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Open source web browser Brave has proposed a new Virtual Private Network (VPN) system that would rely upon decentralization and cryptocurrency to give users added anonymity. 

Brave Decentralized VPN

Brave, the group behind the BAT token, has proposed the development of a fully decentralized VPN (dVPN), which will allow users to interact online while obscuring their identity. VPNs typically function by altering the geographic location of the user, creating a private network tunnel through which web traffic is directed. 

However, VPN providers have been implicated in the sale of user data to third parties, which violates the privacy of clients.

Brave’s solution is the creation of a fully decentralized private network, which would be fueled by crypto. The company is calling its solution VPN⁰, and will utilize zero-knowledge proofs to maintain user anonymity. 

According to the research paper, 

VPN⁰ allows relay nodes to control which traffic they transmit, without learning what  content it contains, through a novel application of zero knowledge proofs. A zero knowledge proof is a cryptographic technique that allows a prover to prove to a verifier that a certain statement is true, without disclosing any information except the validity of the statement.

Brave has already proposed the integration of VPN⁰ into BitTorrent to create a pseudo-search engine for users to find hosts for their traffic. 

However, as many users have been quick to point out, a fully decentralized VPN would also allow for the hosting of illicit web traffic. Without safeguards in place, it would not be worth the risk for clients to host the dVPN data.

.Dark-web analyst and security researcher Chris Monteiro put it bluntly, 

No one is going to jail to defend your right to privacy on your [expletive] $5 VPN.

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