tor network was one of the first ways in which people utilized Bitcoin for commerce.
The Tor Project’s fundraising initiative is led by the crypto charity organization, The Giving Block. The announcement that the Tor Project now accepts Bitcoin donations via the Lightning Network coincides with the unofficial crypto holiday – Bitcoin Tuesday.
The Bitcoin Tuesday holiday is all about donating to the causes you care about. The holiday is the brainchild of The Giving Block. The goal of the new holiday is to promote crypto donations to non-profit organizations globally.
News of the new strategy first emerged on Nov 19 via a Twitter post. In the post, Tor explained the new functionality. Additionally, the firm recommended the BottlePay wallet to users interested in donating to the cause.
Tor Project Donations
The reasons for the recommendation are simple. For one, BottlePay wallet users can search for The Tor Project directly inside the app. Also, users can send their crypto donations without the need to copy and paste an address. This strategy eliminates many of the user mishaps associated with Bitcoin transactions.
Aside from the ability to donate Bitcoin directly, users can now donate in fiat currencies as well. Notably, the platform automatically converts a wide variety of fiats to Bitcoin. To date the conversions include United States dollars, euros, pounds, Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, Swiss francs, Brazilian reals, just to name a few.
The Tor network entered the market in 2002 as a means to conduct anonymous web activities. Ironically, despite its many illegal uses, the network originally gained funding from the US Government.
Initially, the network was funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research back in 1995. Naval developers hoped to create a way to ensure privacy both in communications and transactions via the project. The platform turned out to be a huge success and before long multiple Tor marketplaces sprung up.
The Silk Road
Unfortunately, not all of these new markets offered legal services or products. In 2011, Ross Ulbricht opened the Silk Road market. This unique website offered anything, regardless of legality, to its users. In 2013, the FBI closed the website. Consequently, Ulbricht received a life sentence without the chance of parole for his creation.
Tor Project Today
Today, the Tor network sees use by millions of people. Importantly, the network functions as a way for political dissidents and whistleblowers to share sensitive information with outlets such as WikiLeaks.
Tor Project Moving Forward
As privacy concerns continue to be an issue faced by today’s internet users, the Tor Project provides relief. Privacy has always been a top priority for people, and in the age of advanced cyber-surveillance, it’s even more relevant than ever before.